If at first you don't succeed try try again and fail miserably. One has to wonder whether the US occupiers of Iraq and their green zone government are actually trying to turn Al-Qadisiyyah into another Al-Anbar. Al-Qadisiyyah used to be relatively peaceful, then the Americans decided to stir things up a bit. Here's most of Abesada Mujbel's report on the fighting in Diwaniya August 29th:
"Another major Iraqi city is on fire, with scores of civilians killed and hundreds injured in some of the worst fighting since the 2003 U.S. invasion.
The fighting, pitching armed supporters of the radical Shiite Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr against U.S. and Iraqi forces, has been dragging on since Sunday in the southern city of Diwaniya.
Diwaniya is the capital of al-Qadisiya province. Sadr is believed to command a large following in the city home to nearly 500,000 people.
Sadr's fighters are entrenched in residential areas and any bid to dislodge them is bound to result in terrible suffering for the population.
On Tuesday, Sadr's group was said to have reached a ceasefire arrangement with U.S. and Iraqi troops but residents described the deal as "fragile."
The fighting erupted when foreign troops arrested a Sadr militia leader.
Diwaniya, a major Sadr stronghold, was until recently relatively quiet.
It is not clear why the Shiite-dominated government has decided to move against Sadr at a time his deputies are active in parliament and is part of the ruling Shiite collation.
An Iraqi army captain, who did not want to reveal his name for security reasons, said Sadr's militiamen from villages and towns across the province were pouring into the city.
He also said the government was sending "more reinforcements" to the city in a show of force.
"If fighting erupts again, and this is very likely, we will have a very bad situation," he said." he said.……… " (Emphasis mine - mfi)
Al-Hakim with Rumsfeld (and boots) file photo
I wrote about this aspect of the long-running campaign being undertaken by the American occupation army in Iraq and their green zone government cohorts against Muqdata al-Sadr and the Jaish al Mahdi first on August 28th, and then again on the 29th. As I said at the time:
"Now when a senior general in the
Badr Brigade Death Squad Protection and Facilitation Forces American army in Iraq comes right out and says that the battle isn't over yet it behoves us all to listen to him. Particularly when as General Casey did, he makes it clear that vengeance is about to wreaked. So for once I believe General Casey."
The situation in Diwaniya has been simmering ready to boil over despite the peace deal negotiated in Najaf between Muqdata al-Sadr and Khalil Jalil Hamza the SCIRI appointed governor of Al-Qadisiyyah, a deal promptly vitiated by Interior Minister Jawad Al-Bulani and Defense Minister Abdel Qader Jassim Mohammed.
Last night fighting in Diwaniya flared again. A report by Yahia Kareem from Aswataliraq includes the following statement from the
American occupation: thought they were going to be running the place but are now reduced to being the Badr Brigade Death Squad Protection and Facilitation Forces
"U.S. and Iraqi forces clashed with fighters of the Mahdi Army militia killing one Iraqi civilian and wounding four others in central Diwaniya," [emphasis mine - keep how, according to the Americans, the civilians were injured firmly in mind - mfi]
The cause of the fighting, which spread rapidly, was a series of raids carried out on Wednesday night and this morning by
Badr Brigade Death Squad Protection and Facilitation Forces American occupation troops and their Badr Brigade members in uniform sidekicks troops loyal to the green zone government of al-Sadr's offices in Diwaniya. As you might expect fighting erupted and spread rapidly. According to Yahia Kareem's report, the people of Diwaniyya who must be getting pretty tired of this routine by now, decided to give the fighting a wide berth, "the clashes expanded to include various city districts while shops were closed and people stayed at home."
This report by Reuters' Imad al-Khozaie clarifies:
"Ten people were wounded on Thursday, doctors said, after guards at the provincial governor's office fired on dozens of Sadr followers protesting about the overnight raid. A woman and child were hurt when U.S. troops clashed with stone-throwing Sadr supporters outside their movement's local headquarters.
Among the wounded were two policemen, one of them a colonel in charge of the city's emergency task force.
A local journalist saw soldiers return to the area of the Sadr office, on a crowded, narrow commercial street, later in the morning. People near the office threw rocks at the Americans, and there was some shooting and explosions, he said.
He saw an object thrown from a U.S. patrol vehicle, then heard a blast. A woman and her daughter, aged about 8, were hurt, in the explosion, he said.
After the U.S. force withdrew, several dozen Sadr supporters marched to the office of the governor, where guards there opened fire on them. Gunmen then also appeared among the demonstrators.
Shi'ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has promised to disband militias from all communities and to build up the Iraqi security forces. It is not clear, however, how he aims to persuade the likes of the Mehdi Army to lay down its arms. ……… "[emphasis added - mfi]
Well indeed, it's not clear at all, how the
green zone government SCIRI and their American overlords sponsors allies of convenience are going to persuade Muqdata al-Sadr and the Jaish al Mahdi to lay down their arms. Why on earth would they? Their efforts to reach out to their Sunni compatriots are (very slowly) bearing fruit, Al-Sadr has successfully forced Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani from politics, they've managed to bolster their presence in the South despite everything that the British and SCIRI threw at them over the last few years, they've survived repeated attacks on Sadr city and elsewhere and forced Maliki to and criticise and apologise for the attacks on Sadr city itself. What we are seeing today in Diwaniya and elsewhere is a policy of trying to rein in one of the most important political forces in Iraq and a force moreover that, unlike SCIRI, is implacably opposed to Iraq being broken up. Will somebody please tell the Americans that sooner or later they're going to have to negotiate with Al-Sadr - and that you don't extinguish a fire by pouring aviation fuel on it.