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Old 08-17-2003, 12:01 PM   #1
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Nephew of Iraq "Mandela" Stature rising in Iraq

[Q]"Under the orders of Moqtada, we will revolt as in 1922," chanted some of the followers, referring to a rebellion against the British forces then controlling Iraq.

The northeast Baghdad neighborhood of some two million people, previously called Saddam City, has been renamed after grand ayatollahs Mohammed Baqer al-Sadr and Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, cousins who were killed by the old regime.

Moqtada is Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr's son. [/Q]

Moqtada al-Sadr is probably the most influential young Cleric in Bagdahd right now. He does not have much influence outside of Bagdahd right now but inside of Bagdahd he is the recognized leader of the Shi'ite population in Western Bagdahd. He is running a religious court system inside of Bagdhad and has been responsible for rallying thousands against the US on Friday.

What has made me curious about him is that I find VERY little about him in the televised news, and what I have learned about him I have learned by piecing information from various articles about him. I knew his father was assasinated by Ba'thists in 1999 but I was not aware that his Uncle was one of the most influential Religious Scholars as well as a writer about what an Islamic Constitution should look like. He was mudered by Saddam in 1980.

[Q]Aside from his great stature in Iraq, Sadr was in his day arguably the most remarkable thinker of the Arab-Muslim world. An innovative scholar, he authored over 20 books, some of which remain major references in contemporary Islamic literature. For example, his two-volume 800-page book titled Iqtisaduna (Our Economics), published in 1961, remains, together with another 1973 book on interest-free banking, among the most distinguished reference works in the specialized field of Islamic economics.
Upon the success of the revolution in Iran, Sadr wrote a remarkable series of short essays on constitutionalism and the new Islamic Republic. Their main features were adapted by his Iranian colleagues for their Islamic constitution, which was completed in November 1979. Sadr’s legacy is rich enough to support various interpretations: The writer Edward Mortimer referred to him five years ago as the Mandela of Iraq. Sadr’s own supporters considered him Iraq’s Khomeini. In the Muslim world, Sadr is the equivalent of what Karl Marx was for the Socialist movement. Less dogmatic than Marx, however, Sadr, through his writings, informed the Iraqi opposition movement. [/Q]

This man's work must be included in the formation of Iraq's Constitution. According to the author of the article, it seems that he had ideas that may help bring together democracy in Iraq and Islam.

[Q]No doubt Sadr’s many writings, including several constitutional treatises discovered three years ago, will influence the constitutional process about to begin in Iraq. Sadr was not a liberal, and his attachment to Islamic law was real. But the sophisticated quality of his thinking allowed the molding of his thoughts in a way that could be a harbinger of a new type of Islam. This will have especial importance in post-war Iraq, which, regardless of the system of government adopted, must solve the conundrum of how to fuse Islam and democracy.
In this context, two practical avenues come to mind. Sadr’s 1979 constitutional treatises, which loosened up Khomeini’s stricter theory of Velayat-e Faqih (Guardianship of the Jurisconsult), can be revived, and are especially valid in light of the deadlocks the theory has provoked in Iran. More generally, Sadr’s open theoretical approach could yield a form of separation of powers that would be unique in Islamic constitutionalism in its espousal of democracy, as it is insistently proclaimed by all the current members of the Iraqi governing council. [/Q]

This man, murdered over twenty years ago, may very well be the way to creating some type of democracy in Iraq. There is one very big problem. His nephew.

His nephew has been a thorn in the side of the United States since Iraq was liberated. It started with the assasination of a Shi'ite Cleric.

[Q]On April 10, 2003, the day after Iraq was freed from the rule of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, Sayyed Abdel-Majid al-Khoei, the son of the late Grand Ayatollah Abu al-Qassem al-Khoei, was stabbed to death in the Sahn Sharif ­ the mosque of Imam Ali in Najaf and the holiest shrine in Shiite Islam. According to witnesses, his assassins then dragged his corpse for five hundred yards into the street. [/Q]

This Shi'ite Cleric was a MAJOR supporter of the United States invasion. He somehow made his way into Najaf and it turns out he was brought to Najaf by the United States armed forces. Many of the problems we are now facing in Iraq may not have been as intense among the Shi'ite population if this man had lived. Who killed him?

[Q]There are at least half a dozen identifiable factions vying for dominance of Shia areas. The strongest on the ground seems to be the Sadr grouping coalesced round the imam's 22 year old grandson, Muktada al-Sadr. On the 10th his supporters hacked to death Sayyed Abdel Majid al-Khoei, a leading figure from a rival faction who had returned to Najaf from exile in Britain. Sadr loyalists then surrounded the homes of the seniormost Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and two other ayatollahs, and ordered them to quit Iraq within 48 hours. Al-Sistani, condemned for calling upon Shias to remain neutral during the war, was freed by tribesmen who entered Najaf from the countryside.[/Q]

So the Cleric who was very supportive of the United States was assasinated by Muktada's followers. This has been published in numerous areas. He also as the quote above shows, stood up to the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the main religious leader for Iraq. The Grand Ayatollah told the Shi'ite population to not fight for the US or Against Saddam was in danger of being killed, except he was rescued by the tribesmen.

Muktada was apparently trying to become the leader of the Shi'ites in Iraq with this move which failed. However his power in Bagdahd in Sadr city is not in doubt. As this MSN reporter who visited the city wrote:

[Q]Late afternoon I spent in Sadr City, named after Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, Shiite Maraji' (or "Supreme Authority") martyred in 1999 by Saddam. The name is only three months old. Until the war it was called Saddam City, and before the 1991 war, it was called al-Thawra (or "the Revolution"). Sadr City is deeply, religiously Shiite and very poor. There are no public services and no active police. U.S. patrols do not dismount here......

At the Hikma Mosque, I met Sheikh Abbas al-Rubai', the editor of the Da'wa Party's newspaper, al-Hausa. The Da'wa is one of the biggest Shiite parties in Iraq today, led by the 22-year-old Moqtadr al-Sadr, the martyr's son. His weekly paper sells 12,000 copies, more than almost every other paper in Baghdad. We sit in the mosque's antechamber. There's electricity here so a slow fans whirrs. Before he joined the party, Abbas was a painter. He studied at the progressive College of Fine Arts in Baghdad.

He tells me about life under Saddam and the war: "It was worse than you can imagine. Women and children were killed for a word, or even a suspicious look at a picture of Saddam … and then during this war, the Fedayeen came, and with them Sunni Arab volunteers from Syria and Jordan. From the 14th to the 21st of April, they ransacked the city. They even used rocket-propelled grenades. And for no reason. They had already lost."

The Da'wa Party did everything it could to stave off anarchy. Its student groups took up arms and protected the hospitals, saving the al-Kindi hospital from arson after it was looted and preventing the Qadisiya and Chuwadira hospitals from being looted. Those last two hospitals saved the lives of many of the wounded from all around Baghdad. Now, the party is cleaning up the debris—the dirt and the weapons—of the war. Abbas tells me the Sunnis and Shiites are working together; since the war, their doctors have been sharing medical supplies.[/Q]

This young Cleric is a rising hero. Like his Uncle who assasinated 1980 and his father assasinated in 1999, he is a leader among the people of Bagdahd. He has newsprint and an army of people who will fight if he decides too. He is someone the United States must deal with. The question is how. If he did indeed order the murder of the cleric and the Grand Ayatollah in a power struggle for control of Shi'ites in Iraq the US is in a difficult position. Now with the killing of an innocent bystander this week in a battle with US troops in Sadr City, and the rally of 3.000 agains thte US troops on Friday night, it seems more difficult to reach out to this rising leader, who may somehow be the link to democracy.

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Old 08-17-2003, 01:59 PM   #2
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Things might not be as dark as they seem. If they decide to use these innovative ideas for an Iraqi constitution, they may please the Iraqis, who will feel like their country is both Islamic and democratic. I just picked up a Persian community newspaper printed in Atlanta the other night. Khoumeini's grandson is on a speaking tour of the U.S. calling for a popular referendum on the present Iranian government, which he wants to get rid of in favor of a more democratic government. No, it doesn't fit all of our western ideals about democracy. But this isn't going to fit a historically Islamic society anyway. For the Iraqi people it'd be a huge improvement over Saddam, and for that matter it'd suit us because once a few positive developments take place in Iraq and they have a truly "Iraqi" government they'd be pleased with the political situation in their country. The "occupation" would end. I think most Iraqis just want to get on with their lives and some sort of government like this would please them. It's their country, they've got to please themselves or we're fked.

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Old 08-17-2003, 02:32 PM   #3
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Oh, yes, those British troops occupying Iraq in 1922. Those British governments who occupied the former Ottoman countries didn't know what they were dealing with. They had all sorts of Victorian-era preconceived notions about Islamic people, none of them worth a . They couldn't have forseen the rise of the Taliban or the success of Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia. Some of the stuff I've read about the people in Washington indicates that their knowledge of the people of the Middle East is no better than that of those Brits. If they want to kick these people out maybe it's actually better to let history run its course. I had a feeling this situation would turn out this way. I think Rumsfeld in particular is clueless. He reminds me of one of those old-school Brits in terms of provincialism and preconceived notions.
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Old 08-17-2003, 07:05 PM   #4
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Firebrand Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, son of late Shiite Ayatollah Mohammed Sadeq al-Sadr, speaks during a Friday sermon at Kufa mosque in Kufa, 180 kms south of Baghdad. Sadr is one of the most outspoken Shiite clerics opposing the US occupation of Iraq (news - web sites).(AFP/Karim Sahib)
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Old 08-18-2003, 01:23 PM   #5
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[Q]Hussein's rebelliousness is not unique in contemporary Shi'ite societies. To his name, we can add those of such figures as Moqtada Al-Sadr in Iraq and Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon. In spite of the vast differences in the outlooks of these three figures, they share, in addition to the black turban, a spirit of defiance against traditional Shi'ite leaderships, a relative youthfulness when compared to most Shi'ite spiritual leaders and generally radical politics and attitudes. They also all lack the necessary theological credentials for Shi'ite religious leadership, qualifications which must be acquired through a stringent centuries-old system of education and training.

Moqtada Al-Sadr, heir to the spiritual influence among Iraqi Shi'ites of the Sadr family which traces itself to the Prophet, came into the spotlight following the collapse of the regime of Saddam Hussein. Al- Sadr has capitalised on the frailty of the traditional Shi'ite leadership in Iraq, on the shaken legitimacy of the Iranian Ayatollah Muhsen Al-Hakim who had arrived in Iraq after the fall of Saddam, on Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani's call to keep Shi'ite religious institutions out of politics, and on the fact that his father, Mohamed Baqer Al-Sadr, and uncle, Mohamed Sadeq Al-Sadr, both Shi'ite religious leaders, were assassinated by the former Iraqi regime. Drawing on this political capital, Moqtada Al- Sadr has also appealed to the Iraqi Shi'ites' sense of historical oppression and political exclusion, succeeding in mobilising millions of his coreligionists into taking to the streets to demand their long overdue share in power in Iraq, where Shi'ites constitute the majority of the population. [/Q]
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Old 10-10-2003, 03:47 PM   #6
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U.S., Shiites Disagree on Baghdad Ambush
1 hour, 45 minutes ago

By TAREK AL-ISSAWI, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A nighttime clash that killed two U.S. soldiers and at least one Iraqi in a teeming Shiite Muslim slum raised tensions Friday between the American occupation force and the country's religious majority.

The Americans said their troops were lured into an ambush, but the Shiites maintained that U.S. soldiers opened fire first when they approached radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's headquarters in the Sadr City slum.

The clash late Thursday, which wounded at least seven Iraqis and two U.S. soldiers, drew an angry reaction from Iraq's Shiites. That could mean trouble for coalition forces, because the Shiite population in Iraq has shown patience with the American occupation so far, evidently feeling it had much to win from cooperating.

A clash with Shiites could open a second front for troops already facing regular attacks in the Sunni heartland of central Iraq where Saddam Hussein drew his greatest support. Still, al-Sadr has very little support among the mainstream Shiite clerical leadership.

The bloodshed came just 12 hours after a mysterious car bombing killed 10 people at a nearby police station in Sadr City, where al-Sadr has taken a stand against the U.S. military occupation and deployed his own armed force.

Sheik Abdel-Hadi al-Daraji, an al-Sadr aide, claimed the Americans were approaching al-Sadr's headquarters and opened fire first in the Thursday night attack.

He accused the Americans of trying to drive a wedge between Shiites and Sunnis, and claimed the U.S.-led coalition was responsible for "manufacturing crises and trying to create havoc." But he stopped short of calling on Shiites to take up arms against the Americans.

The U.S. military said a 1st Armored Division squad riding in three Humvees was ambushed at about 8 p.m. Thursday while on routine patrol in the slum. U.S. Army spokesman Lt. Co. George Krivo had no comment about the claim that the U.S. soldiers had approached al-Sadr's headquarters.

"A group of people, civilians, met with U.S. forces and said, `Please come in, we need to show you something important,'" Krivo said. When the soldiers left their vehicles and followed the Iraqis, they came under small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire, he said. Homemade bombs were also detonated.

An Army quick reaction force helped extricate the patrol, Krivo said. He would not go into detail about what happened next, but suggested the encounter lasted two hours and that he "would not characterize (it) as a raid."

Krivo said the U.S. military would not change its policy of patrolling the heavily populated Shiite slum.

Security was tight during Friday prayers, with residents loyal to al-Sadr blocking streets leading to the main mosque. Guards were stationed on rooftops and around the 10,000 faithful who attended the sermon and prayers.

Afterward, there was a funeral procession for what were said to be two Iraqis killed in Thursday's clash.

"America claims to be the pioneer of freedom and democracy, but it resembles, or indeed is, a terror organization," al-Daraji, the al-Sadr aide, told the congregation. "The Americans may have forgotten that the real power rests with God and not with the wretched America."

Staff at al-Chawader Hospital in Sadr City said one Iraqi was killed in the clash and at least seven were injured.

"No to America! Yes to martyrdom!" the crowd chanted as the two coffins arrived.

"Let me congratulate the martyrs and pray we are all granted that same fate," al-Daraji said.

Of the growing U.S.-Shiite tensions in Sadr City, Krivo said the Americans are in an "ongoing dialogue with Shiite officials." He didn't elaborate.

The cleric al-Sadr lives in the southern city of Najaf, but Sadr City, home to thousands of young, unemployed Shiites, is his main power base.

"We want peace, but the Americans came last night thinking this is Fallujah," said Mahdi Abdel-Zahra, 32, referring to a city west of Baghdad where frequent clashes between Iraqis and Americans have taken place. "They are wrong. We've never hurt the Americans in Sadr City."

In Fallujah, an unidentified assailant lobbed a grenade on a passing U.S. military convoy Friday, witnesses said. The Americans responded by opening fire. Three pedestrians were hurt, but it wasn't clear if their wounds were caused by the grenade or the gunfire. No U.S. troops were wounded.

Sadr City is a mainly Shiite area that was known as Saddam City until Saddam's ouster, when it was renamed for al-Sadr's father, a Shiite cleric killed in 1999 by suspected security agents.

Trouble in the northeast Baghdad region began Thursday when a bomber crashed a white Oldsmobile loaded with explosives into a police station, killing himself and nine other people. As many as 45 people were wounded.

Across town, gunmen — one dressed as a Muslim cleric — also shot and killed a Spanish military attache about 30 minutes before the car bombing.

Also Friday, L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, urged Congress to approve President Bush's request for about $20 billion for reconstruction to "help put Iraq on the road to complete recovery."

"If we can spend it well over the next 12 to 18 months, that will be the lion's share of what we have to do here in Iraq," he told ABC's "Good Morning America."

Vice President Dick Cheney said Friday that the United States still faces enemies who could inflict hundreds of thousands of American deaths in a single day, and he defended the Iraq invasion as a critical strike against such terror.

"We could not accept the grave danger of Saddam Hussein and his allies turning weapons of mass destruction against us or our friends and allies," Cheney told the conservative Heritage Foundation.

So far, the United States has found no such weapons despite extensive searching.
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Old 10-10-2003, 04:57 PM   #7
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
"No to America! Yes to martyrdom!"
Then maybe America could do them all a favor and shoot them all dead.

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Old 10-10-2003, 06:37 PM   #8
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I saw something on that situation tonight. The people in that city have now restricted all access to american troops
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Old 10-10-2003, 10:01 PM   #9
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Oh yeah, Iraq's going to be a democracy in 10 years, my ass.
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Old 10-11-2003, 12:08 PM   #10
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NY Times International / Middle East

Iraqi Shiite Anger Raises New Fears for U.S. Soldiers

Published: October 11, 2003

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 10 — Shiite Muslim anger against Americans spilled into Friday Prayers in Sadr City, the poor Baghdad district where two Iraqis and two American soldiers were killed Thursday night.

The violence and subsequent public outrage raised fears of new dangers to United States troops from the followers of Moktada al-Sadr, a young anti-American Shiite cleric. Up to now, the main threat to American forces has come from loyalists to Saddam Hussein.

A seething throng of perhaps 10,000 people gathered on Friday to pay respects to the two men they believe were killed by American forces the night before.

"No, no, to America!" they chanted as wooden coffins holding the remains of the men were paraded along a main street in this impoverished neighborhood of some two million people, once called Saddam City and now renamed Sadr City in part for Mr. Sadr's father, a popular cleric who was assassinated in 1999 on what many believe were Mr. Hussein's orders.

Sheik Abdel Hadi al-Daraji, an aide to the younger Mr. Sadr, delivered the sermon at Friday Prayers and issued a defiant demand: no American soldiers should be allowed inside Sadr City.

"America, which calls itself the supporter of democracy, is nothing but a big terrorist organization that is leading the world with its terrorism and arrogance," Mr. Daraji said.

For the last six months, the greatest threat to United States soldiers has come from common criminals or loyalists to Mr. Hussein, who belongs to the Sunni branch of Islam, a minority in Iraq. The Shiites, who were repressed under Mr. Hussein, have been more supportive and have rarely been thought responsible for attacks on American soldiers.

But tensions have been growing for several days between American troops and Mr. Sadr's followers, who represent only a fraction of Iraq's majority Shiite population. If the Shiites turned in large numbers against the American occupation, the effect could be explosive.

On Wednesday, 1,000 or more of Mr. Sadr's followers blocked off streets in front of the American headquarters in downtown Baghdad in a tense but largely peaceful demonstration demanding the release of another cleric allied with Mr. Sadr.

The cleric had been arrested after guns and ammunition were found in his mosque, according to Lt. Col. George Krivo, an American military spokesman.

Despite the visibility of Mr. Sadr's followers, there is some debate about the extent of his actual influence among Shiites, many of whom follow more moderate religious leaders. It is not hard to find people, even in Sadr City, who speak openly against Mr. Sadr.

"You put a badge on your chest and wrap a piece of green cloth on your head and you become the defender of the faith," said Saad Khudair, owner of a barbershop. "It's not right. They are thugs."

Colonel Krivo also cautioned against making too much of either the incident or Mr. Sadr, who is about 30, and his followers, many of whom are poor young men without jobs.

"Let's not paint the whole area, or the whole two million plus people who are living there, with the same brush," he said. "There are specific areas there that are challenging, just as there are specific areas throughout the country that are challenging. So be careful not to generalize too much about this area."

The spark for the recent violence appeared to be a suicide attack on Thursday morning at an Iraqi police station, in which a bomber crashed through a gate in a car and detonated a powerful bomb, killing at least eight other people.

Several hours later, United States troops surrounded Mr. Sadr's headquarters several blocks away. Local residents and clerics said that the soldiers entered the headquarters and that several of them were beaten up and had their guns taken away.

Iraqi witnesses said that militia members then blocked off the street in front of the headquarters, and that a short time later three Humvees with Americans drove up to the blockade.

Accounts differ as to what happened next. Colonel Krivo said the soldiers arrived after several people requested aid.

"There were some people that came out, met with the forces and said, `Please come in. We need to show you something important,' " he said. It was at that point that people in the crowd attacked, the colonel said.

In addition to the two American soldiers who were killed, four others were wounded. Colonel Krivo said a special unit was called in to rescue them, sparking an exchange of gunfire that witnesses said lasted an hour or more.

"From our reports, we believe this was a deliberate and planned ambush," Colonel Krivo said. "This was not just a hasty act."

The soldiers faced an arsenal of weapons that included small arms and rocket-propelled grenades, as well as explosives, Colonel Krivo added.

But many people in the neighborhood said the soldiers fired first.

"The Americans started shooting randomly," said Hassan Khadhim, 22, owner of a shop next to where the shootout took place. "Mostly, they were shooting in the air to frighten people. So our people shot back at them."

Some witnesses, however, agreed that it was an ambush.

"Moktada's people were hiding behind the mural waiting for them," said Muhammad Kadhim, 31, a post office employee. "When the Americans came they started shooting at them, and all the Americans were trying to do was just to leave."

The mural to which he referred is a huge billboard on a traffic circle painted with the faces of Mr. Sadr's father, Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, and Muhammad Baqr al-Sadr, an Islamic scholar and founder of the religious Dawa Party who was executed by Mr. Hussein in 1980. The two men were not immediately related. One of the two Iraqis killed Thursday night was shot at the base of the mural, witnesses said.

Despite the proximity of the bombing and the later shootout, Colonel Krivo said there was no evidence to suggest they were linked in any way, though he said he could not rule it out.

Given the similarity to previous bombings, suspicion fell immediately on pro-Hussein forces or foreign fighters who have come to Iraq to battle Americans and who are generally held to be responsible for much of the chaos in Iraq.

Colonel Krivo said that American troops would continue patrols in Sadr City, and that he did not believe the incident on Thursday marked the start of any widening confrontation.

Still, a confrontation with Mr. Sadr and his followers does not seem out of the question.

American officials have long eyed him with concern, for his anti-American oratory, his close ties with radical clerics in Iran and his insistence on establishing an Islamic state in Iraq.

Perhaps the biggest concern is his militia, the Jaish Mehdi. Though the American authorities have banned militias, his followers have roamed the streets of the neighborhood over the last two days carrying rifles — some apparently those that were donated by Americans to Iraqi police officers — grenades and even rocket-propelled grenades.

At Friday Prayers they acted as armed security guards, some planted on rooftops with machine guns. One man surveyed the crowd with a telescope.

There was no Iraqi police officer in sight.
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Old 10-11-2003, 06:19 PM   #11
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"Oh yeah, Iraq's going to be a democracy in 10 years, my ass."

At the very least it has the opportunity to be a democracy in 10 years. This opportunity would not exist if the USA and other member states of the UN had not removed Saddam from power.

Those that made dire predictions about intervention in Bosnia and Kosovo are eating their words today. I don't have a crystal ball to say what will happen 10 years from now in Iraq. But I'll place my bet on Iraq being a democracy in 10 years if the level of reconstruction aid being given to Iraq continues at the current rate for the next 10 years. Reconstruction aid for Iraq this year alone is 20 Billion dollars. Thats double the amount the USA gives the rest of the world in development aid each year.

The resources available to those that want democracy in Iraq far outweigh the resources of those that oppose it.
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Old 10-11-2003, 06:51 PM   #12
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STING2, so the last time you've been to Bosnia, what did the people there say to you?

Did they complain about unemployment and corruption? Did they tell you that the politicians now are "meet the new boss same as the old boss"? Did they tell you how they're still homeless due to a nonsensical partition which has the minority population given as much as 49% of the land? In Kosovo, did you talk to the Serbs who can't leave their houses because of something the Albanians refer to as "krvna osveta", meaning "blood revenge" - an ancient and cultural thing ingrained in the male population there?

Bosnia and Kosovo are TERRIBLE. I am glad that the US helped out and stopped the killing there. Although I feel it came far too late and that the Europeans waffled for nearly a decade while their neighbours perished, I'm glad it finally came to an end. But please, this nonsense about how Bosnia and Kosovo are places that we can build on is ridiculous. If you think that the stopping of killing is the only method by which to evaluate success, then yes, Bosnia and Kosovo have been pretty successful. However, talk to the people there, they are absolutely miserable. It's a very sad situation down there and it's not getting better. We think that if people aren't pulling the trigger, things are dandy. That's bullshit. Just because you aren't being shot at doesn't mean you're really living either.
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Old 10-11-2003, 07:41 PM   #13
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"STING2, so the last time you've been to Bosnia, what did the people there say to you?"

I know for a fact that not everyone who lives in Bosnia shares your assesment of the situation there! Additionally, it is a fact that the United Nations ranks Bosnia at #66 in the world in Standard of Living. I never said it was a paradise and that nothing was wrong. I said THE DIRE PREDICTIONS OF THOSE THAT WERE AGAINST INTERVENTION IN BOSNIA DID NOT COME TRUE! That is a fact! The problems you cite pale in comparison to what they were predicting.

Many of the problems you cite can be found in East Los Angeles or South Chicago.

To go from the war ravaged area the Bosnia was in 1995 with one out of every 16 people dead from 3 years prior, to being #66 in the World in Standard of Living is a major accomplishment. The average person who lives in Jordan, Turkey, Ukraine and Romania, would love to have a standard of living equal to Bosnia. The United Nations Human Development report ranks Jordan at #90, Turkey at #96, Ukraine at #75, and Romania at #72.

Iraq's neighbors, Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia all have worse Standards of living than Bosnia. Iran is at #106, Syria is at #110, and Saudi Arabia is at #73.

The fact of the matter is, the average person in Iraq has never had the standard of living that the average person in Bosnia currently has. So, getting Iraq to where Bosnia is today in 10 years would be a major accomplishment.

What one considers to be TERRIBLE is subjective. What many Bosnian's consider terrible would be paradise for someone from Sierra Leone which ranks #175 in the world in Standard of Living.

Another sign of the improved situation in Bosnia is the huge reduction in the number of NATO troops there. In 1996, there were 20,000 US troops, today there are only 1,500 US troops in Bosnia. There are plenty of problems of course, but these problems are not so big that they have created serious renewed ethnic tensions that require a build up of NATO troops in the area.

Opinions among Bosnians I'm willing to bet vary from person to person. If, you have scientific polling results of Bosnians, I'd be interested to see the results. Please provide the date and who conducted the polling. This is the only accurate way to determine how many Bosnians as a country feel this way or that way about politics, progress, and life in Bosnia.
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Old 10-12-2003, 11:37 AM   #14
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Bosnia is fked. Numbers aside, I wouldn't want to live there. I don't have a crystal ball. For the sake of the Iraqi people I'd like everything to work out in Iraq, but I have my doubts. Even stopping the killing there is elusive at this point. As anitram points out the cessation of killing doesn't produce an acceptable situation if unjust situations are rife.
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Old 04-04-2004, 10:12 PM   #15
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By KHALID MOHAMMED, Associated Press Writer

NAJAF, Iraq - Supporters of an anti-American cleric rioted in four Iraqi cities Sunday, killing eight U.S. troops and one Salvadoran soldier in the worst unrest since the spasm of looting and arson immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites).
The U.S. military on Sunday reported two Marines were killed in a separate "enemy action" in Anbar province, raising the toll of American service members killed in Iraq (news - web sites) to at least 610.

The rioters were supporters of anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. They were angry over Saturday's arrest on murder charges of one of al-Sadr's aides, Mustafa al-Yacoubi, and the closure of a pro-al-Sadr newspaper.

Near the holy city of Najaf, a gunbattle at a Spanish garrison killed at least 22 people, including two coalition soldiers — an American and a Salvadoran.

Fighting in the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City killed seven U.S. soldiers and wounded at least 24, the U.S. military said in a written statement.

A resident said two Humvees were seen burning in the neighborhood, and that some American soldiers had taken refuge in a building. The report could not be independently confirmed, and it was unclear whether the soldiers involved were those who died.

A column of American tanks was seen moving through the center of Baghdad Sunday evening, possibly headed toward the fighting.

The military said the fighting erupted after members of a militia loyal to radical Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took control of police stations and government buildings in the neighborhood.

Protesters clashed with Italian and British forces in other cities in a broad, violent challenge to the U.S.-led coalition, raising questions about its ability to stabilize Iraq ahead of a scheduled June 30 handover of power to Iraqis.

With less than three months left before then, the U.S. occupation administrator appointed an Iraqi defense minister and chief of national intelligence.

"These organizations will give Iraqis the means to defend their country against terrorists and insurgents," L. Paul Bremer said at a press conference.

About three miles outside the holy city of Najaf, supporters of al-Sadr opened fire on the Spanish garrison during a street protest that drew about 5,000 people. The protesters were angry over the arrest of the cleric's aide, said the Spanish Defense Ministry in Madrid.

The attackers opened fire at about noon, said Cmdr. Carlos Herradon, a spokesman for the Spanish headquarters in nearby Diwaniyah.

The Spanish and Salvadoran soldiers inside the garrison fired back, and assailants later regrouped in three clusters outside the base as the shooting continued for several hours.

Two soldiers — a Salvadoran and an American — died and nine other soldiers were wounded, the Spanish defense ministry said. No other details were available.

More than 200 people were wounded, said Falah Mohammed, director of the Najaf health department. El Salvador (news - web sites)'s defense minister said several Salvadoran soldiers were wounded.

The death toll of at least 20 included two Iraqi soldiers who were inside the Spanish base, witnesses said.

Spain has 1,300 troops stationed in Iraq, and the Central American contingent is of a similar size. The Salvadorans are under Spanish command as part of an international brigade that includes troops from Central America.

Multiple train bombings in Madrid last month that killed 191 people have been blamed on al-Qaida-linked terrorists, who said they were punishing Spain for its alliance with the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan (news - web sites).

Spain's new government, elected just days after the March 11 train bombings, has promised to make good on its pre-election promise to withdraw all Spanish troops from Iraq unless command for peacekeeping is turned over to the United Nations (news - web sites).

In El Salvador, the defense minister said the attack will not alter his country's role in reconstruction efforts.

"It reinforces even more our decision to continue helping a country that is suffering," Juan Antonio Martinez said Sunday.

The protesters were upset over the detention of al-Yacoubi, a senior aide to the 30-year-old al-Sadr, who opposes the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. Al-Sadr is at odds with most Shiites, who hope to gain substantial power in the new Iraqi government.

Shiites comprise about 60 percent of Iraq's 25 million people but were brutally repressed by the regime of Saddam Hussein, a Sunni Muslim.

At coalition headquarters in Baghdad, a senior official said on condition of anonymity that al-Yacoubi was detained Saturday on charges of murdering Abdel-Majid al-Khoei, a senior Shiite cleric who returned to Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion. A total of 25 arrest warrants were issued, and 13 suspects have been arrested, the official said.

Spanish-led forces said they did not participate in the arrest.

In central Baghdad's Firdaus Square, police fired warning shots during a protest by hundreds of al-Sadr supporters against al-Yacoubi's arrest. At least two protesters were injured, witnesses said.

In Kufa, near Najaf, al-Sadr supporters took over a police station and seized guns inside. No police were in sight.

In the southern city of Nasiriyah, Italian troops traded fire with militiamen demonstrating against al-Yacoubi's detention, said Lt. Col. Pierluigi Monteduro, chief of staff of Italian troops in the region. One Italian officer was wounded in the leg.

Also in the south, British troops clashed with protesters in Amarah, according to the Ministry of Defense in London. It was unclear whether there were casualties.

Al-Sadr's office in Baghdad issued a statement later Sunday calling off street protests and saying the cleric would stage a sit-in at a mosque in Kufa, where he has delivered fiery weekly sermons for months.

Al-Sadr supporters also were angered by the March 28 closure of his weekly newspaper by U.S. officials. The Americans alleged the newspaper was inciting violence against coalition troops.

The two U.S. Marines, both assigned to the 1st Marine Division, were killed by an "enemy action" in Anbar province Saturday, the military said. One died Saturday and the other Sunday, the statement said without providing details.

Anbar is an enormous stretch of land reaching to the Jordanian and Syrian borders west of Baghdad that includes Fallujah, a city where four American civilian contractors were slain Wednesday.

At a checkpoint in Samarra, about 60 miles north of Baghdad, that was manned by Iraqi Civil Defense personnel, a bomb killed three security officers and wounded another, workers at Samarra General Hospital said.

In Kirkuk, also in the north, a car bomb exploded, killing three civilians and wounding two others, police said.

Bremer on Sunday announced the appointments of Ali Allawi, the interim trade minister, as the new defense minister and Mohammed al-Shehwani, a former Iraqi air force officer who fled Iraq in 1990, as head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service.

Late Sunday, U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and a team that will assist Iraqis in the political transition to an interim Iraqi government arrived in Baghdad, the United Nations said. [/Q]

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