mercredi 30 avril 2008

Sadr City attacks are killing mostly unarmed civilians

Sunni parliamentarian: "Sadr City attacks are killing mostly unarmed civilians"
badger, Arablinks

In this photo 2 year old Ali Hussein is seen being pulled from the rubble of his family’s home in Sadr City Tuesday, April 29, 2008. Ali’s home was one of four destroyed by U.S. missiles. Ali died in hospital a few hours later.(

April 29, 2008

A member of the Iraqi Accord Front (biggest Sunni bloc in parliament) Ahmed Radhi, who was in Sadr City on Sunday as part of the multi-party sit-in, repeated yesterday the call to implement the group's demands for an end to the crisis, and he said: "The majority of those who are being killed are civilians, and not armed persons."

And another Sunni deputy, Mustafa al-Heeti, from the Iraqi Dialogue Front, said at a press conference with other members of that group: "I urge an end to the military operations, an adoption of the language of dialogue, and an prompt meeting of the council (government executive committee, the so-called three plus one) in order to end the military operations."

Both statements are reported by Aswat al Iraq.

Rather than any easing, there was a dramatic escalation in military operations in Sadr City, where US forces intervened in one case with Abrams tanks, killing 22, and in another case with airstrikes killing 16. (See this summary in AlHayat, among many other accounts). *

And at the same time, the GreenZone and US accusations against Iran have taken on a new stridency. For instance, AlHayat reminds readers that US officials have said the Sadr City campaign is against "special groups" of criminals that are supported by Iran. And here's how Azzaman leads its main story this morning: "Armed groups linked to Iran took advangage of the bad weather for the third time, launching a round of self-propelled Katyusha rockets at various locations in the Green Zone..."

So along with (1) signs of domestic political solidarity against the attacks on Sadr City; and (2) dramatic military escalation in Sadr City; there is also (3) a sharper framing of this as a struggle between Iraq on the one side, and Iranian proxies on the other.

It's worth trying to keep the overall picture in mind, because there is a tendency not only in the corporate media, but in the Washington-based commentary as well, to talk exclusively about the third point, to the almost complete exclusion of the first two. As if America, politically and militarily, was some kind of a passive bystander.


* Update to Tuesday evening Baghdad time: VOI quotes a medical source who said in the period from 11 am to 6 pm Tuesday April 29, US forces shelled sectors 10 and 11 of Sadr City, causing 24 deaths and 60 injuries. The medical source said most of the victims were women and children. And everyone is silent.

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