Iraqis Protest U.S. Occupation of Iraq

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Superlative, Apr 9, 2007.

  1. Superlative
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    Superlative Senior Member

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    BAGHDAD, April 9 — Tens of thousands of people marched to the city of Najaf today, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad, to protest the American occupation of Iraq.

    The demonstration, which has remained peaceful, was being held at the urging of militant Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He exhorted Iraqi security forces on Sunday to unite with his militiamen against the American military in Diwaniya, an embattled southern city in Iraq where fighting has raged for four days.

    Mr. Sadr’s statement did not explicitly call for armed struggle against the Americans, but it still represented his most forceful condemnation of the American-led occupation since he went underground after the start of an intensified Baghdad security crackdown nearly two months ago.

    The demonstrators marched to Najaf, 100 miles south of Baghdad, from neighboring Kufa, with two cordons of Iraqi police lining the route. Some at the rally waved small Iraqi flags; others hoisted a giant flag 10 yards long, the Associated Press reported. Leaflets fluttered through the breeze reading: “Yes, Yes to Iraq” and “Yes, Yes to Moktada. Occupiers should leave Iraq.”

    “The enemy that is occupying our country is now targeting the dignity of the Iraqi people,” said lawmaker Nassar al-Rubaie, head of Mr. Sadr’s bloc in parliament, as he marched, according to the A.P. “After four years of occupation, we have hundreds of thousands of people dead and wounded.”

    A senior official in Mr. Sadr’s organization in Najaf, Salah al-Obaydi, called the rally a “call for liberation,” the A.P. reported. “We’re hoping that by next year’s anniversary, we will be an independent and liberated Iraq with full sovereignty.”

    Iraqi soldiers in uniform joined the crowd, which was led by at least a dozen turbaned clerics — including one Sunni, according to the A.P. Many marchers danced as they moved through the streets.

    The demonstration was peaceful, but two ambulances could be seen moving slowly with the marching crowd, poised to help if violence or stampedes broke out, the A.P. reported.

    Col. Steven Boylan, an American military spokesman and aide to the commander of all American forces in Iraq, praised the peaceful nature of the demonstration, saying Iraqis “could not have done this four years ago,” the A.P. reported.

    “This is the right to assemble, the right to free speech — they didn’t have that under the former regime,” Boylan said. “This is progress, there’s no two ways about it.”

    Mr. Sadr’s call for resistance came as the American military announced the deaths of 10 soldiers in five attacks over the weekend, the highest two-day total for American fatalities since the new security plan began Feb. 14. Five soldiers were wounded. Violence against Iraqis continued unabated on Sunday, with at least 43 people killed or found dead. Seventeen were killed and 26 wounded in a car bombing near a hospital and mosque in the insurgent enclave of Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad.

    Mr. Sadr’s statement on Sunday indicated he might be ready to resume steering his militia, the Mahdi Army, toward more open confrontation with the American military.

    The Mahdi Army has generally been lying low during the Baghdad security plan, but intense fighting broke out in Diwaniya on Friday between militiamen and American-led forces. The battles erupted when American and Iraqi soldiers isolated neighborhoods in Diwaniya to search for militiamen. Fighter jets hit militia positions on Saturday, and one police official said at least seven Iraqis had been killed and 15 wounded in the fighting. Residents reported American soldiers scampering across rooftops on Saturday evening.

    The battles in Diwaniya have been the most violent in months between the Mahdi Army and the Americans, and could portend violence in other strongholds of the Sadr militia. Mahdi Army fighters began moving to Diwaniya and other southern cities when the Baghdad crackdown began.

    “The strife that is taking place in Diwaniya was planned by the occupier to drag down the brothers and make them quarrel, fight and even kill each other,” Mr. Sadr said in a written statement. “Oh my brothers in the Mahdi Army and my brothers in the security forces, stop fighting and killing because that is what our enemy and your enemy and even God’s enemy hope for.”

    Mr. Sadr added: “God ordered you to be patient and to unite your efforts against the enemy and not against the sons of Iraq. They want to drag you into a war that ends Shiitism and Islam, but they cannot.”

    Mr. Sadr’s influence over the security forces in Diwaniya is unclear. Many Iraqi Army commanders and police officials there take orders from the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a powerful Shiite party that is the main rival to Mr. Sadr’s organization.

    The American military said Sunday that at least 39 people suspected of being militiamen had been detained during the weekend fighting, and soldiers had uncovered caches of particularly deadly explosives that American officials contended came from Iran.

    Mr. Sadr led two rebellions against the Americans in 2004 and emerged more powerful from each, even though thousands of his fighters were killed. He entered mainstream politics, and his followers now hold at least 30 seats in Parliament and critical cabinet postings. He also has a powerful protector in Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a conservative Shiite who gained the top job because of Mr. Sadr’s support.

    Although Mr. Sadr has a home in Najaf, his current whereabouts are a mystery. American military officials say he is in Iran, but supporters insist he is still in Iraq. There have been explosions of violence involving the Mahdi Army before the fighting at Diwaniya. On March 30, a battle erupted in a Baghdad neighborhood between Mahdi Army fighters and Kurdish soldiers brought in from the north as part of the security plan.

    An Iraqi employee of The New York Times contributed reporting from Najaf. Jon Elsen contributed from New York.


    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/09/world/middleeast/09cnd-iraq.html?hp
     
  2. Gunny
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    Gunny Gold Member

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    How many times and in how many forums are you going to post the same event?

    http://www.usmessageboard.com/showthread.php?t=48070
     
  3. Superlative
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    Superlative Senior Member

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    Well, they are two different articles with two different points of view, I apologize for making you read both,
    But I figured there would be many who only read one.
    And I didnt know which forum was better suited for the articles, if I combined them, it would be too long a post for alot of people to bother reading.

    And I felt that they were both valid posts considering people's opposing stances on the idea of a successful troop surge, so I posted two articles from different sources consisting of different viewpoints on a popular subject.
    My apologies, If it bothers you i wont do it again.
     
  4. 90K
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    Had we killed al sadr would this still be the same rhedoric? I look at it as if they the iraqis want us out then we should leave and take everything with us on our way out. let them go into civil war. Because this very issue is going to happen and it is a matter of time until it does.
     
  5. Superlative
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    Superlative Senior Member

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    I think it would end up similar to killing a Drug lord, it would create a vaccuum, someone else would just fill the void, until everyone is killed.
     
  6. maineman
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    maineman BANNED

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    if we had killed the most influential and charismatic shiite cleric in a land where the shiite majority was finally getting to stretch their wings, we would have set off a firestorm of protests.... if we think we are hated by the Iraqis now, it would be NOTHING compared to the hatred if we had killed HIM.
     
  7. hjmick
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    hjmick Gold Member

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    Four years ago they wouldn't have dared march in the streets in protest. If they had, they would have been met by Iraqi troops with orders from Saddam to quell the protests, with violence and murder if necessary.
     
  8. Superlative
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    Superlative Senior Member

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    The US wasnt there 4 years ago.

    but if they were protesting Saddam, they would be guaranteed opposition, and im sure with force.

    At least they are free now, free enough to protest the US freeing them.
     
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  9. hjmick
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    hjmick Gold Member

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    My point exactly.
     
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  10. maineman
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    maineman BANNED

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    no doubt.... we created this.... when we invaded, conquered and occupied Iraq, we foolishly thought that they would love us for it.

    When we planted the seeds of democracy, we really can't bitch if the people decide to hate us.

    the pipedream of a multicultural jeffersonian democracy strongly allied with the United States blossoming on the banks of the Euphrates was just that: a fucking pipedream.

    We invaded, conquered, occupied them and when we leave, they will NOT be our allies... and it will have cost us a bloody fortune to create another country who is not our friend.
     
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