Fighting in Najaf ends after Three Weeks
Three weeks of bloody fighting in Najaf ended with the arrival of thousands of Iraqi Shia followers of Ayat Allah Ali al-Sistani. The Iraqi crowd marched to the Imam Ali mosque, within which the militiamen loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr where under seige by U.S. forces. As the followers of Al-Sistani entered the mosque, the al-Sadr militiamen were able to slip away, some throwing away their weapons but others keeping them.
The arrival of al-Sistani’s followers was preceded by negotiations in which al-Sistani persuaded al-Sadr to argee to a cease-fire and withdrawl in Najaf as well neighbouring Kufa. The deal appears to pave the way for al-Sadr to join the political establishment in Bahgdad although it remains to be seen if he would be willing to do so. U.S. appointed Interim Prime Minister Iyyad Allawi offered an amnesty to the al-Sadr’s al-Mahdi militiamen as well as promising that al-Sadr would not be arrested.
Regardless of whether al-Sadr continues his armed resistance, it appears certain that the U.S. backed interim government will continue to face resistance through out Iraq. This last week saw continued attacks in southern Iraq against oil pipelines. Attacks against U.S. troops continued and in Jaballa a city official was assassinated. Iraq civilians continue to be killed as the U.S. military continues to use its arsenal of overwhelming firepower against Iraq insurgents. Independent reporter Rahul Mahajan estimates that the fighting in Najaf over the last three weeks has resulted in the deaths of 600 to 1000 Iraqi civilians.
New Government Report on Abu Ghraib Abuse
According to a new government report, top Pentagon officials and the military command in Iraq contributed to a situation in Iraq in which prisoners were abused. Most notably, the report makes it clear that the abuse was systemic and not individual, as has been previously asserted by the Bush administration. This echoes revelations in memos stating that torture became government policy. Critics of the invasion of Iraq have pointed out that the reports confirm that there was no possible justification for the torture or the invasion.
Tony Blair to be Impeached; Bush Admits “Miscalculations” in Iraq Invasion
Members of parliament are planning to impeach British Prime Minister Tony Blair for “high crimes and misdemeanors” related to the invasion of Iraq. A 100-page document outlining the charges against Blair has been made available by the MPs bringing the articles of impeachment.
While President George W. Bush certainly will not be impeached for his lies about Iraq, he has finally admitted in a New York Times interview that he made “a miscalculation of what the conditions would be” in post-war Iraq. Perhaps most interesting are his comments on the Iraqi insurgency, whom he still believes consist of “Baathists” who did not “stand and fight” but rather “dissipated and spread into the countryside” and are now fighting the United States. This view is not consistent with most studies of the resistance which describe much of the resistance as simply being against the occupation and not in favor of a restoration of Baathist power.
Large Attack on Iraqi Oil Pipelines
Members of the Iraqi resistance launched a major attack on the oil infrastructure cutting oil production in Southern Iraq by nearly 50%. The attacks follow the burning of the headquarters of South Oil Co. on August 19 by Shiite militants.
Republican National Convention Protests Set for New York City
Massive protests outside of the Republican National Convention (RNC) are planned for the upcoming week, with many of the actions targeting war profiteers and larger protests showing opposition to not only President Bush?s invasion of Iraq, but the wider “war on terrorism.”
Media Mouse will be providing daily news updates and photos from the streets of New York City during the upcoming week.