Crusades II - Iraqi Cities Bombed and Tanked
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24 August 2004 --- MER is Free
News, Views, & Analysis Governments, Lobbies, & the
Corporate Media Don't Want You To Know
"We Will Wipe Them Out" Allawi Regime Declares


CRUSADES II
Battle of Najaf Reaching Climax
U.S. brings in new Iraqi mercenary forces
Fallujah, Sadr City, Najaf Also Under Bombing and Tank Attack

Mid-East Realities - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - 24 August 2004:

In Iraq, in the Middle East, and throughout the Arab and Muslims worlds the early years of the 21st century may become known as the start of Crusades II.

Today, just as a top American General admits it may take 10 years to bring Iraq under control (see breaking headlines at MiddleEast.Org), the Americans are pulverizing Iraqi cities including Fallujah, Sadr City, and Najaf with high-tech tanks and gunships while bringing in their new mercenary Iraqi forces to Najaf to take the Imam Ali Shrine from resisting Shia forces.

It was just five days after 9/11 that the evangelical American President made his public comments about the new 'crusade' in the Middle East. His advisers quickly shut him up and hastily arranged a little visit up the street to the Washington Mosque. But as they say the cat was already out of the bag.

Bush's views and ongoing rhetoric -- and then came top Pentagon General Boykin telling the world that 'my god is bigger than their god' -- may come to define this period in 'modern' history.

And with Israeli policies in the region, on top of their powerful Israeli-Jewish lobby's connection with all that has happened, for many in the Arab and Muslim world's there is now a Christian-Jewish, a U.S.-Israeli, Crusades II underway against the Arab and Muslim worlds. The events of these very days are of course throwing more fuel on the fire.

The ramifications of these years will indeed be world changing; but probably not, as history turns, as the current victors contemplate. Passions and forces are being unleashed now that will be even harder to control in the years ahead. As we editorialized last week, on top of all the arrogant and racist rhetoric and attitudes, the actions of the U.S. and Israel have now set the world on fire.
MER





Iraq Forces Advance on Najaf Shrine, Battle Rages

By Michael Georgy

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters - 24 August) - Iraqi security forces moved to within 400 meters (yards) of a holy shrine in Najaf on Tuesday, just hours after the government warned Shi'ite rebels inside they would be killed if they did not surrender.

"God willing, we'll be moving in tonight," a commander of one unit told Reuters, adding that around 500 Iraqi troops had been deployed to the area around the Imam Ali mosque, the first time government forces have entered the battle zone.

The advance was carried out by 50 servicemen and came after U.S. helicopters fired missiles and strafed militia positions in a cemetery that adjoins the mosque, where most of the Mehdi Army loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have holed up during a bloody three-week rebellion in the southern city.

A U.S. soldier guided the men in. They were shot at by Mehdi militiamen and returned fire.

"We are in the last hours. This evening, Iraqi forces will reach the doors of the shrine and control it and appeal to the Mehdi Army to throw down their weapons," Defense Minister Hazim al-Shalaan said at a U.S. army base outside Najaf.

"If they do not, we will wipe them out."

With fighting raging, U.S. tanks reinforced positions along the southern flank of the mosque. Black smoke rose from the area and automatic gunfire crackled after an overnight bombardment from U.S. warplanes and artillery.

The ultimatum from the U.S.-backed interim government is the latest in a series of threats that Iraqi forces will storm the shrine to disarm the militia.

MINISTERS TARGETED

In Baghdad, insurgents tried to assassinate Iraq's environment and education ministers in separate bombings that killed five of their bodyguards and wounded more than a dozen people, officials said.

Environment Minister Mishkat Moumin said she survived a suicide car bomb attack on her convoy in Baghdad. Education Minister Sami al-Mudhaffar was unhurt after a roadside bomb hit his convoy in the city, officials said.

A group linked to al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attempt on Moumin and said it would not miss next time, according to an Internet statement.

The attacks were the latest attempts to kill officials in the government of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who took power from U.S.-led occupiers barely two months ago and faces crises on many fronts, especially in Najaf.

"Serving the Iraqi people is not a crime that deserves this," an outraged Moumin told Reuters after the blast.

Moumin said four of her bodyguards were killed in the suicide bombing. Up to 15 people were wounded. One of Mudhaffar's bodyguards died in the attack on his convoy.

"I opened the door to leave for work and the blast knocked me over," said Ali al-Tai, a local resident standing in front of his home only meters (yards) from the blast site where Moumin was targeted, blood from victims splattered on his shirt.

In July, Iraq's justice minister survived a suicide car bomb attack on his convoy in Baghdad. The then head of the Iraqi Governing Council, Izzedin Salim, was killed in May in a similar strike. Both of those attacks were claimed by Zarqawi.

IRAQI FORCES CLOSE IN

U.S. marines have done most of the fighting in Najaf, which has killed hundreds, driven oil prices to record highs and touched off clashes in seven other southern and central cities.

But any raid by U.S. troops on Iraq's holiest Shi'ite shrine could trigger a firestorm of protest from the country's majority Shi'ite community.

A rocket fired by militants clipped the wall of the gold-domed mosque on Tuesday and may have damaged the building, the U.S. military said. Both sides have accused each other of attacks near the shrine and of failing to respect holy ground.

Insurgents also attacked a truck and an ambulance taking aid to Najaf, killing two people and setting the vehicles on fire, a Reuters witness said. Cameraman Alaa Saad said from the scene the vehicles were attacked south of Baghdad.

But news that Iraq's crude exports were back to normal on Monday helped calm jittery oil markets. Prices reached nearly $50 a barrel last week after sabotage and threats cut exports. (Additional reporting by Chris Helgren in Najaf, Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Mussab al-Khairalla, Andrew Marshall, Tom Perry and Ibon Villelabeitia in Baghdad)



Najaf fighters issued another ultimatum

Al-Mahdi Army fighters have been given just hours to give up

Aljazeera, 24 August: Iraq's interim defence minister has warned fighters besieged in Najaf's Imam Ali shrine to surrender or face an attack later on Tuesday that would "wipe them out".

The ultimatum was the latest in a series of threats by the US-backed government to the al-Mahdi Army loyal to Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr, which has been fighting American marines around the Imam Ali mosque for three weeks.

"We are in the last hours. This evening, Iraqi forces will reach the doors of the shrine and control it and appeal to the al-Mahdi Army to throw down their weapons," Defence Minister Hazim al-Shalan told a news conference at a US military base outside Najaf.

"If they do not, we will wipe them out."

A spokesman for al-Sadr's office in Baghdad, Raid al-Kathemy, said: "This is the beginning of the battle."

To the death

"They [US forces] will not enter Najaf until we are all dead," al-Kathemy told Aljazeera.

He also said "those collaborators with the US forces will be sooner or later heavily punished by the Iraqi people and al-Sadr's movement".

"We still welcome any peaceful initiative"

Raid al-Qadhimy,
al-Sadr spokesman in Baghdad

"The whole world has witnessed al-Sadr welcoming any peaceful initiative," al-Kathemy continued.

"But those crooked members of the government, who are collaborating with the US occupation forces, do not want any peace. They are slaves for the occupation forces.

Welcome peace

"However, we still welcome any peaceful initiative," Al-Kathemy added.

He stressed that al-Sadr was willing to hand over the shrine's keys to Ayat Allah al-Sistani and evacuate the al-Haidari compound.

"But those [government members] are manipulating us... They are not cooperating with us to hand over the keys, which is considered the beginning of a peaceful solution for our crisis.

"Even Saddam Hussein has not dared to attack the holy shrines," al-Kathemy added.

Escalation

Meanwhile, US tanks on Tuesday reinforced their positions along the southern flank of the shrine.

US tanks have reinforced their
positions near the shrine

Witnesses near the shrine said they saw Iraqi forces for the first time in the battle zone, after a morning of intense gunfire following fierce attacks by US warplanes overnight.

"I saw at least 10 American tanks parked on Medina street. It was impossible to get through today because snipers were everywhere," said one Iraqi witness, Fadil Shakir.

Medina street is a strategic thoroughfare with snipers on both sides. It is about 500 metres from the shrine.

A witness reported seeing Iraqi National Guard troops in two white pickup trucks appear for the first time in the battle zone. Witnesses said they saw many of them as well as some policemen around Medina street.

Militiamen accused

The US military said a rocket fired by militiamen clipped the wall of the Imam Ali shrine on Tuesday and may have damaged the building.

In a statement, the military said US aircraft spotted militiamen firing the rocket from the northeast corner of Iraq's holiest Shia shrine.

"The rocket clipped the wall of the shrine and landed approximately 10 metres north of the wall. The shrine may have sustained damage due to the rocket," it said.

Each side in the Najaf fighting has accused the other of mounting attacks near the shrine and of failing to respect holy ground.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3EB322D6-588E-406B-B3C1-B80A9CB9B39D.htm




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August 2004


Magazine



MER Exclusive - Listen to Douglas Feith about Israel and the Middle East
(August 30, 2004)
MER EXCLUSIVE - Listen to Douglas Feith while Bill Clinton was still President and a year before 9/11 even happened. For some time in Washington Feith himself has been a prominent member of the extended Israeli-Jewish lobby speaking at times as harshly and unrelentingly as any Israeli propagandist. Persons in the media should contact MER for more extensive information and additional audio and video comments by Feith - 202 362-5266 and press@MiddleEast.Org

Pointing the fingers at Douglas Feith
(August 29, 2004)
Feith has been mentioned in most of the major media stories this weekend in Washington -- but not nearly with the emphasis he should have been. For Feith has played a central role in just about every scandal that has beset the Bush Administration -- from the faulty 'intelligence', to the mistaken 'assumptions', to the prison torture scandals, and now the latest Israeli/Jewish lobby spy scandal right in his own office.

Sharon's Wars, Israel's Future
(August 28, 2004)
This major New York Times feature about Ariel Sharon could have, and should have, been far more harsh. But Ariel Sharon is at the top of his game now. And though the future he may have molded more than any other may be bleak and potentially catastrophic, now is his time and few in the Jewish world -- and in an oblique way that includes not only the New York Times but much of the contemporary American media -- dare to take him on directly.

Israeli Spy Scandal Erupting in Washington
(August 28, 2004)
Many, most no doubt, of these kinds of things relating to Israel never get out into the public domain; they are buried and sucked up into official Washington where so many have so many reasons for always wanting to hush such things up. But there should be no doubt that the Israelis have infiltrated at many levels and greatly influenced in many ways U.S. policies in the Middle East, especially of late the decision to invade and occupy Iraq. The following quick list of past Israeli spy scandals all of which were covered up or sucked in one way or another include: * Israeli Attack on U.S.S. Liberty - 1967 * Steve Bryent Israeli Spying Scandal - 1982 * Jonathan Pollard Arrested outside Israeli Embassy - 1985 * AIPAC infiltration scandal, President forced to resign - 1991 * Mossad bugging of Clinton and Monica - 1997 * Martin Indyk's Security Clearances 'temporarily' suspended - 2000

America's 'Iraqi Police' and the now impending Iraqi Elections
(August 27, 2004)
And it's clear that if it's a competiton between Negroponte and Allawi, against al-Sistani and al-Sadr, the Americans and their regime are in big trouble. Just how the U.S. occupation is going to attempt to either further delay the election or not-too-blantantly manipulate and control it now looms ahead -- just as soon as the American election is behind us all.


(August 26, 2004)


U.S. and Regime Bombing and Killing throughout Iraq
(August 26, 2004)
Chaos, confusion, death, and destruction -- that's the description of American occupied Iraq as the country virtually rebels and explodes. Even as Ayatollah al-Sistani heads back to Najaf protected by British occupation troops American occupation troops are ferociously attacking Najaf, Fallujah, Sadr City as never before and American armed and paid Iraqi mercenary troops are massacreing their own.

Daily Articles Summary - 25 August 2004
(August 25, 2004)
Daily Articles Summary - 25 August 2004 MER Articles Iran Iraq Israel

Sistani Returns and March on Najaf Looms
(August 25, 2004)
Now on this very day in history there is another Ayatollah in and at the heart of the Middle East at a crucial moment in time. The very term 'Ayatollah' was hardly known in the West before the Iranian revolution just 25 years ago now. But in the immediate days ahead it now appears Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is to have his and maybe modern on-its-knees Iraq's 'rendevous with history'. And then what this is really all about now is the future rather than the past, especially with Iraqi 'elections' supposed to take place just 5 months from now. What will the American Empire with its arsenal of planes, tanks, and shock troops now do to deter, deflect, or stop him? What will the U.S.-installed and protected Allawi regime in Baghdad now do to attempt to co-opt or twist him?

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani Returns to 'Save the Burning Holy City'
(August 25, 2004)
The Mahdi Army defeated the British Empire in Sudan in 1885. Now a Mahdi Army battles the American Empire in Iraq in 2004. Today the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani returns to Najaf to "Save the Burning Holy City".

IRAQ, IRAN and ISRAEL Stories -- 24 August 2004
(August 24, 2004)


Crusades II - Iraqi Cities Bombed and Tanked
(August 24, 2004)
Bush's views and ongoing rhetoric -- and then came top Pentagon General Boykin telling the world that 'my god is bigger than their god' -- may come to define this period in 'modern' history.

Imperial America
(August 23, 2004)
Provocative thinking and writing from one of Great Britain's most prolific, most outspoken, most humanistic, and most insightful 'activist' journalists writing this cover article in the current issue of the New Statesman. It's too hard and probably wrong in fact to agree that 'Bush may be the lesser evil'. But it is very important to understand how and why John Pilger is speaking out in this way.

Palestinian Struggle Fully Justified
(August 22, 2004)
Because of the huge propaganda war in which the U.S. and Israel also have overwhelming firepower at their disposal, what leading Professors like Charles Black and now Ted Honderich have to say is in fact of critical importance.

Weekend Reading: Iran, the U.S., and Israel
(August 21, 2004)
These four articles from the past few days, especially the first commentary by UPI Senior Analyst Martin Sieff, help put things in perspective and set the stage for what is now to come. Unpleasant and frightening weekend reading, we know...but necessary.

What the Americans have Really Done in and to Iraq
(August 20, 2004)
This is a brief but very important outline of what the Americans have really done in recent years in and to Iraq. All this has little to do with 'freedom' and 'democracy' -- those are the simplistic and deceptive front-words. What's really involved is an increasingly desperate and ruthless master plan to turn Iraq -- a country at the center of both the Arab and the Muslim worlds -- into an appendage of the American military, political, and economic machine trying to more totally control the Middle East region and continue to drain it of its wealth, resources, and heritage. It's the imperialism of old considerably reconstituted for the brave new world of worldwide television, the internet, and high-tech 'Star Wars' weaponry.

Iran Warns of Preemptive Strike Against U.S. and Israel
(August 19, 2004)
"We will consider any strike against our nuclear installations as an attack on Iran as a whole, and we will retaliate with all our strength. Where Israel is concerned, we have no doubt that it is an evil entity, and it will not be able to launch any military operation without an American green light. You cannot separate the two." Iranian Defense Minister

The World on Fire
(August 19, 2004)
Now in 2004 as a result of what the Bush/Cheney/Israeli regime insisted on doing the world is dangerously on fire -- passions, hatreds, and fears all now enraged and engaged in an escalating "clash of civilizations" full of crusading rhetoric essentially pitting the U.S., U.K., and Israel against Arab and Muslim countries and peoples everywhere.

U.S. Allawi Regime Should Go
(August 18, 2004)
here's a bottom line here and at a time of such major historic developments it should be said clearly. The American-installed, financed, armed, and protected Allawi regime has already totally disgraced and discredited itself. It cannot succeed in authoritatively and democratically governing Iraq. It should be ended immediately before it does even more historic harm to Iraq, to the Middle East, to the Arab and Muslims worlds, and to the whole fabric of international justice and order.

Al-Sadr and Allawi - The Struggle for the Middle East
(August 18, 2004)
Here then are two such voices speaking out, crying out, at this critical time. The first an American who was Director of The Islamic Center in Washington, the very venue in fact President Bush choose to visit soon after 9/11. The second is a Canadian who is President of the Canadian Islamic Congress. -MER

Sharon the 'Bulldozer', Sharon the 'Butcher'
(August 17, 2004)
These BBC and Guardian articles today look at how the Israelis are even now continuing to expand settlements in the occupied territories, as well as at the current situation in and around Gaza -- realities 'on the ground' that Ariel Sharon is more responsible for than any other single individual on any side of the barricades. MiddleEast.org

"They are cheating us, laughing at us" - MER FlashBack 7 Years
(August 17, 2004)
"In the end, so long as the U.S. continues to back Israeli occupation with ever greater amounts of money, guns, and political protection, little will change and the "peace process" will remain a grand deception breeding resistance, hatred, and yes, more terrorism."

U.S. Iraqi Troops Fire on Reporters
(August 16, 2004)
History is being made in these bitter bleeding days, in these very hours, and the world will have to live with the aftermath for some time to come. This report just published by the Daily Telegraph in the U.K. is the best so far to outline how the Americans are attempting to blind the world and mute the protests by threatening the few courageous journalists still in and able to report from Najaf. As for pictures of what is happening, cameras are now illegal and being confiscated by the Americans and their agents.

Iraq Exploding! The historic confrontation at the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf
(August 16, 2004)
Unless the Americans can find some way to get Muqtada Sadr and his forces out of the historic Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf without a firefight and without a massacre they themselves could become the victims of their own killing machine if the extraordinary rage and hatred in Iraq, Iran, and the Arab and Muslim worlds overall should erupt still further against them.

Americans Order Journalists, Cameras From Najaf
(August 15, 2004)
This is what police-states do; this is what dictators do; this is what the Israelis sometimes do; and now this is what the American 'democracy' does in the extraordinarily duplicitous name of 'freedom and democracy for Iraq.

Israel 'On The Eve of Destruction'?
(August 15, 2004)
His father long headed the National Religious Party. He himself has been the head of the world Zionist movement as well as the Speaker of the Knesset. And yet -- even as the Israelis appear to be victorious with the Palestinians everywhere surrounded, subjugated, dispossessed and controlled -- Avraham Burg dares to speak out loudly about how perverted Zionism has become and that all the militarism, racism, and arrogance could in reality have put Israel 'on the eve of destruction'.

Please tell friends and family about MER
(August 14, 2004)
Mid-East Realties (MER) commentary and analysis is exclusive, hard-hitting, and always directly to the point. The consistent incisiveness, expertise, and depth of coverage is not to be found anywhere else -- as these comments from readers around the world attest. Below is a summary with quick links to recent exclusive MER articles and FlashBacks. Please forward this summary complete to your friends and relatives encouraging them to also get MER just as you do. It's never been easier to subscribe to MER; and it's never been more timely and important to do so.

Occupied Iraq - Threats, resignations, killings, chaos all escalating
(August 13, 2004)
Reports from Iraq this morning indicate that Shia leader Muqtada al-Sadr may have been injured today while meeting with supporters, and what's to happen next has everyone on edge as rarely before. Other reports from Iraq are of a wave of protest resignations against the American occupation and puppet government, with increased threats against the U.S. and its regime now coming in public even from other Iraqi officials approved by the Americans.

Nader vs. Israel
(August 12, 2004)
"The days when the chief Israeli puppeteer comes to the United States and meets with the puppet in the White House and then proceeds to Capitol Hill, where he meets with hundreds of other puppets, should be replaced."

Najaf 2004
(August 12, 2004)
"From Iran's perspective, there is little question what happens in Najaf is its business. Any damage there cannot leave a single Iranian ruler the option of remaining neutral, regardless of whether they are among moderates or hard-liners. The Shiite religious heritage is a shared one between Iraq and Iran."

Hidden History of the "Peace Process"
(August 11, 2004)
"It's not inordinate Chinese money and influence in American politics the Congress should be investigating, it's how Israel manipulates American politics with the help of some key Americans (most of them Jewish), who are in fact, however distasteful it is to say it, 'dually loyal'."

Jewish Washington Neocons Responsible for War
(August 11, 2004)
As the Iraq war escalates and creates still more disgust and hatred around the world, it is also threatening to expand. And a month or two from now if the Bush/Cheney/neocon regime is lagging in the polls no telling what kinds of political or military 'surprises' might come from Washington sooner rather than later.

Stumbling, Bumbling 'Arabist' Ambassadors Play to the Cameras
(August 10, 2004)
After all these now wasted years, and after all this now-squandered money -- and even with all that has happened including 9/11, the Iraqi war, and the Palestinian Intifada -- the 'Arabist' Ambassadors in Washington are weaker and more incestuous, less influential and less credible, then when they started. Yet oh how they continue to pretend otherwise so tragically continuing to mislead so many well-meaning naive people who simply don't know better the real details of what has been and what is now the real situation in today's Washington.

Neocons All
(August 9, 2004)
He sure didn't write this way when he worked for the old gray Zionist lady the New York Times. With language like 'neo-con vampires' he sounds a bit this time like MER in its regular tell-it-like-it-really-is mode... Maybe for his next installment Mr. Ibrahim will have more to say ...about his old colleagues at the New York Times starting with Tom Friedman, et. al.

Both Israel and Saudis working to elect Bush/Cheney
(August 8, 2004)
Now of course neither is going to admit it in front of the cameras, and of course it's also politically confusing for many, but both the Israelis and the Saudis are working hard now to help the election of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld and the right-wing neocons.

U.S. and puppet regime boot Aljazeera from Iraq
(August 7, 2004)
Oh yes, the headline..."U.S. boots Aljazeera..." Let's not get confused by all the technical details and propaganda tricks. The regime in Baghdad was selected by the Americans and empowered by the Americans. It is financed by the Americans and the American military and CIA keep it in power. What it does is what the Americans want it to do. And the responsibility for what it does is American as well.

Target Pakistan
(August 7, 2004)
As tensions and fighting in Iraq and Palestine continue, and with new sanctions and attacks on Syria, Iran, and Lebanon quite publicly threatened, the situation in the greater Middle East could become far more tense and the 'crucial countries' of both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia could indeed 'fall' from the American grip setting off even more dangerous and unpredictable political and military explosions.

Target IRAN con't
(August 6, 2004)
"Exploiting the November US presidential elections and the European concerns, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon could order a strike at Iran's nuclear facilities, similar to the ones Israelis executed in 1981 against Iraq's nuclear weapons program", the diplomats were quoted by the London-based newspaper Al Hayat on Wednesday, August 4.

'Revolution' in Iraq; No U.N. or Muslim Troops To Help Americans
(August 5, 2004)
Indeed, the Americans and the Israrelis have now created their own joint vicious geopolitical stew in the Middle East; and they are very much in danger of gradually boiling away in it regardless of all the tough talk and military onslaughts.

Kerry, Israel, Jews, and the Middle East
(August 4, 2004)
John Kerry's Middle East policies have already been heavily mortgaged, if not downright sold, to those who have the greatest interest and power in controlling what the U.S. does in the crucial Middle East region and in determining where American arms, monies, and covert actions flow in the future -- powerful American Jews closely associated with Israel.

10 YEARS and 1 MILLION+ DEAD and COUNTING - MER FlashBack
(August 3, 2004)
"Here we are in the middle of the millennium year and we are responsible for genocide in Iraq. All of us that live in the silent democracies are responsible for sustained genocide in Iraq." Former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations Denis Haliday

'SECURITY' POLITICS - Para-military troops dressed to kill become props in political war
(August 3, 2004)
A large numbers of 'security forces' dressed to kill in paramilitary uniforms with big guns took to the streets in New York and Washington and are there to stay, say those in charge, 'as long as it takes'. Bush and his are in fact using all this fear, and all these images, as props in their own campaign to retain power.

America Vs America
(August 1, 2004)
"The Bush Administration cannot be trusted... George W. Bush and his administration have taken normal mendacity to a startling new level far beyond lies of convenience... They traffic in big lies, indulge in any number of symptomatic small lies, and ultimately, have come to embody dishonesty itself. They are a lie. And people, finally, have started catching on." Ron Reagan


(August 1, 2004)





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