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Puppet Regime Yes
Puppet Troops No
Rebel Cleric Today Declares 'Revolution' in Iraq

"This is a revolution against the occupation force until
we get independence and democracy... If they
want it to be war, let it be!"
Iraqi spokesman for Moqtada Sadr

Mid-East Realities - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - 5 August 2004:

The U.S. occupation of Iraq, and the war that is spreading throughout the Middle East and Muslim worlds in fact, is draining the Americans of far more than money, resources, and credibility. Military manpower itself is reaching such a critical point that a limited selective draft may lie ahead soon after the election. This is especially the case if the neocon plans to risk taking on Iran and North Korea -- and possibly Pakistan and Saudi Arabia as well if developments in the region cause any serious 'backlashes' -- proceed as now planned.

This is the overall still deteriorating geopolitical situation which has caused the major American behind-the-scenes big push to get more troops to come fight on their side one way or another.

But even in this effort to get help this late in the day the Americans are failing badly; and soon the official 1000-dead U.S. troops plateau will be reached.

The 'U.N. Iraq Force' Kofi Annan has been trying hard to assemble, on behalf of Washington of course, is not 'stalled'; it is to put it more candidly simply being refused by the rest of the world.

And the 'Muslim Force' the Americans have also pushed and cajoled hard to get on their side is not likely to be either. The Saudi regime wants very much to help Washington, and in fact to do what it can to assure a Bush win in November. But the figleafs offered by the Americans are not sufficient; and the strong-arm pressure-tactics behind-the-scenes are creating a backlash in themselves.

The Americans will keep right on trying, just as they did to bring about their puppet regimes in Baghdad and Kabul. But the likelihood of success is fading by the day and after the November election some basic decisions are going to have to be made whether to keep throwing more men and money into the open sewer of discredited policies and still swirling hatreds.

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.

U.N. Says Iraq Force Is Stalled

Washington Post, August 5, 2004, page A14: UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 4 -- U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that efforts to assemble an international peacekeeping force to protect a future U.N. mission in Iraq have stalled, requiring U.S.-led forces to provide security for the foreseeable future.

The Bush administration has promoted the idea of a U.N. protection force as a way of broadening international support for the struggling Iraqi political transition, particularly among countries that are reluctant to serve alongside American troops in Iraq. But senior U.N. officials say the initiative is on the verge of collapse as Iraqi insurgents and militants have stepped up attacks against citizens from countries considering participation, according to senior U.N. officials.

Annan said months of negotiations with more than a half-dozen potential contributors to the U.N. force -- which would be distinct from the U.S.-led multinational army but serve under the overall command of a U.S. general -- have not produced any "firm offers." Pakistan, Ukraine, Nepal, Georgia and other countries that were asked to commit more than 3,000 troops needed to protect the United Nations have engaged Annan in protracted, inconclusive discussions, officials said.

"We haven't had much success attracting governments to sign up for the dedicated force to protect the U.N. personnel in Iraq and our property," Annan told reporters Wednesday. "For practical measures, we have no other choice but to rely on the multinational force, and this is the way we are going."

Pakistani officials maintain that although they have not rejected Annan's request for troops, they have no immediate plans to go to Iraq. "Other countries are withdrawing troops so how can we send them?" Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a Pakistani spokesman, said to reporters in Lahore on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Murari Raj Sharma, Nepal's ambassador to the United Nations, said: "Our citizens in Iraq would be potential targets for abductions or hostage-taking. That is one of the considerations."

The setback for the United Nations comes as a Saudi Arabian proposal to send a separate Islamic peacekeeping force to Iraq received a cool response from Muslim governments that were approached to participate in it. The Saudis envision the deployment of thousands of Islamic troops, serving under a U.N. mandate, to help stabilize Iraq and potentially replace the U.S.-led force there. Annan said today that the initiative also calls for providing security for U.N. personnel.

But several countries that have been asked to serve in the force -- including Pakistan, Egypt and Malaysia -- said this week it is too dangerous to send troops. "It is better for us to wait for a while and to see how the situation is," Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said that the Saudi government "may wish to continue exploring this. We'll see how that develops. The United States has certainly been interested, and we'll keep talking to other countries about it."

Despite his concerns over security, Annan assured the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, and Britain's U.N. envoy, Emyr Jones Parry, in a closed-door meeting that he would send his special envoy, Asharf Qazi of Pakistan, and a small team to Baghdad before Iraq convenes a national conference Aug. 15 to decide on its political future. But he said he would have to "monitor" the security situation before deciding "whether we send in large numbers of staff or not."

Rebel Cleric Declares 'Revolution' in Iraq
Moqtada Sadr's Militia Attacks U.S.-Led Forces,
Shoots Down Marine Corps Helicopter

Washington Post - August 5, 2004: BAGHDAD, Aug. 5 -- Rebel cleric Moqtada Sadr declared a "revolution" against U.S.-led security forces in Iraq on Thursday after a fragile month-long truce in the holy city of Najaf ended with clashes that brought down a U.S. helicopter.

Sadr's Mahdi Army militia claimed control of four southern communities, including Basra, Iraq's second largest city. Iraqi officials denied the claim. There was no independent confirmation.

Sadr's call for an uprising is his first significant test of Iraq's new interim government since it took office on June 28 and signals the end to the delicate peace that had settled over Iraq's long-oppressed Shiite majority in the south.

"This is a revolution against the occupation force until we get independence and democracy," Sadr's spokesman, Ahmed Shaybani said in a telephone interview.

The U.S. military and Iraqi police said the fighting began when suspected members of the Mahdi Army attacked a police station overnight.

"If they want it to be war, let it be," said Ghalib Hashim Jazaeri, Najaf's police chief. "We have enough men and equipment to defeat them."

Jazaeri turned to talk to other police through his communications radio. "We are inside the city," he said. "We are chasing them. They left, escaped." The radio crackled. "If you want support in your position call the guys. Let them send you vehicles."

Each side blamed the other for breaking a truce negotiated at the end of June after a two-month uprising in April and May that left hundreds dead.

Mahdi Army fighters could be seen in the streets of Najaf shooting off grenades and setting up roadblocks with mortar tubes and tires.

Shaybani denied that the Sadr followers had started the fight.

He accused the Iraqi police, National Guard and U.S. forces of conspiring to break the truce, which restricted U.S. coalition forces from entering parts of the city, including near the sacred sites.

Shaybani said the coalition forces surrounded the city around 2 p.m. local time Thursday. "We knew they wanted to invade it," he said. "We had and have to defend the holy city. We didn't want to violate the truce, and we are still committed to it. But they don't respect the word they gave. They want it to be war."

One U.S. soldier was killed and five were wounded in the fighting in Najaf. The Iraqi government said eight fighters were killed and 22 injured. Hussein Ali, a doctor at the Najaf Hospital, said four Iraqi security forces and six civilians were killed in the clashes, which wounded four Iraqi police and National Guard members and 18 civilians.

As a large plume of black smoke rose from the city, a black U.S. helicopter tilted to the side and chugged slowly to the ground at an angle before it hit with a loud boom. The U.S. military said two wounded crew members were evacuated.

In Basra, the British military said it fought a gun battle with the Sadr militia after being attacked by small arms fire. A military spokeswoman said two militants were killed.

Meanwhile in Baghdad, Iraq's Interior Minister Falah Naqib pledged to find Sadr and arrest him.

"We will not negotiate," he said at news conference. "We will fight these militias. We have power to stop these people, and we'll kick them out of the country."

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Source: http://www.middleeast.org/articles/2004/8/1043.htm