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Four Color Politics

Mainly the Quotes of the Morning, with occasional Other Crap.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Quotes of the Morning: Waco Iraq-o

“The governor of Najaf province said Iraqi troops fought a day-long battle with up to 200 Sunni gunmen, including foreign fighters, holed up in orchards on the northern outskirts of the city, seat of Iraq's most powerful Shi'ite clerics.
Governor Asaad Abu Gilel told Reuters the authorities had uncovered a plot to kill some of the clerics on Monday, to coincide with the climax of Ashura.”
-Reuters, January 28, 2007

“200 Sunni gunmen and foreign fighters? Al Qaeda! They are trying to stir up a civil war between the Shiites and the Sunni! “

“Col. Ali Nomas, spokesman for the Najaf security forces, said the militant force could have numbered as many as 2,000, based on intercepts of radio communications between the fighters. He said more than 250 corpses had been recovered, but the number could not be independently confirmed.”
-Chicago Tribune, January 29, 2007

“Apparently this was a slightly larger fight than first reported. No big deal..”

“The leader of an Iraqi cult who claimed to be the Mahdi, a messiah-like figure in Islam, was killed in a battle on Sunday near Najaf with hundreds of his followers, Iraq's national security minister said on Monday.
Women and children who joined 600-700 of his ‘Soldiers of Heaven’ on the outskirts of the Shi'ite holy city may be among the casualties, Shirwan al-Waeli told Reuters. All those people not killed were in detention, many of them wounded.
But Sunday's battle involved a group of a different sort, a cult which Iraqi officials said included both Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims as well as foreigners.”
-Reuters, January 29, 2007

“A cult including both Sunni and Shiite Muslims awaiting the Imam Mahdi? Somehow I’m not seeing that. The Sunni do not believe in the coming of the Imam Mahdi, so their working with a fanatical Shiite group waiting for him would be.. unusual.. to say the least. Still, this is apparently just an odd cult group. Kind of like Waco, but in Iraq. The Iraqi military should be able to handle some obscure renegade militia.”

“Iraqi forces were surprised and nearly overwhelmed by the ferocity of an obscure renegade militia in a weekend battle near the holy city of Najaf and needed far more help from American forces than previously disclosed, American and Iraqi officials said Monday.
They said American ground troops — and not just air support as reported Sunday — were mobilized to help the Iraqi soldiers, who appeared to have dangerously underestimated the strength of the militia, which calls itself the Soldiers of Heaven and had amassed hundreds of heavily armed fighters.”
-New York Times, January 30, 2007

“Apparently not.. An obscure renegade militia just handed the Iraqi Army it’s ass. It sure is a good thing that American troops and air support were available.”

“The battle also brought into focus the reality that some of the power struggles in Iraq are among Shiites, not just between Shiites and Sunnis. The Soldiers of Heaven is considered to be at least partly or wholly run by Shiites.”
-New York Times, January 30, 2007

“Oh.. and the ‘Sunni’ thing reported back on the 28th.. Not so much. Nope, this was at least primarily a Shiite cult getting ready to attack Shiite pilgrims in one of the holiest Shiite cities during a religious holiday. Don’t you love having our troops trapped in the middle of a civil war?”

“American Apache attack helicopters and F-16s, as well as British fighter jets, flew low over the farms where the enemy had set up its encampments and attacked, dropping 500-pound bombs on the encampments. The Iraqi forces were still unable to advance, and they called in support from both an elite Iraqi unit known as the Scorpion Brigade, which is based to the north in Hilla, and from American ground troops.”
-New York Times, January 30, 2007

“It ended the old-fashioned way though.. We dropped 550-pound bombs on a compound filled with women and children. All’s well that ends well.”

“The US military were largely quiet about the operation, during which two American soldiers lost their lives when a helicopter was brought down. The US handed responsibility for security in Najaf province to Iraqi forces last month.”
-The Guardian (UK), January 30, 2007

“Yep.. As the Iraqi forces stand up we will stand down. We’ll be out of Iraq in no time. Nothing to see here. ”


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