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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] This is an automated compilation of submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to email@example.com. Please include a full reference to the source of the article. Today's Topics: 1. Juan Cole on Sadr (Mike Lewis) 2. Freedom Fires /Naomi Klein (Hassan) 3. FPIF News | Rise of Machines | Limited vs Civil War | Iraq vs Vietnam (IRC Communications) --__--__-- Message: 1 From: Mike Lewis <mhl24@DELETETHIScam.ac.uk> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Juan Cole on Sadr Date: 07 Apr 2004 11:42:37 +0100 Juan Cole - The United States and Shi=91ite Religious Factions in Post-Ba=91thist Iraq http://www.mideasti.org/pdfs/mejcole5704.pdf This is not really a news report, and is too long to be reproduced in full, but this prescient article by Juan Cole (Professor of History at the University of Michigan) from the Middle East Journal (Autumn 2003) focusses on the Sadr II movement, and gives valuable historical and post-Saddam background on Sadr and the Mahdi militia. I know embarrasingly little about Iraqi politics, religion or history, but these seem to be some important points from his article: - Cole suggests that "Their [the Sadr Movement's] political influence is potentially much greater than their numbers" - He suggests that they are the most weighty of all the non-secular Shi'ite groupings - The Sadr Movement is unusually exclusivist compared to other Shi'ite groups, and committed to a puritanical Khomeinist Islamic republic under the rule of the clerical jurisprudent, in contrast to the quietism and greater political pluralism of (ostensibly more important) Najaf clerics like al-Sistani. Sadrists also insist that Iraq's Shi'ites be ruled by an Iraqi (a blow against Iranian-born Sistani). - Cole argues that their support base is young and poor, a Shi'ite component radicalised by repression and sanctions far more than the US realised; and that it grew during summer 2003 when Sadrist militias and mobilisers filled the security and welfare gap left after the invasion. They are particularly strong in East Baghdad (in Sadr City, obviously!), Kufa, Samarra', and to some extent in Basra, Najaf and Karbala. - Given present circumstances, Cole's conclusion is not hopeful: "If the Defense Department scenario comes to fruition, and Iraq holds relatively free and fair elections in late 2004 or early 2005, the Sadr Movement=92s political power may be diluted in a new Iraqi parliament that they cannot hope to dominate. Assuming they agree to field candidates, they could only hope to play in it the sort of role that the Lebanese Hizbullah does in the Lebanese parliament, where the radical party is often forced to cooperate with the Maronite Christians and other forces. If, on the other hand, Iraq begins to collapse into insecurity and angry urban crowds seek an early exit of Coalition forces, the Sadr Movement networks and militias will stand them in good stead in asserting power in East Baghdad and the south." --__--__-- Message: 2 Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2004 09:38:00 -0700 (PDT) From: Hassan <hasseini@DELETETHISyahoo.com> Subject: Freedom Fires /Naomi Klein To: CASI newsclippings <email@example.com> http://www.nologo.org/ Freedom Fires by Naomi Klein > April 5 2004 I heard the sound of freedom in Baghdad=92s Firdos Square, the famous plaza where the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled one year ago. It sounds like machine gun fire. On Sunday, Iraqi soldiers, trained and controlled by Coalition forces, opened fire on demonstrators here, forcing the emergency evacuation of the nearby Sheraton and Palestine hotels. As demonstrators returned to their homes in the poor neighbourhood of Sadr City, the U.S. army followed with tanks, helicopters, and planes, firing on at random on homes, stores, streets, even ambulances. According to local hospitals, forty seven people were killed and many more injured. In Najaf, the day was also bloody: 20 demonstrators dead, more than 150 injured. In Sadr City Yesterday, funeral marches passed by U.S. military tanks and the hospitals were overflowing the injured: Ali Hussein, a sixteen year old with a bullet in his spine fired from a helicopter; Gailan Ibrahim, a 29 year old who was shot in the back by a U.S. plane; Ali Faris, a 14-year-old whose bladder was removed after a U.S. bullet sliced through the door of his family home. =93The same thing happened to two other children in the neighbourhood,=94 his grandfather told us. Outside kids danced on a burned out American Humvee and shouted the lesson that they had learned the night before: =93George Bush is Saddam Hussein. George Bush is terrorist!=94 By afternoon, clashes had resumed. Make no mistake: this is not the =93civil war=94 that Washington has been predicting will break out between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. Rather, it is a war provoked by the U.S. occupation authority and waged by its forces against the growing number of Shiites who support Moqtada al-Sadr. Al-Sadr is the younger, more radical rival of the Grand Ayatolla Ali al-Sistani, portrayed by his adoring supporters as a kind of cross between Ayatollah Khomeini and Che Guevara. He blames the U.S. for attacks on civilians, compares U.S. occupation chief Paul Bremer to Saddam Hussein, aligns himself with Hamas and Hezbollah and has called for a Jihad against the controversial interim constitution. His Iraq might look a lot like Iran. And it=92s a message with a market. With al-Sistani concentrating on lobbying the United Nations rather than on confronting the U.S.-led occupation in the streets, many Shiites are growing restless, and are turning to the more militant tactics preached by al-Sadr. Some have joined the Mahadi, Moqtada=92s black-clad army, which claims hundreds of thousands of members. At first, Bremer responded to al-Sadr=92s growing strength by ignoring him; now he is attempting to provoke him into all out battle. The trouble began when Bremer closed down al-Sadr=92s newspaper last week, sparking a wave of peaceful demonstrations. On Saturday, Bremer raised the stakes further by sending coalition forces to surround al-Sadr=92s house near Najaf and arrest his communications officer. Predictably, the arrest sparked immediate demonstrations in Baghdad, which the Iraqi army responded to by opening fire and allegedly killing three people. It was these deaths that provoked yesterday=92s bloody demonstrations. At the end of the day on Sunday, al-Sadr issued a statement calling on his supporters to stop staging demonstrations =93because your enemy prefers terrorism and detests that way of expressing opinion=94 and instead urged them to employ unnamed =93other ways=94 to resist the occupation a statement many have interpreted as a call to arms. On the surface, this chain of events is mystifying. With the so-called Sunni triangle in flames after the gruesome Faluja attacks, why is Bremer pushing the comparatively calm Shiite south into battle? Here=92s one possible answer: Washington has given up on its plans to hand over power to an interim Iraqi government on June 30, and it is now creating the chaos it needs to declare the handover impossible. A continued occupation will be bad news for George Bush on the campaign trail, but not as bad as if the handover happens and the country erupts, an increasingly likely scenario given the widespread rejection of the legitimacy of the interim constitution and the U.S. appointed Governing Council. It=92s a plan that might make sense in meetings in Washington, but here in Baghdad it looks like pure madness. By sending the new Iraqi army to fire on the people they are supposed to be protecting, Bremer has destroyed what slim hope they had of gaining credibility with an already highly mistrustful population. On Sunday, before storming the unarmed demonstrators, the soldiers could be seen pulling on ski masks, so they wouldn=92t be recognized in their neighbourhoods later. And the Coalition Provisional Authority, which has just hired a London advertising firm to convince Iraqis that it is committed to democracy, is increasingly being compared on the streets to Saddam Hussein, who also didn=92t much like peaceful demonstrations, or critical newspapers. In an interview on Monday, Iraq=92s Minister of Communication, Haider Al-Abadi blasted the act that started the current wave of violence: the closing of al-Sadr=92s newspaper, Al-Hawzah. =93It was completely wrong,=94 he told me. =93Is this how we are going to run the country in the future sending soldiers to shut down newspapers?=94 Al-Ababi, who is supposedly in charge of media in Iraq, says he was not even informed of the plan to close Al-Hawza until the locks were on the door, adding that Sadr=92s newspaper did nothing more than speculate that the U.S. is behind some of the terrorist attacks here. =93But these are rumours in the whole country, I=92m hearing them everywhere.=94 Meanwhile, the man at the center of it all -- Moqtada al-Sadr is having his hero status amplified by the hour. On Sunday, all of these explosive forces came together when thousands of demonstrators filled Firdos Square. On one side of the plaza, a couple of kids climbed to the top of a building and took a knife to a billboard advertising Iraq=92s new army. On the other side, U.S. forces pointed tanks at the crowd while a loudspeaker told them that =93demonstrations are an important part of democracy but blocking traffic will not be permitted.=94 At the front of the square was the new statue that the Americans put in place of the toppled one of Saddam Hussein. The faceless figures of the new statue are supposed to represent the liberation of the Iraqi people. Today they are plastered with photographs of Moqtada al-Sadr. __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Small Business $15K Web Design Giveaway http://promotions.yahoo.com/design_giveaway/ --__--__-- Message: 3 From: "IRC Communications" <communications@DELETETHISirc-online.org> Organization: Interhemispheric Resource Center To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com> Subject: FPIF News | Rise of Machines | Limited vs Civil War | Iraq vs Vietnam Date: Wed, 7 Apr 2004 16:07:37 -0600 [ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ What=92s New at FPIF "Working to make the U.S. a more responsible global leader and partner" http://www.fpif.org/ April 7, 2004 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Introducing three new commentaries from Foreign Policy In Focus Rise of the Machines By Conn Hallinan The "rise of the machines" is at the heart of the Bush administration=92s recent military budget. Sandwiched into outlays for aircraft, artillery, and conventional weapons, are monies for unmanned combat aircraft, robot tanks, submarines, and a supersonic bomber capable of delivering six tons of bombs and missiles to anyplace on the globe in two hours. Machines that think and kill are expensive, and very few companies have the wherewithal to make them on the scale needed for the U.S. to continue its imperial reach. The synergy between the massive companies that benefit from empire, and their ability to fill the election coffers of those who dream of a world more akin to the 19th than the 21st century, is a powerful one. Add to that a military beset by re-enlistment difficulties, and the circle comes complete: war that is costly but, for our side, largely bloodless=AD-= a virtual war. Conn Hallinan <firstname.lastname@example.org> is an analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus (www.fpif.org) and a Provost at UC Santa Cruz. See new FPIF commentary online at: http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0404machines.html With printer friendly PDF version at: http://www.fpif.org/pdf/gac/0404machines.pdf Limited War Now Versus Civil War Later? By Jim Lobe With the Iraqi city of Fallujah under a U.S. Marine enforced lockdown, other U.S. military forces in Iraq opened a new front this week to quash an apparent uprising by a Shiite militia in Baghdad and the south, in what some experts warn could be a major turning point in the year-old occupation. U.S. officials appear to believe that the two shows of force--coming in the wake of some of the worst U.S. losses since the official end of major hostilities in Iraq 11 months ago--will remind both rebellious Sunnis and increasingly impatient Shiites that Washington remains very much in charge of the ongoing "transition" process. But some experts believe that both actions could well trigger even greater resistance in the Sunni heartland, and, more dangerously, among the Shiite community, which, with roughly 60% of Iraq=92s total population, could crea= te overwhelming problems for an increasingly beleaguered occupying force. Independent analysts, such as Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, have long warned that active opposition by the Shiite population would doom the occupation and make Iraq ungovernable. Jim Lobe <email@example.com> is a political analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus (online at www.fpif.org). He also writes regularly for Inter Press Service. See new FPIF commentary online at: http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0404sadr.html With printer friendly PDF version at: http://www.fpif.org/pdf/gac/0404sadr.pdf The Psychology of War: Iraq and Vietnam By Colonel Daniel Smith, USA (Ret.) President Bush effectively declared the war in Iraq to be "over" last May, but the photos told a different story, one the administration has tried to suppress in the consciousness of the U.S. public. Emblazoned on the front pages of the April 7 editions of The New York Times and The Washington Post, the photos showed U.S. soldiers carrying body bags of comrades killed in the latest upsurge in violence in Iraq. Two days earlier, in a Washington, DC speech, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) had articulated the question contained in the sad, silent images in the pictures: will Iraq be George Bush=92s Vietnam? Dan Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org> is a military affairs analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus (online at www.fpif.org), a retired U.S. army colonel and a senior fellow on Military Affairs at the Friends Committee on National Legislation. See new FPIF commentary online at: http://www.fpif.org/commentary/2004/0404iraq-vietnam.html With printer friendly PDF version at: http://www.fpif.org/pdf/gac/0404iraq-vietnam.pdf ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Distributed by FPIF:"A Think Tank Without Walls," a joint program of Interhemispheric Resource Center (IRC) and Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). For more information, visit www.fpif.org. If you would like to add a name to the "What=92s New At FPIF?" list, please email: email@example.com, giving your area of interest. Also see our Progressive Response newsletter at: http://www.fpif.org/progresp/index.html ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Interhemispheric Resource Center(IRC) http://www.irc-online.org/ Siri D. Khalsa Outreach Coordinator Email: firstname.lastname@example.org End of casi-news Digest _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk