Saturday, January 20, 2007

Al-Hayat: US provocations could foreshadow military confrontation with the Sadrists

The US military said the following in a statement yesterday: "In an Iraqi-led operation, special Iraqi army forces captured a high-level, illegal armed group leader during operations with coalition advisers." The person in question was Abdul-Hadi al-Darraji, described by the Sadrists as a media spokesman for their movement.

Al-Hayat notes the peculiar fact that although this was an Iraqi-led operation, the announcement was by the American forces. The newspaper explains:
The opinion of observers is that the announcement by the American forces, affirming the execution of this by Iraqi forces, is an attempt to present the Maliki administration with new provocations [or challenges]...[given the fact that] the government is still concerned about its lack of control over part of the Iraqi army which takes its orders directly from the Americans, and carries out special operations, most notably raids on Shiite mosques or the arrest and killing of politicians and religious figures. And Shiite politicians call this the "dirty unit".
There are two issues here: One is whether or not the people being targeted are persons genuinely involved in violence, or whether on the contrary they are Sadr-organization civilian officials whose targeting is designed to draw the entire Sadr organization into a military confrontation. Sadrists said al-Darraji is a media-relations person and isn't even in the Mahdi army. On this issue, the Al-Hayat reporter reminds readers of the killing late last month by American forces of Sahib al-Amari (or Aamiri, if you're doing a search), a well-known member of the Sadrist current in that city [active in charitable work and by all accounts the least likely person imaginable to accuse of violence], in spite of the fact that supposedly the security responsibilities there had been conveyed to the Iraqis. [On the important and under-reported story of Sahib al-Aamiri, please see the attached comment by MarkfromIreland.]

The second issue is the one raised by the above remarks by the Al-Hayat reporter. If these are units of the Iraqi army that answer directly to the American forces, and the targets are political and provocative rather than bona fide law-enforcement, then this is not a case of Bush-Maliki cooperation in the eradication of violence. Rather these events would appear to be forerunners of an all-out military attack by the Americans against the largest popular movement in the country, and one that supports the Prime Minister in parliament. And in that case the model isn't any war on violent extremism or whatever the term is supposed to be, but rather something much more dangerous for everyone concerned.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The kidnapping victim's name is ‘Abd al-Hádí al-Darrájí (with a dál) , is it not?

9:23 AM  
Blogger badger said...

It is. Thank you. corrected

9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Badger,

i just read an article from abdelbari antwan, it about egypt's role in the middle east and in Iraq and a new rift between it and the US. My translating abilities aren't that good and I was hoping you could translate it becasue I think it adds a new dimension to the change in US policy in the Middle East as a result of the Iraq war, if you find it interesting I would be very grateful for your translation :

Mubarak and America's Rage

11:04 AM  
Blogger markfromireland said...

URL [Arabic] URL [English] Are the two links for that story as it broke on Aswat al Iraq and which were posted by me as the story broke.

Dancewater with whom I cooperate regularly and have done for a long time now is a peace prize winner and one of the editors on Today in Iraq used those, and my posting on his death that used far lenghtier report [Arabic] as the basis of her posting on Daily Kos.

I knew him, not well, but enough to find him a very impressive chap, he was very efficient and completely dedicated to charitable work. I said as much in the comments to my posting on his killing at my site.

You raise an interesting and vital point in your last paragraph. If you look at the pattern of killings, by no means just of Sadrists, anyone prominent is targetted. At present that's seems to be particularly true of those Sadrists whose work to alleviate the poverty and misery rampant in American occupied Iraq coupled with their adamant opposition to the occupation is the source of their political legitimacy. I rather doubt that the purpose of his killing is unclear to any Iraqi. It's that American-led occupation habit of "sending messages" to use political consultant jargon for a moment,

"Become prominent in anyway in opposing us as we rape and loot your homeland and you'll be next. Then we'll cause further grief to your family as we lie about you."

12:40 PM  
Blogger JHM said...

Was the Saheb al-Amiri killing really all that under-reported? It was easy to find a Reuters story on it just now, which isn't exactly what I read at the time, but I certainly did read some other account that included the man going up on the roof and then shots were heard and it all seemed as fishy as could be.

The Reuters version goes

Caldwell said Amiri resisted arrest, fled to the rooftop and was shot dead by a U.S. soldier who saw him pointing an assault rifle at Iraqi soldiers. But a son of Amiri, aged about 13, said his father was unarmed when he was killed.

"My dad went to the roof and tried to escape over the wall to the neighbours. He didn't have time to take his gun out and he ran upstairs unarmed. They came in and ran upstairs after him and we heard four shots," Ahmed Amiri told Reuters.

"When they left we went upstairs and saw he had three bullet wounds in the chest and one in the head."

1:32 PM  
Blogger markfromireland said...

Technical point:

I know you read Aswat Al Iraq and use them as a source. You might find it handy to keep a note of the url to reports like that one if you see a story on assasinations and/or political machinations. They break a lot of news and a lot of other news bodies then build on their work. Which they welcome.

Because they're known to be fiercely independent of all factions - they often get details/quotes that others won't, they're probably unique in being trusted by everyone.

Keeping track of urls and reports as I well know can be a bit of sod. So long as you don't mind text only which given the nature of what you report is likely to be case then treepad's freeby version is the best solution I've found for windows users:

TreePad Lite (freeware) and TreePad Asia (freeware
I've used it for years (including running it on a floppy disk.) Just to store URLs and/or text and or a short summary on topics and people reports of whom I keep an eye out for.

Copy/Paste/Save and you're done.

You and your readers might find it useful.

These days I also use a paid version but that's because I need to store graphics such as photos, blast diagrams, and so on as well as text and share that data with people who don't want or need to learn how to use SQL.

It might be handy for you to have as you build up a collection of data to which you want to cross-refer easily.

1:38 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Mark, thanks.

anonymous, That looks interesting. I'm going to try and summarize it and translate parts. Can you tell me something about that site? It's a Libyan newspaper? It displays a little funny in my browser, but I can read it...Is the original by Abdulbari Atwan something he originally wrote for this paper?

2:00 PM  
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