Strategic silence (Updated)
(1) Dateline Saturday May 3: An American convoy supported by aircraft and Iraqi forces attempted to force its way into Shaala City at 3:00 in the morning today, on orders of the Maliki government, and this led to renewed fighting. Smoke rose as a result of airstrikes on the City using weapons prohibited internationally, which led to the martyrdom of some citizens...
(2) Dateline Saturday May 3: Members and leaders of tribes in Sadr City issued a statement in reply to the statements of the head of the Maliki government, and the statement, of which AlKufa News obtained a copy, said: "First we greet the members and leaders of the genuine Iraqi tribes of the South and Center, and of the Mid-Euphrates, and of the Western sector, and all of the zealous tribes : We the leaders of the fighting [mujaahid: one dictionary translation is "freedom-fighters"] tribes of Sadr City...
(3) Dateline Friday May 2: Friday prayers at the Great Kufa Mosque led by Imam Sheikh Asad al-Nasari: [Prayers to Mohammed] ...for the victory of the oppressed throughout the whole world...for the demand for the acceleration of the judgment for the execution of Ali Hasan al-Majid and the gang that was with him...for the demand for the prompt trial of the accused person Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for what he has undertaken by way of crimes against humanity...
That's the news: Continued American bombing of residential areas with prohibited weapons; solidarity with nationalist tribes elsewhere in Iraq in the fight against oppression; "the accused person Maliki" lined up with the criminals of the prior regime on the path leading from major crimes to eventual execution. This is the current news for a very large part of the Iraqi population.
I could quote more, you could discuss whether these weapons are really "prohibited internationally" and in what sense; what is he depth of the solidarity with tribes elsewhere; the sectarian implications of the prayers against accused Sadaamists; and so on. Will this be fitna or a national uprising? And so on. But what's the use? The Americans along with Maliki have driven a stake through the heart of peaceful national reconciliation, and the policy-groupies who are lining up to advise the incoming Democratic administration are saying absolutely nothing about it. That's the only point worth making.
Update: Here's part of the the AFP report on the US rocket attack on (a shack just outside the) AlSadr Hospital in Sadr City earlier this morning (Saturday May 3):
"I can confirm that we conducted a strike in Sadr City this morning," a told AFP. "The targets were known criminal elements. is currently ongoing."
However, witnesses and an AFP reporter at the scene said the main Al-Sadr hospital had been badly damaged and a fleet of ambulances were destroyed.
Just outside the hospital, a shack which appeared to be the target was reduced to a pile of rubble.
The military said it destroyed a "criminal element command and control centre" at approximately 10 am (0700 GMT).
"Intelligence reports indicate the command and control centre was used by criminal elements to plan and coordinate attacks against Iraqi security and coalition forces and innocent Iraqi citizens."
Hospital staff said at least 20 people wounded in the air raid were taken to the same hospital which had its glass windows shattered, and medical and electrical equipment damaged.
Doctors and hospital staff were livid they had been hit.
"They (the Americans) will say it was a weapons cache (they hit)," said the head of Baghdad's health department, Dr Ali Bistan. "But, in fact they want to destroy the infrastructure of the country."He charged that the attack was aimed at preventing doctors and medicines reaching the hospital which is located inside an area of increased clashes between American troops and militiamen.
And in America, more silence. The silent democracy.