As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cease-Fire Ceased

Sorry to write a post that includes the words "Obama" or "Clinton" only in passing.

Thought you should know that the Mahdi Army cease-fire is over and we are back to facing a full resistance on multiple fronts in Iraq.

You know, maybe that's something you should look into.

The Mahdi Army's seven-month-long cease-fire appears to have come undone.

Rockets fired from the capital's Shiite district of Sadr City slammed into the Green Zone Tuesday, the second time in three days, and firefights erupted around Baghdad pitting government and US forces against the militia allied to the influential Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

At the same time, the oil-export city of Basra became a battleground Tuesday as Iraqi forces, backed by US air power, launched a major crackdown on the Mahdi Army elements. British and US forces were guarding the border with Iran to intercept incoming weapons or fighters, according to a senior security official in Basra [...]

"The cease-fire is over; we have been told to fight the Americans," said one Mahdi Army militiaman, who was reached by telephone in Sadr City. This same man, when interviewed in January, had stated that he was abiding by the cease-fire and that he was keeping busy running his cellular phone store.

There is no question that the Sadrist cease-fire has contributed to, if not become the sole cause, of the so-called "security gains" in Iraq. Its unraveling will absolutely raise the levels of violence in Iraq.

And nobody seems to care. Certainly not in the barbecue-stained media. Not even in the blogosphere, for the most part. Hundreds if not thousands of people are going to die in a very short period of time if the Sadrist campaign of "civil disobedience" becomes a civil war. You would think SOMEONE would manage to raise a peep about that.

I mean, I know that John W. McCain thinks we're succeeding in Iraq, and "I don't care what anybody says." And certainly the media has been seduced into this notion as well, neglecting to even cover it on days when the official US casualties aren't a round number. But you'd think SOMEBODY would worry about this. Especially because it's about to be used as a pretext to attack Iran, as if they're the only ones to blame for this latest unrest:

After rockets hit the Green Zone Sunday, US commander in Iraq Gen. David Petraeus said the weapons had been provided by Iran.

On Tuesday, Rear Adm. Greg Smith, spokesman for US-led multinational forces in Iraq, blamed the elite Quds units of Iran's Revolutionary Guards for supplying the 22 107-mm and 122-mm rockets that hit the heavily fortified area of Baghdad that is home to the US Embassy.

"We believe the violence is being instigated by members of special groups that are beholden to the Iranian Quds Force and not Sadr.... Although we are concerned, we know that very few Iraqis want a return to the violence they experienced before the surge," he says.

Admiral Smith says US and Iraqi forces were facing two distinct enemies in Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and the Iranian-trained and supplied special groups. But he adds, "AQI is still Iraq's No. 1 enemy."

I guess Admiral Smith didn't get the McCain memo. But it's absurd to suggest that the Mahdi Army is a proxy for Iran when the central government rolled out the welcome mat for Ahmadinejad and is made up of a bunch of Iranian exiles.

Siun at FDL has much more. A sampling:

With upcoming provincial elections likely to show serious losses for both Maliki’s Dahwa party and Hakim’s SIIC and growing support for Mahdi associated representatives, it’s not surprising that Cheney and our occupation allies were deep in talks last week – nor is it surprising that we now see a dramatic push by green zone forces on Basra where Sadrist forces had been gaining power where Hakim's SIIC used to have considerable power.

With Maliki personally overseeing a green zone force of 15,000 or more, supported by air strikes (US or British is not known), a major attack has been launched in Basra and the results so far are chaos, growing civilian casualties, and curfews have now been imposed on six provinces.

Shia militias and national forces are converging on Basra, the country's second-largest city, perhaps to dismantle the Sadrist forces and give Cheney's friend al-Hakim the ability to win provincial elections. Rockets are hitting the Green Zone every day. Sadr City is surrounded. The US is going to use massive air power to try and keep a semblance of control on the country but it's not entirely likely to work.

You'd think that'd be in the news, or something...

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