Thursday, January 11, 2007

The coming cataclysm in Sadr City.


Sadr City has been under on and off attack for some time. The last time I wrote about this was back in November, when daily bombardment and intense warfare was resulting in consistently high civilian casualties. On tonight's BBC, the bastard who they have as their 'defense' correspondent actually said that "if the Americans want to stop the death squads, they're going to have to go for all out war on Sadr City", and he went on to describe some likely consequences, hinting at the predictably massive casualties without being so tasteless as to mention them. Far be it from to exonerate the Mahdi Army, but they are not the "death squads" in Iraq today. The sectarian politics that they have been caught up in has seen them reportedly engaging in some horrible attacks, but the main death squads in Iraq are those integrated into the Ministry of Interior, that is the Special Police Commandos (co-founded by the recently promoted head of the US army, General Petraeus), and the Badr Brigades, who are allies of the United States occupation.

War is being threatened against the Sadrists because they won't integrate into the occupation, and won't accept the legitimacy of US troops in their areas of strength. They are, that is, resisting - and you aren't allowed to resist the empire. Of course, the leader of the Badr Brigades' "political wing" (to use an old cliche from Northern Irish politics), the SCIRI, has applauded the "surge", urged the authorities to "strike with an iron fist" and hypocritically demanded that Sadr disarm.

So, the news from Iraqi sources is that barricades have been suddenly set up by the US around Sadr City. Recent raids have been stepped up, and firefights are taking place daily, with scores of deaths. A recent air strike on a house in Sadr City killed four civilians. Some military experts are egging the Bush administration on: "If our troops do not enter Sadr City, they belittle the notion of a 'surge' because they would leave a leading militia unscathed", said a chap from IISS (the same think-tank, in fact, that supplied Blair with a rather important propaganda report in 2002).

Of course, attacking Sadr City and other areas where the Mahdi Army has a popular base is dangerous for the occupiers, since it is by no means clear that they can defeat a combined Sunni-Shiite rebellion. However, given that the demand made on the Sadrists to give up arms and cease militia control of Sadr City is so utterly ludicrous - with, oh you know, occupiers bombing one side, and mysterious car bombings and mortare fire hitting the other - it is not going to be met. I fear another Fallujah. And I never thought I'd have t say this, but watching the Democrats actually criticise Bush's surge policy (albeit they will do as little as possible to stop it) brought a moment of shame and horror, as the next words out of the newscaster's mouth were "but the Prime Minister applauded Bush's decision...". Now, short of revolution, how do we stop this bastard? How do we make our opposition felt in our supposedly representative institutions?

***

Meanwhile, in Haifa street, Apache helicopters and warplanes rain gunfire and bombs on the luckless residents as US-led forces stage firefights with local resistance fighters. Like I said, you aren't allowed to resist. From here on in, the empire is geared toward total war, and if that means slamming rockets and bombs into housing complexes and apartment blocks, then that will merely provide with further evidence that the resistance has no conscience. Bolton is on Channel 4 News explaining in his callous fashion that, well, US strategic interests were "vindicated" with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and, far from pursuing 'democracy' in Iraq necessarily, the key goal now is to make sure a government emerges that will not pose a 'threat' the US. Since, of course, no government of Iraq past or future could ever conceivably pose a threat to the US, Bolton actually intends us to understand that any regime which isn't pro-US and for American control of the oil is a 'threat' - that is, a "threat" to the "strategic interests" he continually referred to. To stop that happening, terror is being brought to Iraq, along with a message to the 'Iraqi government' that we nice guys shan't always be there to help out and nudge things along.