Crossfire War – TEHRAN WATCH – West Asia Theatre: Tehran – Baghdad – Damascus/London – Washington; 3,000 Iraqi Troops Refuse to Report for Duty in Baghdad – Battle of Baghdad Rages at Start of Ramadan – Fighting Expected to Increase
Night Watch: BAGHDAD – Reuters reports that Ramadan began in Iraq with a Sunni militant group targeting a Shi’ite base in eastern Baghdad as a message to the Shi’ite Mehdi Army militia controlled by radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, in Sadr City. The bomb attack killed 26 people, wounded 29 and was in retaliation for what the Sunni group claimed had been Shi’ite attacks against unarmed Sunnis. The Sunni group, Jamaat Jund al-Sahaba (Soldiers of the Prophet’s Companions) released this statement, “This operation comes in reaction to the crimes of the Mehdi Army against our Sunni kin in Baghdad. Our swords can reach the depth of your area, so stop killing unarmed Sunnis.” [SWISSINFO]
This is obviously not a harbinger of increased stability and is in fact quite the opposite. But more importantly what is left of the central government’s ability to control and limit the violence has been seriously affected by the news of the refusal of 3,000 Iraqi troops to report for duty in the capital and to take part in the “Battle of Baghdad.” U. S. officials, still in touch with the reality on the ground, admit that during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan violence will increase. It is quite possible that this brigade size desertion is an indication that Iraq’s military of divided loyalties has more of a sense of duty with militia units that represent their ethnic-religious-political group instead of working with the US/UK.
During the month of Ramadan the lost alliance, London-Washington, could be even busier than during the war against Saddam three years ago, which was hardly more than a military formality since everyone, on both sides, knew it just completed what was left undone from the first Gulf War. Nor was it any secret for the 12 year delay as CNN showed the London branch office of the engineering corporation headquarted in San Francisco invited to Iran the day after the Gulf War ended in 1991. Saddam’s removal took place with the completion of the network of military bases constructed for Iran that now house Iran’s nuclear research – development and ballistic missiles.
But with Iran’s Defense Ministry now saying publicly they are ready to defeat their enemies then of course they want the occupying forces in Iraq to have all they can handle. So the British are now engaged in almost daily confrontation with various Shi’ite militia groups in and around Basra. Obviously the Shi’ite militias are supported-armed by Tehran. The U. S. still has to mount operations in the vast Anbar province, which borders Syria and Saudi Arabia. Damascus never made any serious effort to cutoff supplies to who knows how many Islamic resistance units that routinely engage the U. S. and whatever Iraqi National Army units the Pentagon can piece together.
Violence has increased in Kurdistan in the north between Arabs/Turkmen/Kurds, threatening to cause Turkey’s invasion, but with the Pentagon obsessed with winning the “Battle of Baghdad” there is nothing they can do except continue to put on a show of turning over more of Iraq’s provinces to Iraq’s National Army. This is the excuse London-Washington have invented to justify their ignonimous withdrawal. Not much different from the old tactic, “declare victory and go home.” The lost alliance will remain true to form. They lied their way into Iraq so they’ll lie their way out.