Once again the U.S. military in Iraq has shown its ineptness and weakness in the face of Iraqi resistance to occupation.
After weeks of brutal, bloody combat, American forces have had to accept a truce in Najaf that essentially leaves things where they were before American Marines belligerently initiated hostilities with an attack on Mahdi fighters backing radical cleric Moktada al-Sadr.
That is, things are back where they were in terms of al-Sadr’s militia still having their arms, and al-Sadr still being free and in charge of his militia and his anti-occupation movement. What’s not the same is that Najaf, the holy city of the world’s Shia Muslims (rivaling Mecca), is a bombed-out husk, courtesy of U.S. warplanes and tanks.
What’s also not the same is the reputation of the three parties to this pointless and totally avoidable conflict: the U.S., the puppet government of Ayad Allawi, and Sheik Moktada al-Sadr.
In the case of al-Sadr, he can now claim to have held out, with his ragtag soldiers, against the world’s mightiest military force for the second time in a row, defending the Imam Ali shrine from the American “infidels.” His standing in much of the majority Shia community in Iraq has never been higher.
“Prime Minister” Allawi, America’s handpicked Iraqi government leader, has been exposed as nothing but an American puppet as all the shots in this battle against al-Sadr were called by the Americans. Though the U.S. media fawningly kept referring the battle for Najaf as being fought by “Iraqi and American forces, “ the much-touted so-called Iraqi National Guard was in fact relegated to symbolic roles, and in the end, the truce that ended the fighting was negotiated and implemented not by the Iraqi “government” of Allawi, but by another cleric, the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.
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