Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Iraq: an escalating, underreported disaster?

"When the Americans fire back, they don't hit the people who are attacking them, only the civilians," said Osama Ali, a 24-year-old Iraqi who witnessed the attack. "This is why Iraqis hate the Americans so much. This is why we love the mujahedeen."

An iron fist also runs the risk of alienating allies. On Monday, Turkey's foreign minister, Abdullah Gul, said his government would end all cooperation with the United States in Iraq if the military did not stop pounding Talafar, a northern city of ethnic Turkmen where 50 have died over the last two days.

The approach appears to be straining the Iraqi government as well. On Monday, the office of Ayad Allawi, the interim prime minister, said Mowaffak al-Rubaie, the national security adviser, had been relieved of his duties and replaced with a close ally of Dr. Allawi, Qassim Daoud.

The precise reasons for Dr. Rubaie's dismissal were unclear, but he and Dr. Allawi disagreed sharply over how to quell the insurgency and, in particular, how to deal with Moktada al-Sadr, the rebel Shiite cleric. While Dr. Rubaie favors coaxing Mr. Sadr into the political mainstream, Dr. Allawi is demanding Mr. Sadr's surrender first.
(NY Times)

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