Monday, August 30, 2004

Behind The Scenes - Reconstruction of The Najaf Battle II

Earlier, I quoted a New York Times article that reconstructed the Najaf battle, as one starting with the provocations of the newly arrived Marines, and further escalated both by local commanders and John Negroponte.

A few days ago, the Alphabetcity blogger gave me, unintended, a further point that put the blame on the American side, but I realised only later (after reading a Robin Remington commentary also based on the NYT article) how important it is - it is a scoop!

For, a report translated from the Arabic of Al-Najaf News Network by DARPA TIDES claims that on July 30, "Friday afternoon, Muqtada al-Sadr met with his 17 unit commanders in his office on Al-Rasul Street. A source close to these units added that Muqtada issued his directives to his commanders and instructed them to repulse any aggression that the police patrols or others may launch against the members of the Al-Mahdi Army." It is unlikely this information didn't reach the American forces earlier through intelligence channels.

That is: the August 3 Marine incursion into Najaf that passed in front of Muqtada's house, considered the start of the current crisis by the NYT, was in all probability not an ad hoc move by someone clueless about the consequences, but a calculated provocation.

This is forther reinforced by the fact even the New York Times article left out, but by chance mentioned in the same DARPA TIDES report, this time with a al-Jazeera transscripts as source, that top Sadrist Shaykh Mithal al-Hisnawi of Karbala and others were arrested in the preceding days. It seems Negroponte, like Bremer before him, designed a series of provocations to get his all-out fight with Sadr.


Post a Comment

<< Home