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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Baghdad street battle smacks of open civil war (Reuters)

Open street battles are beginning in Iraq.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Snipers held rooftop positions as masked Sunni Arab insurgents said they were gearing up for another open street battle with pro-government Shiite militiamen in Baghdad's Adhamiya district on Tuesday.

And, just of observational interest, compare the Reuters article above, written by Omar al-Ibadi, which paints a picture of open street warfare and civil war, to an earlier Reuters article on the same incident written by Micheal Georgy which doesn't includes the phrase "as Iraqi leaders struggle to form a unity government they hope can avert a sectarian civil war."

I think it's no coincidence that the first is apparently written by an Arab reporter with quotes from the participants, and the second is written by a westerner, constructed mainly from US military accounts.

When is a civil war officially a civil war? Who gets to decide?

UPDATE:
They NYTimes is reporting that US forces have "sealed off" the Baghdad neighborhood of Adhamiya where this took place. "A spokesman for the American military said Monday evening that American troops had been active in Adhamiya but declined to give details." It looks like the "second liberation of Baghdad" may be proceeding a bit ahead of schedule.

Also, via Juan Cole, "Arabic sources such as Al-Zaman , al-Hayat and Aljazeera reported in such a way as to make it look like the brave stand of local (Sunni Arab) men against the predations of (Shiite) death squads masquerading as police."

UPDATE 2:
From Knight-Ridder's incredible Tom Lasseter, (Long piece, but a fair amount of detail on the militias, their role and formation, and the US actions regarding them.)
BAGHDAD, Iraq - U.S. officials were warned for more than two years that Shiite Muslim militias were infiltrating Iraq's security forces and taking control of neighborhoods, but they failed to take action to counteract it, Iraqi and American officials said.

(I know I've been doing alot more on Iraq lately, but I think we're at the critical point. Also today, the Shia block reformed in refusing to name another prime ministerial candidate besides Jaafari, while the Sunni/Secularist alignment appeared to break down.)

4 Comments:

  • Great post. I tried to follow a couple of the updates on this story, but you've outdone me. Great work! Thanks!

    By Blogger copy editor, at 11:11 AM  

  • I really appreciate your ability to pull the key elements of the Iraq debacle into focus.

    It is the critical story of the day, but it is complex and difficult to keep track of all that is going on.

    Iraq tends to get lost amid the stupid speeches by Bush, or the lying McClellan pressers, because those stories are much easier to dissect with short commentary.

    By Blogger seenos, at 11:44 AM  

  • Thank you for the compliments. These posts always feel a little disorderly to me, but I'm trying to get as many article links as I can in and still leave them in some context.

    I have a fair number of readers, friends, family, friends of family, and pass alongs who don't really read blogs at all beyond mine. They're just not internet people. So what I'm trying to do, both for those people and other bloggers, is offer a very short version of what's going on with article links as I can, so everybody can check out the developments that fall into their interest or aid the development of their thinking on Iraq..

    Because Iraq is just too big, and there's just too much going on to cover it all. So, I'm trying to distill it down to a couple of broad themes that I think will impact the future of that country and mine.

    Mike

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:21 PM  

  • Good work Mike. Keep em coming.

    By Blogger Cartledge, at 1:21 PM  

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