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US Struggles In 'Out Of Control' Iraq: Experts

With the bomb attack on the holy city of Najaf coming barely 10 days after the truck bomb that killed 23 people at the UN offices in Baghdad--including the UN special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello--US and British of stabilising Iraq now look even more forlorn.

"Things are going rotten, we are seeing a degradation for which there appears to be no remedy," said Simon Serfaty, a specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"American military power seems to unable to keep up with events in a country where everything is out of control."
(AFP Photo)
(AFP Photo)
Saturday August 30, 2:52 AM

US struggles in "out of control" Iraq, experts say

The bomb attack on the holy city of Najaf in Iraq dealt a new blow to US hopes of bringing stability to the country as well as killing a key moderating influence on the Iraqi Shiite community, US experts said.

Ayatollah Mohammad Baqer al-Hakim, a leading Shiite Muslim cleric, was among at least 82 people killed in the car bomb set off outside the Tomb of Ali, one of the Islamic world's most important shrines.

Coming barely 10 days after the truck bomb that killed 23 people at the UN offices in Baghdad, including the UN special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello, US and British of stabilising Iraq now look even more forlorn.

"Things are going rotten, we are seeing a degradation for which there appears to be no remedy," said Simon Serfaty, a specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

"American military power seems to unable to keep up with events in a country where everything is out of control."

US forces have been kept away from the shrine to Imam Ali in Najaf in recent months because of its sensitive nature.

There have been virtually daily attacks on US forces since President George W. Bush declared the end of major combat in Iraq on May 1.

More troops have been killed since the end of the war than during the invasion and the US administration is fighting off mounting calls in Congress to reinforce the 140,000 US forces in Iraq.

The killing of the cleric in the attack also wiped out a key stabilising influence in the country, which is predominantly Shiite and a vital link with Iran, where al-Hakim had lived in exile for 23 years until the fall of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Mary-Jane Deeb, a Middle East specialist at the American University in Washington, said that Hakim "wanted to prevent a confrontation between Shiites and Americans, between Iranians and Americans, between Shiites and Sunnites."

Hakim "was a moderate in the sense that he wanted to keep things calm and take his time, even if his aim was to establish an Islamic republic," said Deeb.

Hakim, head of the Iran-backed Supreme Assembly of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, was represented by one of his brothers on the US-named interim governing council.

Despite Hakim's links with Iran, the United States had considered his group a negotiating partner long before the fall of Saddam, in a sign to Shiites in Iraq and its Iranian sponsor.

Though no claim of responsibility was made, the attack came only three days after the Al-Arabiya satellite television channel broadcast a video of masked men threatening members of the interim governing council and those who support it.

The United States responded to the broadcast with fury.

Highlighting US fears that the message would be heard in Iraq, a State Department spokesman said it was "irresponsible in the extreme" to give a stage to the threats and plans of "these masked terrorists".

homepage: homepage: http://sg.news.yahoo.com/030829/1/3dsyv.html

unnamed white house official... 30.Aug.2003 08:14

this thing here

"no, we're not struggling. we're not struggling in some out of control iraq.

everything is going exactly according to plan. and i think the american people know this, and are behind the president 100%.

and, no, we don't need any more troops. that assertion is totally wrong. in fact, that's what got general shinseki fired, because he told us the truth, no, ahh, no, i mean he told us a lie. we don't need any more troops because the ones there now will do. it hasn't been announced officially yet of course, but we're planning on increasing each soldier's tour of duty by a factor of three, instead of the current two. that should solve the problem.

besides, we're stretched thin as it is. we're not some chinese army with a million soldiers. we're not some army that can go half way accross the world and engage in a war and then rebuild and provide security afterwards at a cost of $4 billion a month. i mean, what are we supposed to do? bring back the draft? of course we're considereing that option, but...

right now, we're looking at sending in the u.n. this will allow us to cover our ass. to go in, fuck it up completely, yet still come out looking like a winner in november 2004. of course, in this administration, we openly discuss dismantling and destroying the u.n. our policy is to hate the u.n., but then use it to cover our ass. does this seem hypocritcal to anyone? well, i doesn't to the president, and i know the american people are behind the president 100% did i already say that?

and i mean, we can't admit that we need more troops and send them in like some terrible replay of vietnam, we can't fire shinseki and then send more troops, we can't admit that we made a mistake, because that might lose a cabinet member or two their job, and weaken the administration in an election year. and that's what this is all about anyways. plus a shit load of arrogance and ignorance. plus that goddamn oil, that goddamn oil. look, is it any wonder the power shortages and the increasng oil prices and the war in the middle east? huh? hellooo. how stupid are you citizens? look, i need to go. thanks, no..."