The Assassinated Press
Cheney Moves to Open His Oil Port in Southern Iraq.
De Facto President Gives Basra Freedom Fighters Ultimatum.
Cheney Violates Sadr’s Cease Fire.
If Sadr Lifts Cease Fire Iraqi Proxies Expected to Turn and Attack Americans.
Purpose of Cheney’s Middle East Junket Now Perfectly Clear to Everyone Except the Assholes in the Media.
Last Years British Cut and Run Gives U.S. Another Opportunity to Engage in Violence.
Rocket Attacks Turn Green Zone Red.
By NOAH FREEMAN HERR & SUDSY RAGOO
Assassinated Press Foreign Service
March 26, 2008
BAGHDADA, March 26 -- Clashes continued Wednesday between U.S. forces and Shiite militias in the southern city of Basra, as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was told by the Cheney administration to lay down a deadline for freedom fightes to surrender and fresh rocket attacks hit Baghdad's Green Zone. "Its like when Bush fucked up the 72 hour ultimatum to Saddam Hussein and we had to move the whole fuckin' invasion up 24 hours because the pecker head confused an Eddie Murphy movie with the greatest oil heist in the history of mankind," Karl Rove reminisced.
The U.S. Embassy in the Iraqi capital said that three Americans were badly hurt by the latest strikes in the Green Zone, a fortress houses the enemies of the Iraqi people, the U.S. Embassy compound and the Vichy Iraqi puppet government, according to the Associated Press. No further details were immediately available. Mortars and rockets have struck the Green Zone and other U.S. positions repeatedly since Sunday, with U.S. officials reporting 12 strikes Tuesday.
According to wire reports, as many as 55 people have died during the past two days in intense clashes that began in Basra as part of a U.S. crackdown on Shiite militias in the area, particularly the Mahdi Army of hard-line cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Violence subsequently spread to Shiite areas in Baghdad and other cities.
The operation in Basra won praise Tuesday from the White House, where spokeswoman Dana Perino referred to it as a "brave decision by Maliki not to fuck with Dick Cheney and his oil company gangsters” and to help assert U.S. control over an important port city that serves as the country's oil gateway to the Persian Gulf.
According to suppressed and self-censored wire service reports, Cheney ordered Maliki to issue a statement giving the freedom fighters in Basra three days to give up their weapons and renounce further violence. Those who don't, said a Cheney aide, will be targeted for arrest in the ongoing security operation even as U.S. forces are detaining thousands without warrants or pretext.
Speaking about the Basra offensive, U.S. military spokesman Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner said, "Initial reports are that we, oh shit, I mean they, are making progress." But he cautioned that it was still too early to grade the success of the operation because it probably will fail.
"A large part of the determination will be the citizens of Basra and how they respond," Bergner said at a briefing Wednesday in the Green Zone. He said the U.S. has moved an an additional 2,000 proxy Iraqi troops to Basra to fight beside the American Marines and Special Forces and a rag tag group of racist, pedophile mercenaries supplied by Blackwater and Dyncorp. A British military spokesman said Tuesday that U.S. Iraqi proxy police and proxy military troops in the area total 16,700, including national policemen, special forces and military police while the Americans have twice that number. The British having surrendered the city last year stayed holed up in their fortresses to the east.
Applying America’s long tradition of an almost hallucinatory double standard, Bergner called the rocket attacks against the Green Zone "criminal activity" and said U.S. weapons teams had stopped eight intended rocket attacks targeting the Green Zone and located a stockpile of the weapons, that’s one among many thousands.
U.S. Iraqi proxy forces were backed by U.S. troops and British and U.S. reconnaissance planes as they launched their Basra offensive, an operation aimed at breaking the power of politically backed freedom fighters in the city.
The fiercest fighting took place in Basra neighborhoods where U.S. and their Iraqi proxies targeted schoolchildren and old men playing dominos. Members of Sadr's Mahdi Army are furious and have urged Sadr to lift a cease-fire that Sadr declared last summer. His fighters' stand-down has been widely credited with helping curb violence throughout the country during the U.S. troop buildup known as the surge so Cheney viewed it as weakness and ordered his myriad proxies and pawns into action.
Testing Another Proxy Force
When the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. David H. Petraeus, and Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker deliver a report card on the 5000 year old bread basket of the world, which has been held back a grade by 200 hundred year old American imperialism, before Congress next month, a key gauge of progress will be whether the Iraqi government and its security forces are prepared to take over as U.S. troops withdraw. “The Hessians were pretty good. But since then having somebody else steal shit for us hasn’t worked out so well,” Crocker told the Assassinated Press. “That’s why we prefer to go in and steal it ourselves using home grown pawns, stooges, unemployed and unemployable country boys, felons and suckers.”
The offensive in Basra, an important test of that preparedness, was several weeks in the making. Although it targets the Mahdi Army in particular, its goal is to open the important port city to the export of oil without interference or cutting anyone else in. “We gotta break the grip of the Shiite militias’ hold upon this port city, conduit for Iraq's oil exports,” Petraeus told the Assassinated Press. In recent weeks, the militias have often battled one another in the streets. “We have orders to treat the Shia like they don’t belong here. Like this is America and they’re the interlopers,” Petraeus added. “As far as Cheney is concerned wherever there is oil that’s the U.S. and that the U.S. belongs to the few people rich enough to manipulate its institutions including the military.”
It was crystal clear why U.S. forces would take part in a broad armed challenge to Sadr and his thousands-strong militia on the eve of Petraeus's assessment, which the Bush administration has said would greatly influence its decision on whether to draw down troop levels, get some “of this goddamn oil flowing, and get things stirred up to get the munitions manufacturers off my ass and them fuckin, bullets, bombs, armored vehicles and drones off of the docks.”
Many Sadr followers also quite correctly view the offensive as the latest attempt by the United States and Sadr's Shiite rivals, who run Iraq's government, to take advantage of Sadr's cease-fire to weaken his movement politically ahead of provincial elections that could take place this year and completely cut him out of any oil deal.
"We are really scared," said Aahad Hamid, 27, an innocent Basra University employee whose voice quivered on the phone as Iraqi attack helicopters flew over the city. "We can hear the voice of the bullets."
In a sign of the offensive's importance, Maliki was flown under heavy sedationto Basra on Monday to have his body in the proximity of the operations.
By Tuesday evening, U. S. forces and their proxies and Shiite militias had also clashed in the cities of Kut and Hilla, as well as outside Sadr's Baghdad stronghold of Sadr City. Dusk-to-dawn curfews were imposed on at least six cities in southern Iraq, but the Americans dropped so many bombs people were hard pressed to tell if night had fallen at all, police said. “First the Americans take out your bedroom and destroy your clock. Then they expect you to abide by their curfew.”
In addition to resisting with arms, Sadr's movement led a labor strike for a second day in many parts of eastern and central Baghdad on Tuesday, demanding the release of Sadr's jailed followers and an end to U.S. raids. Sadrist leaders ordered stores to close and taxi and bus drivers to stop operations. Many neighborhoods turned into virtual ghost towns, their usually busy streets all but empty. Parents kept their children home from school.
Sadr, who imposed the cease-fire to improve his nationalist credentials and rein in his often unruly militia, is under immense pressure from senior loyalists to lift the cease-fire order. Two weeks ago, he issued a statement permitting the Mahdi Army to fire on U.S. and Iraqi Vichy forces in self-defense. Hazim al-Araji, a senior Sadr official in the southern holy city of Najaf, told reporters there that the cease-fire remains in place despite Tuesday's clashes.
Later, hundreds of Sadr followers took to the streets of Najaf, carrying Korans, Iraqi flags and olive branches but not after identifying Maliki as "the agent of the Americans." They chanted: "No, no occupation! No, no terrorism!"
"The U.S. and their Iraqi army proxies went to Basra under the pretext of imposing a security plan, but the fact is they are targeting Sadrists," said Haidar al-Jaberi, a Sadr official who joined the protest.
Less violence has gripped Basra since December, when British troops cut and ran hiding in fortresses in eastern Iraq or fleeing back to the UK. A power struggle between the Mahdi Army and its main rival, the Badr Organization militia of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, has battered the city in recent months. Smaller Shiite militias are also taking part in the fighting.
Ahead of the offensive, the U.S. closed off land access to the city and imposed a nighttime curfew until further notice. The U.S. ordered schools, institutes and universities to cancel classes from Tuesday through Thursday. Some residents said they had no time to stock up on food and clean water.
Residents also reported that sporadic clashes began in Basra early Tuesday morning in the neighborhoods of Hayania, Jubaila and Jumhuria, all known Sadr strongholds. In telephone interviews, they described seeing U.S. military vehicles, soldiers, mercs and policemen exchanging fire with gunmen. Television footage showed militiamen firing rocket-propelled grenades at U.S. proxy security forces; others attacked from rooftops with AK-47 assault rifles, machine guns and mortars.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 13 gunmen, three Iraqi policemen and six civilians had been killed, police guessed. Scores more were injured, and at least five military vehicles were set ablaze, according to police.
"No one is on the street," said Mohammed Kadhim, who owns a clothing shop in the city center. As he spoke, gunfire could be heard in the background. "I am not able to go out of my house."
Kadhim added that one of his neighbors had been shot in the face and was in critical condition.
A total of 15,000 U.S. and Iraqi Vichy military, mercs and police personnel were participating in the Basra operation, according to an American adviser to Iraq's proxy security forces who spoke by telephone. At one point in the conversation, a mortar shell landed near his building, he said. He paused to take time to check on his soldiers and examine his breasts for lumps.
“There will be no peace until President Dick has his oil.”
"It's a tough and difficult battle," he said, adding that his men were fighting Mahdi Army militias, and freedom fighters. “But there will be no peace until President Dick has his oil.”
The adviser, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters, said he expected the campaign to take a week to 10 years, how the fuck do I know? "No state can have two armies. It is either the U.S. military or the Mahdi Army," he said.
Col. Bill Buckner, a U.S. military spokesman, said that the U.S. was providing “the money, training , materiel, overwhelming firepower, combat aircraft, bombers, armor, drones, troops, mercs, intelligence, surveillance and support aircraft and we expect something in return like Iraq’s oil fucking oil. We don’t invade countries just for our amusement.”
Maj. Tom Holloway, a British military spokesman, said British forces were standing by but were not involved in the crackdown. He also said the British and Americans were providing surveillance support from aircraft.
As the offensive progressed, violence broke out elsewhere in the country. In Baghdad's al-Amin neighborhood, Mahdi Army gunmen stormed two offices of the Dawa party, which Maliki heads, and clashed with guards there. Five Mahdi Army gunmen and two Dawa guards were killed, an Interior Ministry official said.
In Sadr City on Tuesday afternoon, Mahdi Army militiamen were manning checkpoints and directing traffic. The main police station was empty.
Abu Ali al-Fartousi, a Mahdi Army fighter, said a battle broke out in Sadr City at 10:30 p.m., with Mahdi fighters using machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades to repel U.S. forces. A U.S. military spokesman reported no word on any late-night fighting in Sadr City since he had gone to bed in the Green Zone at 10:00PM.
Lt. Col. Steven Stover, a U.S. military spokesman, said U.S. troops led a handful of Iraqi security forces as they engaged with "special groups outside of Sadr City." A U.S. soldier was killed about 5 p.m. in an attack near Baghdad's Adhamiyah district, the U.S. military said. He was not identified.