U.S. Forces Battle Mahdi Army in Sadr City, Aircraft Target Basra

U.S. Appears to Take Lead in Fighting in Baghdad

By Sudarsan Raghavan and Sholnn Freeman

U.S. forces in armored vehicles battled Mahdi Army fighters Thursday in the vast Shiite stronghold of Sadr City, and military officials said Friday that U.S. aircraft bombed militant positions in the southern city of Basra, as the American role in a campaign against party-backed militias appeared to expand.


Iraq's Shia Power Struggle

Al Jazeera - Video Report

Riz Khan interviews Patrick Cockburn, who has been a Middle East correspondent since 1979 for the Financial Times and The Independent and asks if Iraq is on the verge of a new civil war.


Iraqi crackdown backfires, strengthens Sadrists

Analysts say Iraqis may be about to witness a new phase in the cycle of violence that has gripped the country since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 -- intra-Shi'ite bloodletting that could tear Iraq apart and more deeply embroil U.S. forces.


How Moqtada al-Sadr Won in Basra

Moqtada al-Sadr. Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army, stood its ground in several days of heavy fighting with Iraqi soldiers backed up by American and British air power. But perhaps more important than the manner in which the militia fought is the manner in which it stopped fighting.


Embarrassed U.S. Starts to Disown Basra Operation

As it became clear last week that the "Operation Knights Assault" in Basra was in serious trouble, the George W. Bush administration began to claim in off-the-record statements to journalists that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had launched the operation without consulting Washington.


Iraq to hire 100,000 new security personnel for Basra

The recruitment of extra security forces, many of whom will inevitably be Sadr supporters, was presented as part of a seven-point plan to improve conditions in Basra, which included measures to improve public services in the dilapidated and war-ravaged second city.


Al Qaeda "winning" against US

In backing the Basra assault, the US has only helped Sadr

The hardline US vice-president, Dick Cheney, was in Baghdad two weeks earlier and may well have urged Maliki to go ahead. They hoped for a triumph to boast about in Congress. Now they must explain a disaster.


From Information Clearing House


Baghdad's Sadr City Mourns Its Dead and Injured

Leila Fadel reports for McClatchy Newspapers: "In Baghdad's Shiite Muslim slum of Sadr City, US airstrikes aimed at militants plague the population. After a week of violence between the US-backed Iraqi Security Forces and the militia of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr, the American military is targeting mortar teams and rockets that have bombarded the heavily fortified Green Zone, home to US and Iraqi government headquarters."


Iraqi Police: US Airstrike Kills Six Civilians

Sinan Salaheddin reports for The Associated Press: "An airstrike destroyed a house in the southern city of Basra, killing a militant, the US military said Thursday. Iraqi police said six civilians were among the dead."


More Than 1,000 in Iraq's Forces Quit Basra Fight

Stephen Farrell and James Glanz report for The New York Times: "More than 1,000 Iraqi soldiers and policemen either refused to fight or simply abandoned their posts during the inconclusive assault against Shiite militias in Basra last week, a senior Iraqi government official said Thursday. Iraqi military officials said the group included dozens of officers, including at least two senior field commanders in the battle."



US airstrikes pound Sadr City

Death toll mounts as US, Iraqi troops fight Mahdi army.



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