YESTERDAY was the first day after the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad announced that he had given the Iraqi puppet government a timetable for the carrying out of a number of ‘key tasks’.
He said these were ‘inducing Iraqi religious and political leaders who can call and influence armed groups in Baghdad to agree to stop sectarian violence. . . Enacting an oil law that will share the profit of Iraq’s resources in a way that unites the country. . . Implementing a plan to address militias and death squads, setting the date for provincial elections and increasing the credibility and the capability of Iraqi forces’.
Khalilzad’s closing words were: ‘Iraqi leaders must step up to achieve key political and security milestones on which they have agreed.’
On day one after the Khalilzad diktat, the US army supported by Iraqi puppet army forces attacked Sadr City, and the Mahdi army.
The army led by Moqtada al-Sadr has led two insurrections against US forces and Bush has been demanding that it be destroyed, disarmed and disbanded.
However, no sooner had the US led forces entered Sadr City, backed up by helicopter gunships, and opened fire on the militia, than the puppet Prime Minister Maliki objected, demanding an end to the action.
With the head of the puppet regime refusing to support the US action, Khalilzad’s proposals to carry out ‘key tasks’ have been damned as failures from day one.
Maliki told a press conference in Baghdad on Wednesday: ‘This is an issue to be revised with the multinational forces so that it would not occur again. There should be co-ordination in any military operation.’
The US military for its part, issued a statement claiming that the raid had taken place with the permission of the Iraqi government.
‘Special Iraqi Army forces, supported by coalition advisers, conducted a raid authorised by the government of Iraq in Sadr City,’ the military said in a statement.
Perhaps they should have said that they had the permission of that faction of the puppet government that supports the Badr Brigade, and is made up of the SCIRI (the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq).
The leaders of these forces were in Iran for the 20 years before May 2003, when Bush announced that the war was over, and the US-UK negotiated for the SCIRI to return to Iraq to support the occupation and take over southern Iraq along with the Dawa party, to run it for British imperialism.
Despite the fact that relations between Iran and the US have now been soured, from what they were in the heady days when Iran decided not to oppose the US-UK invasion of Iraq, the SCIRI continues to support the occupation.
The recent clashes in Al Amarah were between the Mahdi Army which opposes the occupation, and is opposed to the plan to divide Iraq into three entities, and the Badr Brigade which helps to run the occupation and supports the partition of Iraq.
The disagreement between Maliki and his US masters comes just one day after Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Iraq, called on Iraqi leaders to act to disband the militia groups.
Al-Maliki had earlier said his government would ‘strike hard’ against militias that challenged the authority of the state. He obviously did not mean the Mahdi Army.
He also appealed to neighbouring states to cease meddling in Iraq’s domestic affairs, referring to Iran and Syria, which were accused by Khalilzad of supporting Al-Qaeda and sponsoring attacks on Iraqi civilians.
The Shia movement in Iraq is now split, between the minority who support the occupation and want to partition Iraq, and the millions of Shia poor who support Moqtada al-Sadr and want to see an end to the occupation and retain the unity of Iraq.
The issue is clear. Khalilzad’s plan has collapsed already. The insurgents in northern, western and southern Iraq must unite to end the occupation by driving the occupying US and UK armies out of the country.