posted on Apr, 16 2004 @ 08:26 AM
Following days of a so-called cease-fire in which talks were attempted to negotiate an end to the standoff with Muqtada Al-Sadr, the religious cleric
renewed his defiance and stance against American occupation. Yesterday an Iranian delegation went to Najaf to try to work out a solution. A few hours
later Iranian diplomat Khalil Naimi was assassinated by unknown gunmen. Earlier in the week General Richard Myers said the U.S would try to avoid
fighting in Najaf, but the Iraqi Resistance continued to fire upon U.S soldiers and several gunfights have broken out. It is believed that 2000
"insurgents" are held up in the city.
Rebel Shiite cleric remains defiant
Al-Sadr renews condemnation of U.S. occupation of Iraq
"If I am killed or detained the Iraqi public will know how to respond with a force and severity whose extent no one will have imagined," al-Sadr
told Lebanon's as-Safir newspaper in an interview.
"Their threats to kill or detain me are a result of their weakness and collapse in the face of what has happened, and is happening, in Iraq," he
said, adding that he did not fear death.
Earlier, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, persuaded al-Sadr to drop defiant demands he had put forward to Iraqi
politicians currently mediating the standoff. Among other things, al-Sadr demanded U.S. troops withdraw from all Iraqi cities, a condition the U.S.
military was unlikely to accept.
Perhaps the assassination of the Iranian Diplomat was a message to Iran, that Al-Sadr is not willing to cooperate with them. Is Al-Sadr just a
renegade extremist or does Al-Sistani secretly back him? Could Al-Sadr be buying time for a larger final battle? While the cease-fire is being
attempted, Iraqi Resistance continues to fire upon U.S soldiers.
Could Iran be helping Al-Sadr in buying time and the diplomat just a unsuspecting pawn? Najaf is a holy Islamic city, just imagine the outrage from
the Iraqis and the Islamic world that would follow if bombs had to be dropped there. Perhaps this is all a ploy on Al-Sadr part to make the U.S. go
Related ATS Articles & Discussions:
Gunmen Assassinates Iranian Diplomat in Iraq
Falluja Surrounded by USA
[Edited on 4-16-2004 by worldwatcher]