August 12, 2004


U.S. marines take centre of Najaf (Khaled Farhan, 8/12/04, Reuters)

U.S. marines backed by tanks and aircraft have seized the heart of the holy Iraqi city of Najaf in a major assault on Shi'ite rebels, but they kept out of a site sacred to millions of Shi'ites around the world.

Warplanes and Apache helicopters pounded militia positions in a cemetery near the Imam Ali Mosque on Thursday, igniting protests in at least two other cities as an uprising that has killed hundreds across southern and central Iraq entered its second week.

The assault against the Mehdi Army of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and growing anger among the majority Shi'ite community could spark a firestorm for interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi should holy sites be damaged or the death toll escalate.

Thick black smoke poured into the sky as helicopters skimmed mud-brick rooftops in the heart of Najaf. Soon after midday, marines controlled the city centre and had blocked entry to the mosque, one of Shi'ite Islam's holiest sites, a witness said.

That's the way the Mookie crumbles.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 12, 2004 9:54 AM

Here are a couple new definitions for the dictionary.

Idiocy: (n) Engaging the US in symmetric warfare.

Suicide: See Idiocy.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at August 12, 2004 11:42 AM

" ... Mookie crumbles."

You've just been waiting to write that, haven't you?

Posted by: jefferson park at August 12, 2004 12:24 PM

We've crushed him again, eh. Third time since April, by my count.

Let's see. No oil flowing. No 'occupier' can move except in an armed convoy.

Yep. Job well done.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 12, 2004 12:53 PM

Hey Harry E.,

Why don't you get your ass over there and lend a hand?

Posted by: Harry Beaver at August 12, 2004 3:52 PM

Orrin says we don't need any more infantry. I'd just be in the way

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 12, 2004 4:31 PM

Well, Harry is right on this one, for now anyway. Let's wait until the fat lady does her thing before we celebrate.

Posted by: h-man at August 12, 2004 5:26 PM

Is there anywhere in all of Islamdom that the press won't describe as "one of Islam's holiest sites"? After a while it becomes verbal wallpaper, meaningless.

Posted by: Fred at August 12, 2004 8:46 PM

"No oil flowing..." The goal was to change the regime, not to get oil flowing. The regime is changed, hence the job is, in fact, well done.

"No 'occupier' can move except in an armed convoy." Hey Harry? That's why it's called an "occupation."

Posted by: Fred at August 12, 2004 8:56 PM

What was the regime changed to, Fred?

Even leftwingers sometimes genuflect in the direction of decency by saying 'wee all deplore Saddam,' as almost all of us did and do.

I predicted that of the various possible outcomes after regime change, the most likely would be the Somalia model.

I'm not seeing much to make me think I was wrong.

An 'occupation' in which the hegemons cannot even peep out of their Green Zone without an accompanying army is at least of dubious value.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at August 13, 2004 2:05 PM

If you're trying to establish hegemony. We're attempting the opposite.

Posted by: oj at August 13, 2004 2:14 PM

Shouldn't we have done Fallujah first? Their holy mosques/ammo dumps are just as flammable as Najaf's.

Posted by: Mike at August 14, 2004 12:52 PM