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    16 April 2005

    Iraq [UPDATED]

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    [UPDATE 4/18/2005] Final update
    What happend here was very confusing...
    but it is summed up nicely here. There are two threads to this story, one was part of a self-serving campaign by some politician, the other, a sinister plot to start a sectarian war. Either way this event tricked the US backed armies in Iraq into the town, displaing the lack of intel and understanding of events around them. If the americans would could leave the green zone maybe they could avoid this in the future

    the orginal post begins here...
    An entire city is controlled by a Sunni insurgent army...

    Sunni insurgents have taken at least 60 people hostage in the town of Madaen near Baghdad and are threatening to kill them unless Shi'ites leave, a Shi'ite official who said he had been contacted by residents there said.

    "People from the town called me begging the Iraqi government to save their relatives, who are hostages. They told me there are at least 60 hostages," the Shi'ite official, who asked not to be named, told Reuters. (LINK)

    and another article a little bit later...

    Insurgents with heavy weapons appeared to have taken control of the mixed Sunni and Shi'ite town of Madaen, just south of Baghdad, and no police or government forces were in sight, said the official. (LINK)

    But let me add a brief snip of the DoD propaganda website right NOW!

    "It's particularly important today ... because the American people need to know the full story," said Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers to the American Society of Newspaper Editors, "because it is going to be their resolve that is so critical to our ability to confront the extremist threat." (LINK)

    Not that our soldiers are doing excellent work, but this story hasn't made front page of one news service, I got this through the Swiss Media.

    So as you wish sir, here is the real Iraq.

    Networks are now reporting that there is a joint operation being carried out by Iraqi and US forces.

    [UPDATE 4/17/2005]
    This is a new tactic for Iraq. They used to kidnap someone or some group of people usually Iraqi police or Shia'. Now they have taken a town and the resulting rescue, if it gets out of hand, could be a lot of bad press for the occupation from any point of view.

    This is appearing to be either hidden from the media due to so many different reports. Or Secular violence not associated with the insurgency directly. This looks more like neighborhood gang violence in some reports, and a major offensive in others. You can bet that if this is another fallujah the public won't like it; and with the secular Bathist-Shia' Allawi leaving the possibilities of problems increases...

    [UPDATE 4/18/2005 via Juan Cole]

    It turns out the story that Sunni guerrillas had kidnapped 100 Shiites in Mada'in and were threatening to kill them may have little or even nothing to it. Iraq is prime ground for the spread of poisonous rumors, since the poor security situation makes it difficult for journalists to check stories, and the battling factions have every reason to circulate falsehoods.

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