Sunday, November 26, 2006

Crowds stone Iraqi PM Maliki's convoy as the violence continues

Members of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.

Iraq continues to spiral towards anarchy.

Today crowds stoned Iraq PM Maliki's armed convoy and jeered at him as he went through the Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City in Baghdad to pay respects to some of the 200 who died there last week in the deadliest attack since the U.S. invasion.

Maliki's fellow Shiites are not happy with him to say the least. Sadr City is the stronghold of Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, the premier Iran trained and armed Shiite militia. The anger is palpable.

Maliki's fellow Shiites surged around him, screaming "It's all your fault" pelted Maliki and his convoy with stones and garbage and jeered at him as his convoy left the area.

The Shiite miitia reprisals have involved burning Sunni mosques and homes as well as three days of sporadic mortar fire in Baghdad neighborhoods.The city-wide curfew, which ends Monday, has very little to quell the violence.

Some of those rounds hit a U.S. military post in eastern Baghdad today, setting buildings on fire. The rounds came from just outside nearby Sadr City.

Maliki is the target of heavy criticism both in Iraq and from Washington. He is scheduled to meet President Bush for a summit in Jordan on Wednesday.

Shiite politicians loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr have threatened to boycott parliament and the Cabinet if Maliki goes ahead with the planned summit. Maliki is dependent on Iran's proxy, Moqtada al-Sadr, for his position as prime minister. If the Shiite Bloc boycotts parliament, the government falls.

Sadr wants an immediate U.S. withdrawal from his Iranian bosses can move in, of course.

In a fitting touch of low comedy, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that he was ready to help -- if the US left now: "The Iranian nation is ready to help you get out of that swamp on one condition ... You should pledge to correct your attitude," he said on television.

"Go back, and take your forces to behind your borders."

Considering how much Iran has contributed to the violence in Iraq, one can hardly cry for laughing.

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