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Thursday, August 19, 2004


From a piece just up on The Telegraph UK, an analysis of the Najaf situation (bleak):

A western official closely involved in talks in Najaf said yesterday that if Sadr did not capitulate or was not defeated, similar uprisings could see emboldened insurgents take control in cities across Iraq. "That to me sounds like a Lebanisation of Iraq," he said, referring to the breakdown of Lebanon into self-ruling religious cantons.

He added: "But obviously we don't want a bloodbath in the shrine. It's a holy site."

The problem is that a military assault may be seen by Mr Allawi as the best of two bad options and it is unclear whether Mr Bush has the authority to tell him to spare the world images of Muslims being slaughtered in the shrine. Some intelligence reports suggest fanatics will detonate explosives strapped to themselves if the shrine is attacked.

Sadr has no political organisation and scant chance of becoming a nationwide electoral force, but now has the power virtually to destroy the American project in Iraq if Mr Allawi does not act with considerable wisdom - and has a measure of good luck.

That's one of them, whatayacallit? Oh yeah. A lose-lose situation.

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