Iraq’s Allawi Vows to Crush Rebels Sowing Violence

new york times/Reuters article

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq’s prime minister vowed to crush Baathist die-hards and foreign militants he blamed for killing more than 100 people in a day of suicide bombings and attacks meant to sabotage next week’s move toward Iraqi rule.

…Allawi told reporters late on Thursday he believed Ansar al-Islam, a group linked to Jordanian militant Abu Musab Zarqawi, was behind the Mosul bombings.

He blamed Baathists loyal to deposed dictator Saddam Hussein for the attacks in Ramadi and Baquba.

A group led by Zarqawi, who Washington says has links to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement on an Islamist Web site.

…Zarqawi, whose group has claimed responsibility for the beheadings of an American and a South Korean hostage in Iraq, threatened on Wednesday to assassinate Allawi.

A CIA official in Washington said the voice on the audiotaped message was probably Zarqawi’s.

Some of the black-clad gunmen who attacked police and government buildings in Baquba proclaimed loyalty to Zarqawi and wore yellow headbands linking them to his group.

It appeared to be the first time members of Zarqawi’s underground network had surfaced in street combat.

Fighters in the rebellious town of Falluja issued a taped statement on Friday denying Zarqawi was holed up there.

The violence that swept Sunni cities on Thursday did not extend to regions dominated by Iraq’s Shi’ite majority.

The Mehdi Army militia of radical Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr declared a unilateral cease-fire on Thursday in a Baghdad slum — its last holdout against U.S. troops.

“The Mehdi Army wants the security situation to stabilize and does not want those who are bent on causing chaos in the run-up to the power transfer to succeed,” a statement said.

Sadr, apparently keen to enter mainstream politics, has already withdrawn his forces from the holy Shi’ite cities of Najaf and Kerbala under pressure from moderate Shi’ite leaders.

…The war’s original justification was to destroy Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction. None has been found.

Since Baathist Party members and Republican Guards comprise the Iraqi government’s ‘security force’ in Fallujah, it’s hard to figure just who it is Allawi wants to ‘crush.’
I would have to guess that the other Sh’ia convinces al Sadr to get smart and step out of the way so that the nature of this ‘rebellion’ would be exposed. It seems like a deliberate attempt on the part of MY GOVERNMENT to justify its ultimate aims in Iraq, which have nothing to do with democracy or ‘stability.’
And this al Zirqawi, he’s like the ubiquitous White Whale, everywhere at once doing every bad thing. But hey the CIA said the voice on said tape was ‘probably’ his. Fallujah, that ‘rebellious town’ is being bombed day after day, but the fighters have got word out: ‘Zirqawi’s not here!’ I wonder if he is anywhere.Except in the copy that’s written by a well-oiled (pun intended) misinformation mill.

Guardian story:Iraq War Will Cost Each US Family $3,415
The report predicted the war will ultimately cost each US household $3,415; its annual costs would be enough to provide healthcare for more than half of the 43 million US citizens who lack medical insur ance. Danielle Pletka, an analyst at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, rejected such budget comparisons as intellectually dishonest. “That’s not the way budgets work,” she said. “I don’t think healthcare has been robbed to pay for Iraq.”

Paying the Price quotes a University of Texas economist, James Galbraith, as predicting that although the expenditure would initially boost the economy, long-term problems were likely, including an expanded trade deficit and high infla tion, with the spike in oil prices adding to the downward drag on the US economy.

However, Mr Wolfowitz predicted Iraqi oil would begin to flow at faster rates and help offset the cost of the reconstruction of Iraq. “There’s been $20bn of Iraqi money that’s almost never mentioned. Ten billion of it was leftover [UN] oil-for-food money. Ten billion is brand-new oil revenues. There’s another $8bn that’s projected, if the killers don’t destroy the pipelines, by the end of this year,” he said.

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