I read a number of foreign newspaper online because, frankly, they tell far more of the unvarnished truth than do our Bush-intimidated US media.....
Current status of the Iraq War, from the venerable Times of London. (This is an excerpt. Read the entire article here.)
Weekend of slaughter propels Iraq towards all-out civil war from James Hider in Baghdad
IRAQ is slipping into all-out civil war, a Shia leader declared yesterday, as a devastating onslaught of suicide bombers slaughtered more than 150 people, most of them Shias, around the capital at the weekend.
One bomber killed almost 100 people when he blew up a fuel tanker south of Baghdad, an attack aimed at snapping Shia patience and triggering the full-blown sectarian war that al-Qaeda has been trying to foment for almost two years.
Iraq’s security forces have been overwhelmed by the scale of the suicide bombings — 11 on Friday alone and many more over the weekend — ordered by the Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
“What is truly happening, and what shall happen, is clear: a war against the Shias,” Sheikh Jalal al-Din al-Saghir, a prominent Shia cleric and MP, told the Iraqi parliament.
Sheikh al-Saghir is close to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the supreme Shia spiritual leader and moderate who has so far managed to restrain powerful Shia militias from undertaking any outright attack on Sunni insurgents. His warning suggests that the Shia leadership may be losing its grip over Shias who in private often call for an armed backlash against their Sunni assailants.
The sheikh also cautioned Sunni clerics supporting the insurgency against American forces and the Shia-Kurdish Government elected in January. “I am very keen to preserve the Sunni blood that would be shed due to the irrational acts of some of their leaders, who do not see that they are leading the country into civil war,” he told the national assembly.
On the streets of Baghdad, al-Zarqawi’s al-Qaeda organisation in Iraq unleashed one suicide bomber after another and promised no respite.
“The Hassan Ibrahim al-Zaidi attack continues for the second day in a row, with rigged cars, martyrdom attacks and clashes,” an al-Qaeda internet statement said. “We warn the enemies of God of more to come.” One of the suicide bombers, a Libyan, was arrested at the mass funerals of 32 Shia children killed last week by a car bomber.
But the worst attack occurred in the mixed town of Musaib, in the area south of Baghdad known as the Triangle of Death, when a fuel tanker blew up in a crowded market near a mosque on Saturday evening. The death toll rose to 98 yesterday, making it one the deadliest attacks yet.
Relatives searched the shattered market for the body parts of missing loved ones. “I saw a lot of burnt bodies after the explosion and many people throwing their children from the windows and balconies because the buildings were on fire,” Ammar al-Qaragouli said.
Iraqi soldiers have set up checkpoints to try to rein in the bombers, only to become sitting ducks. Two dozen more people died yesterday in four suicide bombings targeting US and Iraqi security forces.
At least one desperate parliamentarian called for the population to form local militias to defend their neighbourhoods — a move that many see as prelude to a sectarian war. (Read the rest of the article here.... )