Iraq Press Roundup

By HIBA DAWOOD, UPI Correspondent  |  April 24, 2008 at 11:01 AM
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Shebab Al Iraq Newspaper carried an editorial Thursday with the title "Has al-Maliki opened the door to Hell?" The editorial highlighted the role of the Islamist leaders in solving the crisis in Basra city.

It said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had miscalculated when he decided to hit militias, gangs and organized crime in Basra city. The editorial said Basra has become the worst picture of the Islamic project. It also said the sides involved in Basra have many clear and secret agendas.

It said many of the sides of concern make a living out of the "battle" in Basra.

"The Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council has an interest in getting rid of Sadrists so it can apply their project of dividing Iraq through federations on Basra city," it said.

It said the Iraqi government forces hit Basra city in order to disassemble Sadrists whose presence in the Iraqi government had ensured Maliki would be prime minister.

"Eliminating the role of the Sadrists is a planned plot in order to have nobody except another member from the SIIC to be the prime minister in the coming elections," it said.

It said Ibrahim al-Jaffary, the former prime minister, Ahmed Chalabi, the head of the Iraqi National Congress, and others are mediating, yet playing a dirty game, between the government and the Sadrists.

"Such attempts weren't successful, which reveals that al-Jaffary and others are in vain and are not taken into consideration," it said.

"The government's failure in Basra is a failure in all cities in Iraq because Maliki is applying the plan Saddam Hussein carried out against the southern cities of Iraq when he was in power," it said.

It said Shiite Islamic parties realize they are the ones who can bring life back to the city.

"The Americans and their British allies claim Maliki took the decision to attack militias in Basra city without their influence, which is as untrue as the whole political process," the paper said.

The paper also said Maliki was incapable of ordering a large army to attack Basra without asking the permission of the Americans. U.S. forces are less interested in dissolving the militias and criminal groups as they want to balance the political blocs and militias and even gangs if necessary in order not to have a decision regarding the U.S.-Iraqi long-term agreement and the oil law, it added.

"Battling in Basra, Maliki has only proved he can't revive the Iraqi national project or his credibility," the paper said.

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