Tuesday, August 10, 2004

John Quiggin at CT.
The Allawi government’s decision to ban Al-Jazeera has received a lot of attention. Rather less has been paid to a subsequent announcement of a wide range of rules to be applied by the new Higher Media Commission. Prominent among them is a prohibition of “unwarranted criticism” of Allawi himself.
The post includes a link to a protest letter from the Committe to Protect Journalists.
Juan Cole.
The standard line about the Pakistanis in Washington is that the Pakistani government is riddled with sympathizers of the Taliban and maybe al-Qaeda and is unreliable. But from Islamabad's point of view, during the past two weeks the Bush administration has behaved like wild men, spreading around the idea of killing the Pakistani ambassador and blowing the cover of a major intelligence asset inside al-Qaeda.

And from this morning (read down):

Al-Zurufi and PM Iyad Allawi appear to have given the US Marines permission to fight in the shrine of Imam Ali if it became necessary in order to flush out the Mahdi Army militiamen holed up there. The outrage among Iraqi Shiites and Shiites throughout the world should the Marines pursue such a plan would likely cost the US the war, even if it won the battle.


An informed reader writes:
' [Last Friday] there were the first violent clashes, practically a battle, between Sunnis and Shiites in Yusufiyah, with several casualties. The Hakim-people had opened an office in Yusufiyah and Sunni mudjahedin - who are terrorizing Shia in the area - attacked it and burnt it. Badr militias came to Yusufiyah to fight them. But the most disturbing fact is that TRIBAL people on both sides are involved: The jihadis are supportet by tribal fighters from the Falluja area, and the Badr are trying (in some cases with success) to involve Shia tribes on their side. '

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