British troops abandoned a major base in southern Iraq on Thursday and prepared to wage guerrilla warfare along the Iranian border to combat weapons smuggling, a move that anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called the first expulsion of U.S.-led coalition forces from an Iraqi urban center.
"This is the first Iraqi city that has kicked out the occupier!" trumpeted a message from Sadr's office that played on car-mounted speakers in Amarah, capital of the southern province of Maysan. "We have to celebrate this occasion!"
Maj. Charlie Burbridge, a British military spokesman, said the last of 1,200 troops left Camp Abu Naji, just outside Amarah, at noon Thursday, after several days of heavy mortar and rocket fire by a local militia, which local residents identified as the Sadr-controlled Mahdi Army. Adopting tactics used by a British special forces unit in North Africa during World War II, 600 of the soldiers plan to slip soon into the marshlands and deserts of eastern Maysan in an attempt to secure the Iranian border.
The repositioning is the first public acknowledgment that forces from the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq have entered into guerrilla warfare to combat the insurgents and militias they have been fighting for more than three years.
The above is from Amit R. Paley's "British Leave Iraqi Base; Militia Supporters Jubilant" (Washington Post) and four members e-mailed to note it (Kayla was first) because, guess what, it's news. It's news even if the New York Times doesn't think so (hold on for that). A base has been abandoned, the guerrilla warfare of the so-called coalition goes public (it's been going on for some time as most who were paying attention noticed -- British forces were found disguised and with bombs should have been the first clue).
From Paul von Zielbauer's "Shiite Leader Urges Iraqi Politicians to Stay Home and Work Harder" in the New York Times:
Attacks in Baghdad killed or wounded dozens of people on Thursday. At 11:30 a.m., a roadside bomb detonated in the Bab al-Sharji neighborhood in central Baghdad, wounding four people, an Interior Ministry official said. Less than an hour later, a suicide car bomber blew himself up in the Mashtal district of southeast Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding nine others, including two policemen, the official said.
Twenty minutes after that attack, a car bomb blew up in the Adhamiya neighborhood near a government security complex, killing two people and wounding four policemen in the mostly Sunni Arab area.
An hour after that, a parked car rigged with explosives went off. It was apparently aimed at a convoy of a Baghdad district police chief, wounding five officers.
Three American soldiers were killed in fighting in and around Baghdad during the past 24 hours, American military officials here said. One soldier was killed in Baghdad on Thursday when his patrol came under fire around noon, the military said; a second soldier died after a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle south of Baghdad. On Wednesday, an American soldier was killed south of Baghdad.
They're playing round up, leading with al-Sistani's comments that members of the Iraqi government need to stay in Iraq and address the problem as opposed to traveling to various countries. "They" is Paul von Zielbauer who's been given the assignment of covering every event that's happened in Iraq in the last 24 or so hours prior to his deadline. Which is why the British abandoning a base is covered solely through the claims by the British military p.r. hack yesterday. Iraq is one story and one story only. How bad is von Zielbauer's article? When the Times only makes space for one story, we won't rip apart someone trying. von Zeilbauer's trying, it's an impossible task.
But the Times has other things to do. After all one of Judith Miller's play-dates couldn't be beating war drums (Sudan) if the paper made him actually work, could he? No, not the war pornographer, the other one, Warren Hoge.
On the subject of the Times, Cedric's "Bob Herbert disappoints" addresses Bob Herbert's column from Thursday's paper.
The e-mail address for this site is email@example.com. There's a second entry coming this morning but the phones are going crazy with friends wanting to weigh in on a number of articles so the next entry may go up a little later than usual.
the washington post
amit r. paley
the new york times
paul von zielbauer
cedrics big mix