More than 400 people have been killed in fighting over the last month between Shia gunmen and US and Iraqi forces, hospital officials in Baghdad say.
The Sadr City district of the Iraqi capital has seen most of the fighting as the government tries to disarm members of Shia militias.
The above is from the BBC's "Baghdad clashes 'leave 400 dead'." Today the US military announces: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed from wounds sustained when he was attacked with small-arms fire by insurgents at approximately 8:50 p.m. April 29 in northwestern Baghdad." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed after the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised explosive device at approximately 10:15 p.m. in northwestern Baghdad April 29." The number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war is 4058, the number of deaths announced this month so far is 46 which makes April the deadliest month since September when 65 deaths were announced. Lloyd notes Amit R. Paley's "U.S. Role Deepens in Sadr City" (Washington Post):
A four-hour battle Tuesday between U.S. soldiers and Shiite militiamen left at least 28 Iraqis dead in the capital's Sadr City neighborhood, making it one of the bloodiest days in a month of sustained street fighting.
The clashes underscored how deeply U.S. forces have been drawn into heavy combat in the huge Shiite district since Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki unexpectedly launched an offensive in southern Iraq last month against Shiite militias, primarily the Mahdi Army of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
Until Maliki's push into the southern city of Basra, U.S. troops were not intensely engaged in Sadr City, a Baghdad neighborhood of roughly 3 million people that was among the most treacherous areas for U.S. forces early in the war.
But the southern offensive set off a violent chain reaction that spread quickly to Shiite sectors of the capital and has severely strained the cease-fire Sadr imposed on his followers in August and recently reaffirmed. U.S. troops, fighting at times Tuesday on foot and backed by air support, are now engaged in the kind of urban battle within Sadr's stronghold reminiscent of the first years of the war.
Remember when the assault on Basra started and the White House was trying to Happy Talk it as proof of al-Maliki's 'leadership' and 'wisdom'? The Post places the death toll in Sadr City at over 500 with 2,100 wounded. Al Jazeera notes:
Residents of Sadr City claimed that US forces launched two air attacks in the area, that damaged four houses.
However, Stover denied the charge, saying a sandstorm had grounded US helicopters.
He said that US forces used only rockets against the militia.
One thing to be remembers is that al-Maliki keeps talking reconstruction funds -- and al-Maliki's not going to reconstruct anything if his pattern holds. His pattern is to stockpile weapons -- as opposed to distributing to the Iraqi military, to stockpile funds, to use nothing to help the Iraqi people. The current assault on Sadr City most likely means the rubble will still be status of the city in a year or two.
Keesha notes that Barack refuses to debate Hillary again (after his embarrassment last time) and highlights "5,000 Oregonians, Five Hosts, the Register-Guard, One Candidate, All Asking: Where's Our Debate?" (HillaryClinton.com):
PORTLAND, OR -- In just five days, more than 5,000 Oregonians have signed an on-line petition at www.debateoregon.com urging Sen. Barack Obama to join Hillary Clinton in Oregon for two presidential primary debates. Five respected organizations have offered to host an event. And today, the Register-Guard, which earlier endorsed Obama for President, said that "One or more Oregon debates between the two Democratic contenders would be useful to voters in Oregon, the West and throughout the nation."
"Senator Obama is currently spending millions on television ads across our state. Certainly he can spare a day or two to let Oregonians know what he believes beyond his 30-second ads. Just like the Oregon Voters Pamphlet, debates are a wise and time-honored tradition of Oregon's democracy. We have sponsors and we have Oregon support--the only roadblock to historic Oregon debates is Senator Obama."
Last week, Hillary Clinton released the Oregon Compact, an 11-point detailed policy proposal designed to address a number of the specific Federal issues facing Oregon. (Details on the Compact can be found at www.oregoncompact.com) .
Hillary simultaneously invited Obama to join her in Oregon for two debates – one focused on rural issues.
Media, political, government and academic institutions around the state and nationally have already offered to host the event, including:
Willamette University in Salem;
KGW-TV (NBC) in Portland;
KOBI-TV (NBC) in Medford;
PBS/NOVA and the American Association for the Advancement of Science; and
Association of Oregon Counties and Oregon State University Extension Service;
Oregonians who support efforts to give the state a voice in the primary process are urged to sign the petition a www.debateoregon.com.
The e-mail address for this site is email@example.com.
amit r. paley
the washington post