Friday, May 09, 2008
Toll the Bell for the Polls, Part III
Iraqi security forces, after more than of 40 days of intense fighting, on Thursday told residents to evacuate their homes in the northeast Shiite slum of Sadr City and to move to temporary shelters on two soccer fields.
The military's call indicated the possibility of stepped-up military operations and came as Iraqi security forces raided a radio station run by backers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al Sadr. In the southern port city of Basra, militants launched rockets that struck a coalition base, killing two contractors and injuring four civilians and four coalition soldiers.
Sadr City has been a battleground since late March, enduring U.S. airstrikes, militia snipers and gunbattles between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to Sadr.
Already some 8,500 people have been displaced from the sprawling slum of some 2.5 million people, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent. For weeks, food, water and medical shortages have affected about 150,000 people, aid agencies said.
Two soccer fields in east and northeast Baghdad are expected to receive some 16,000 evacuees from the southeast portion of the city where the fighting has been most intense.
The BBC offers one version of the grisly death toll:
In the last seven weeks around 1,000 people have died, and more than 2,500 others have been injured, most of them civilians.
Back to McClatchy:
In most of Sadr City, people haven't had food rations for more than a month and a half, and the Red Crescent has distributed thousands of food packs, 100 tons of flour and supplied four tons of medical supplies to the two main hospitals.
Wonder if this hospital was on the receiving end of those supplies:
IRAQI soldiers yesterday detained dozens of policemen and closed down a hospital suspected of treating Shiite militiamen in a Baghdad stronghold of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army.
Or maybe this one?
So let's recap the scene: the US military and its Iraqi "allies" are laying siege to a sprawling neighborhood in Baghdad housing roughly 2.5 million Iraqis, launching air strikes, artillery attacks, tank shells and other assorted ordnance, shutting down hospitals and bombing others, cutting off the supply of food and walling off entire sectors of the embattled region, causing a refugee crisis by their actions - and now actually pursuing a policy with the intent of creating a larger refugee crisis!
A major hospital in Baghdad's Sadr City slum was damaged Saturday when an American military strike targeted a militia command center just a few yards away, the U.S. military said. [...]
The rocket strike near Sadr Hospital injured 30 people, shattered the windows of ambulances and sent doctors and hospital staff fleeing the scene, hospital officials said.
For what reason: because a majority of residents in these regions support a political movement, and militia, that oppose our presence. Can't have that. Because we have to keep 150,000 troops in Iraq to safeguard the Iraqi people. After all, whose gonna set up the tents in the refugee catch basins we so magnanimously helped set up to receive the overflow from our relentless assault on political movements that would make it harder for us to stay in Iraq. To safeguard the Iraqi people.