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Posted: 8/22/2004 9:45:11 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 9:48:11 AM EST by ArmdLbrl]

U.S. Planes Hit Militias as Tanks Near Najaf Shrine

22 minutes ago Add World - Reuters to My Yahoo!


By Michael Georgy

NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. helicopter gunships pounded Shi'ite militias in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf on Sunday as tanks rumbled to within 800 meters (yards) of a holy shrine at the center of a near three-week insurgency.


Reuters Photo


Reuters
Slideshow: Iraq

Rebels Want To Hand Over Najaf Mosque
(Reuters Video)




Latest headlines:
· Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq Is Released
AP - 13 minutes ago
· Kidnapped reporters: the "curse" of Baghdad's Dulaimi hotel
AFP - 22 minutes ago
· U.S. Planes Hit Militias as Tanks Near Najaf Shrine
Reuters - 22 minutes ago
Special Coverage





With talks aimed at ending the siege of the Imam Ali mosque stalled, U.S. forces appeared to have tightened their noose around the old city, a stronghold of rebels loyal to radical Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.


Near Najaf, clashes between U.S. troops and militias on Saturday killed 40 people in the town of Kufa, a Shi'ite bastion from where Sadr has led Friday prayers. Interior Ministry officials said the dead were militias and civilians.


In volatile Anbar province, three U.S. marines were killed in action on Saturday, the U.S. military said in a statement. Since the start of the war last year to oust Saddam Hussein (news - web sites), 714 American troops have been killed in action.


Rounds of heavy-caliber fire from armored vehicles rattled across the labyrinth of narrow streets that lead to the gold-domed mosque in Najaf, where Mehdi militias remain holed up in defiance of a government demand they disband and leave.


A Reuters witness said U.S. tanks advanced to their closest positions to the shrine since the siege began and drew mortar fire from Mehdi militias.


There were no immediate reports of casualties from the latest fighting, which erupted after negotiators failed to agree on the terms of a handover of the mosque by Sadr's forces to Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq (news - web sites)'s most respected Shi'ite cleric.


Earlier on Sunday, a U.S. military gunship unleashed rapid cannon and howitzer fire on the rebels.


Sadr, a young firebrand who has become a major headache for the U.S.-backed interim government, has insisted Sistani send a delegation to take an inventory of precious items in the mosque -- thought to include jewelry, relics and carpets -- to head off any claim Sadr's men had stolen anything.


Sistani, in London recovering from surgery, has said he cannot form the committee in the current circumstances. Speaking through his aides, the elusive Sadr, who has called for an end to the U.S. military occupation, had earlier said his militia would continue to guard the mosque after any handover.


CHALLENGE TO NEW GOVERNMENT


The uprising, in which hundreds have died, has helped drive world oil prices to record highs and is a brazen challenge to the authority of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who took over from U.S.-led occupiers only two months ago.


Allawi had threatened to storm the mosque, but any bloody takeover could infuriate Iraq's majority Shi'ite population and further destabilize the country ahead of scheduled elections in January. The mosque is the holiest Shi'ite shrine in Iraq.


Qasim Daoud, a minister of state in Allawi's government, told a Baghdad news conference time was running out.


"When we say there are hours to military action, we mean it. We are counting the hours," he said. "Our forces are ready. But our hands are also open to any political answer."


North of Baghdad, a suicide car bomb blew up near a convoy carrying Iraqi officials near the restive town of Baquba, killing two people and wounding eight, a police officer said.


The car bomber appeared to have been targeting Ghasan al-Ghadren, the town's deputy mayor, police said. The official was slightly wounded, the health ministry said.





An Indonesian worker and two Iraqis were killed during a road ambush in the northern city of Mosul in which a Filipino was also wounded, Iraqi police said.

The Filipino told Reuters he and the Indonesian were engineers working for a unit of Siemens, but a spokesman for the German conglomerate said he had no information yet.

Foreigners have become prime targets. An Islamic militant group posted pictures on its Website of 12 Nepalis it says it is holding hostage because of their cooperation with U.S. forces.

Al Jazeera television said an American journalist held hostage by one group had been freed. (Additional reporting by Waleed Ibrahim in Baghdad)




U.S. Warplanes Bomb Najaf's Old City

Sun Aug 22, 9:02 AM ET

By ABDUL HUSSEIN AL-OBEIDI, Associated Press Writer

NAJAF, Iraq - U.S. warplanes bombed Najaf's Old City and gunfire rattled on Sunday amid fears a plan to end the standoff with radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr could collapse. An Iraqi mediator pleaded with al-Sadr's fighters to clear out of the revered shrine at the center of the crisis.


AP Photo


Reuters
Slideshow: Iraq

U.S. Soldiers, Militiamen Clash in Najaf
(AP Video)




Latest headlines:
· Journalist Kidnapped in Iraq Is Released
AP - 2 minutes ago
· Kidnapped reporters: the "curse" of Baghdad's Dulaimi hotel
AFP - 29 minutes ago
· U.S. Planes Hit Militias as Tanks Near Najaf Shrine
Reuters - 29 minutes ago
Special Coverage





U.S. forces also appeared Sunday to have sealed off the Old City where al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia is holed up, restoring a cordon that had been loosened in recent days, when peace efforts were making progress.


Militiamen and U.S. forces clashed sporadically in Najaf throughout Sunday morning. At least three people were killed and 18 injured during fighting overnight, said Tawfiq Mohammed of Najaf General Hospital.


Early Sunday, U.S. warplanes bombed the Old City, scene of much of the fighting, and the sounds of shelling could be heard in the streets, witnesses said. The U.S. military could not confirm the bombing, but said operations in Najaf were ongoing.


Three mortar shells exploded near a police station that has repeatedly been attacked by al-Sadr fighters. No one was injured, witnesses said.


Fighting in the nearby city of Kufa on Saturday killed 40 of the militants, according to a source in the Interior Ministry. However, Mahmoud al-Soudani, head of al-Sadr's office in west Baghdad, called the claim "government propaganda" and said only one militant had died in Kufa Saturday.


An unofficial mediator and distant relative of the militant leader pleaded with al-Sadr to disarm his militants, pull them out of the shrine and disband his militia immediately.


"We are in a race with time," said Hussein al-Sadr, who earlier in the week presented a peace offer that the firebrand cleric accepted. Since then, however, efforts to end the crisis have begun to unravel as al-Sadr's followers bicker with Shiite religious authorities over how to hand over control of the Imam Ali Shrine, which fighters have used as a refuge since the violence erupted on Aug. 5.


In separate violence north of Baghdad on Sunday, a car bomb exploded in the town of Khalis, killing two people and injuring 14 others, including a deputy provincial governor, Bassam al-Khadran, who was lightly wounded, Iraqi officials said.


A suicide bomber detonated the car, laden with explosives, as al-Khadran was traveling to work in a small convoy, said Gen. Waleed al-Azawi, chief of police for Diyala province. Both fatalities and seven of the injured were al-Khadran's bodyguards, he said. One civilian was also wounded.


In Jur al-Nadaf, 12 miles south of Baghdad, attackers sprayed a police vehicle with machine-gun fire, killing two policemen before fleeing, said police Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman of the Interior Ministry.


In Baghdad, assailants fired two mortar shells into the city center on Sunday, wounding at least one civilian and damaging a shop and several houses, said Abdul-Rahman.


In the southern city of Basra, an Iraqi intelligence officer kidnapped nearly a week ago and threatened with death if U.S. and Iraqi forces did not end the violence in Najaf was found dead, his body riddled with bullets, police said Sunday.


In a video shown Tuesday on the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera television station, a group calling itself the Defense of the Holy Sites Brigades said they had snatched the man.


Abdul Jawad's body was found in a deserted area Saturday, said Basra police commander Brig. Gen. Mohammed Kadhim al-Ali. It wasn't clear if the group was behind Abdul Jawad's slaying.


On Saturday in Najaf, U.S. troops and al-Sadr's fighters fought brief but heavy clashes, punctuated by gunfire and explosions, with one blast hitting the street 50 yards from the Imam Ali Shrine.


Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi threatened last week to wrest the shrine from the Mahdi Army by force, an operation that risked risked turning the nation's majority Shiites against the government.





Allawi backed off that threat when the crisis appeared on the verge of resolution Friday. Insurgents removed their weapons from the shrine — though they retained control of it and armed fighters remained around it. Al-Sadr said he was prepared to turn the holy site over to representatives of Iraq (news - web sites)'s top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani.

But the transfer bogged down Saturday amid arguments over its implementation; al-Sadr aides said they tried to give the shrine's keys to al-Sistani's representatives, who refused to accept them.

In a hastily called news conference in Baghdad on Saturday evening, Hussein al-Sadr, who had headed a peace delegation to Najaf earlier in the week, appealed to the militants to end the standoff "to keep the sanctity of our holy sites, to ease the suffering of Najaf and to quiet the situation."

Muqtada al-Sadr himself has not been seen in days, but al-Soudani said Sunday that the cleric was in good health and remained in Najaf.

The standoff has frustrated many in Najaf, who have suffered cuts in their water and electricity, had their streets rocked by explosions and seen scores of their innocent neighbors killed since the fighting started Aug. 5.

"All parties are stalling," said Saeed Mohammed, 41. "There has been no change, only more shelling and clashes that have hurt the city even more."

Meanwhile, guards at a prison in the southern city of Amarah helped 82 prisoners — all common criminals — escape early Sunday, a prison official said.

Fifty-seven of the escapees were recaptured, and the remainder were being sought, said Lt. Col. Nadhim Zayer Hattab, the director of Amarah's Central Prison.

"There was a deal between some prison guards and prisoners," he said. "There was no attack on the prison."




U.S. military launches attack outside Najaf shrine



NAJAF, Iraq (CNN) -- U.S. forces attacked Mehdi Army positions outside the Imam Ali Mosque in Najaf on Sunday, as Iraq reported at least 56 Iraqis have been killed throughout the nation in a 24-hour period.

In addition to those killed in fighting from 9 a.m. Saturday to the same time Sunday, Iraq's Ministry of Health reported 50 Iraqis were wounded.

In Najaf, where the most deadly fighting raged, 49 Iraqis were killed and 27 wounded, Iraq's Ministry of Health reported.

Explosions lit up the sky over the city shortly after midnight (4 p.m. Saturday ET.)

The health ministry did not say how many of the dead were civilians or Mehdi fighters, who are loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, but U.S. military officials estimated 30 of them were Mehdi fighters.

Those U.S. officials said there were no U.S. casualties.

U.S. troops and warplanes pounded Mehdi Army positions outside the mosque early Sunday, U.S. military officials said. Forces had traded sporadic gunfire all day Saturday.

U.S. military officials said their troops were backed by tanks and fire from AC-130 aerial gunships.

Later Sunday morning, fighting appeared to ease while several hundred people remained inside awaiting a delegation of Shia religious authorities who are expected to assume custody of the shrine.

Al-Sadr's representatives had vowed to vacate the holy shrine as soon as possible after handing it over to Shiite leaders, but a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani told al-Sadr's lieutenants the leaders would not accept the keys to the holy shrine until fighting calmed down.

Al-Sistani is in London for medical treatment, but the al-Sadr envoy told CNN the grand ayatollah's representative promised to call for more guidance from al-Sistani himself.

Representatives for al-Sistani have confirmed that the influential Shiite cleric "instructed his office in Najaf" to make arrangements to have control of the mosque turned over to the Shiite religious authority.

Al-Sistani ordered his office "to take the keys" from al-Sadr's people "to the holy shrine in Najaf." The al-Sistani representatives have also been told to lock the mosque doors after the fighters leave.

Meanwhile, a distant relative of al-Sadr, Hussein al-Sadr, led a delegation to Najaf Saturday night and urged Muqtada al-Sadr to write a letter acknowledging his agreement with an Iraqi National Conference call to stop fighting and join the political process.

Hussein al-Sadr, a member of the conference, said his relative had been informed about his request but had made no decision.

No weapons were visible inside Saturday as several hundred men, along with some women and at least one child, rested and slept during Iraq's fierce afternoon heat. Instead of guns, the fighters were armed with brooms as they cleaned the shrine for the promised handover.

There was no immediate word on the location of al-Sadr, who was at one time believed to be inside the mosque but later was said to be elsewhere. Al-Sadr did not deliver his usual weekly sermon in Kufa on Friday, sources said.

When asked his whereabouts, an al-Sadr aide told CNN: "He's in the hearts of all those who are faithful."

The Ministry of Health also reported that between Saturday at 9 a.m. and Sunday at 9 a.m., an Iraqi was killed in Baghdad along with 20 wounded. In the city of Kut, one Iraqi was killed and two others were wounded and in Diwaniya, Iraq, one Iraqi was wounded.

Five Iraqis were killed in Al-Anbar province, the province that includes the city of Falluja, the site of so much fighting between Iraqis and U.S.-led forces. Details about the casualties were not immediately available.

Other developments

A car bomb Sunday morning targeting the deputy governor of Iraq's Diyala province killed two of his bodyguards and wounded seven others -- including deputy governor Bassem al-Khadran -- according to officials from Iraq's interior and health ministries. The other wounded were four of al-Khadran's bodyguards and two civilians. (Full story) It was unclear if the attack was included in the Iraqi Ministry of Health death toll.
CNN's Kianne Sadeq in Najaf, CNN's Matthew Chance and CNN's Kevin Flower in Baghdad contributed to this report.





A U.S. Army soldier lifts up rocket launcher while guarding a cordon of the southern Iraq (news - web sites) city of Najaf's old town, August 22, 2004. U.S. helicopter gunships pounded Shi'ite militias in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf on Sunday as tanks rumbled to within 800 meters (yards) of a holy shrine at the center of a near three-week insurgency. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani





U.S. Army soldiers search a building after moving forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)

Link Posted: 8/22/2004 9:47:42 AM EST
About fucking time!

Let's end this BS NOW!!!
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 9:54:43 AM EST


A U.S. Army tank commander patrols in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), as troops moved forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)





A U.S. Army soldier breaks a window with his rifle during a gun battle with insurgents after moving forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)





A U.S. Army Bradley armored vehicle maneuvers during a firefight with Iraqi Shi'ite militia near the edge of Najaf's old town August 22, 2004. U.S. tanks advanced to within 800 yards of the Imam Ali mosque in the Iraqi city of Najaf on Sunday after talks on surrendering control of the shrine at the center of an 18-day siege ran into trouble. REUTERS/Chris Helgren





A U.S. Army Bradley armored vehicle rolls over a broken wall in the southern Iraq (news - web sites) city of Najaf August 22, 2004. U.S. helicopter gun ships pounded Shi'ite militias in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf on Sunday as tanks rumbled to within 800 meters (yards) of a holy shrine at the center of a near three-week insurgency. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani



A U.S. Army soldier searches a building after moving forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 9:55:01 AM EST


Caption: "You assholes like RPG's, huh? Like shootin' RPG's at our guys? I got somethin' for ya..."
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 9:55:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By NYPatriot:
About fucking time!

Let's end this BS NOW!!!



I hope so, but the Iraqis seem more interested in treating him like Yassar Arafat. Kill off his army and leave him in the Shrine forever.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 9:57:26 AM EST
Nice photos but where's the M1 Garand photo?
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:00:57 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 10:05:50 AM EST by Sub-MOA]

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:




Look at the grin on this guy's face.

I hope he puts that rocket straight into some Shiite's ass... better yet, several of them.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:00:58 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 10:07:39 AM EST by thompsondd]
I'm amazd at the pic of the guy breaking the window out to secure a firing position. There are windows in Najaf that HAVEN'T been broken???? Man, a MOAB right smack in the middle of Najaf would eliminate all remaining windows AND the shithead militia.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:01:15 AM EST


U.S. Army soldiers search an alley while moving forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)





U.S. Army soldiers search a building after moving forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)





A U.S. Army soldier fires a machine gun during a gun battle with insurgents after moving forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)





A U.S. Army soldier searches a building after moving forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)


Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:06:46 AM EST


As much as I hate journalists, this is a good combat photo.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:07:31 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 10:12:23 AM EST by ArmdLbrl]
I am still looking for pics of M1 tanks, other than that one of a TC looking over his .50.

The text articles say they are there but no pics yet.

Meanwhile



One of Sadr's monkeys with a drone, they are so backward they think capturing a disposable RPV is a major coup!



YAAY! Found one!

A US tank aims its cannon down an alleyway in Najaf. Heavy shooting and mortar fire erupted near the Imam Ali shrine in the holy city of Najaf, as Shiite Muslim militiamen clashed with US troops.(AFP/Ahmad Al-Rubaye)


You do NOT want to be in that alley for 400+ meters down range when it lets fly with a XM1024 Cannister-1100 .40cal TUNGSTIN spheres that will penetrate even LIV body armor.

You know our guys are REALLY diciplined cause half these photos are taken by men with ARAB names.

Its amazing some of them havent been killed yet- what would YOUR first reaction be if you saw a Arab point a tubular thingy at you? "RPG!" BLAM BLAM BLAM!

And then theres this lot:


Masked Iraqi police officers drive on patrol in Najaf August 22, 2004. U.S. tanks advanced to within 800 yards of the Imam Ali mosque in the Iraqi city after talks on surrendering control of the shrine at the center of an 18-day siege ran into trouble. (Ali Jasim/Reuters)



Get some uniforms people! Christ how are we supposed to tell them apart from the bad guys
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:11:18 AM EST

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Its amazing some of them havent been killed yet- what would YOUR first reaction be if you saw a Arab point a tubular thingy at you? "RPG!" BLAM BLAM BLAM!



That happened twice so far, at least. Once at the Palestine Hotel and once a few days later.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:11:19 AM EST
SWEET!


About damn time!
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:12:50 AM EST
Let be the first to say that I am SO thankful to live in a country that not only affords personal freedom, but doesn't look like a broken, delapidated SHITHOLE.

Thank God for the troops.

God Bless the USA.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:16:17 AM EST
And last night SPOOKY paid Najaf a vist too.


U.S. aircrafts make new attacks on Najaf
8/22/2004 12:36:00 PM GMT

Fighting appeared to focus on the suburbs but smoke drifted over the old city


Source: BBC

A U.S. warplane has made a fresh attack on the Iraqi holy city of Najaf early Sunday, where talks with religious officials have been postponed again.

An AC-130 aerial gunship poured rapid cannon and howitzer fire into the streets as Shiite fighters pumped tracer rounds skyward, a witness said.

Fighting appeared to focus on the suburbs but smoke drifted over the old city where the holy Imam Ali shrine is located.

Fighters loyal to Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr still hold the shrine after 17 days of continuous fighting.

The city was relatively clam on Saturday as Al Sadr aides negotiated with senior Shia clergy on handing over control of the holy Imam Ali shrine, but violence erupted again early on Sunday.

Streets echoed with explosions as flashes and tracer fire punctuated the dark.

Talks delayed

About 1,000 unarmed Al Sadr followers are believed to be inside the shrine whereas armed fighters of the Mehdi Army roam the streets and Najaf's vast cemetery.

Some civilians said they were forming a human shield to prevent American attacks.

U.S. tanks and armored vehicles have ringed the city centre.

The whereabouts of Mr Sadr remains unclear.

An aide told reporters on Saturday that talks on handing over control of the shrine to the top Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, was delayed.

Mr Sadr was asking for Ayatollah Sistani to send a delegation to take an inventory of precious items in the mosque, said the aide, Ali Smeisim.

He said Mr Sadr wanted to make sure his men won’t be accused of stealing anything.

'American cowards'

A spokesman for Mr Sadr has said the cleric's army will continue to protect the site from the outside, preventing Iraqi and U.S. forces from entering it.

One of Al Sadr fighters said that he and his comrades were ready to fight Americans "hand to hand".

"They are cowards. They stay thousands of feet away in their airplanes. They are scared, they know we will slaughter them," he said.

American forces said they had clashed briefly with the rebels on Saturday, deploying an Apache helicopter gunship after coming under mortar attack.

Full coverage...



Haven't found any photos yet though
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:28:40 AM EST


A U.S. Army soldier fires a machine gun during a gun battle with insurgents after moving forward into a position closer to the Imam Ali Shrine in Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites), Sunday, Aug. 22, 2004. (AP Photo/Jim MacMillan)


A M249 not using the belt box?
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:30:50 AM EST
SWEET
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:30:55 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:32:34 AM EST


Guy on the left is the super gay blade.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:40:57 AM EST
Article from The Belmont Club

on the bizzare behavior of al Sadr's men in Najaf.


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Strange Days
A Newsweek article describes the festival-like atmosphere within the area surrounded by US troops in Najaf.

Townspeople make their way to the mosque at all hours, night and day, for prayers and companionship. They generally seem calm and comfortable, even when —the shelling outside is heavy. At night, festoons of colored lights cast a carnival glow on the men who stand and chat in the mosque's vast courtyard. During the day—between gun battles, anyway—the place almost resembles a big cookout, when huge stew pots are set up in the rubble outside the south gate beneath a canopy of fallen electrical lines, and plates of rice with tomato sauce are served to all comers. ...

At times the insurgents act as if the siege is practically a street party. One afternoon I met a dozen or so guerrillas a few blocks from the shrine, racing east through the deserted neighborhood toward the U.S. line. The group's leader, just out of his teens and built like a wrestler, was running barefoot, apparently not bothered by the shrapnel that covered the pavement. He said his name was Ali; he and his men had traveled from the far northern city of Mosul to join al-Sadr's revolt. They were going to attack an American armored vehicle. Almost within sight of their target, they were greeted by other pro-Sadr fighters from Nasiriya and Karbala. The youngest of the group, spotting a poster of al-Sadr on a nearby wall, asked me to photograph him with it. At that, the whole bunch broke into a wild dance, bouncing and chanting: "Moqtada! Moqtada!" Then mortars began hammering the area, and I left for safer ground. I haven't seen Ali since.

A strange sort of festival where the lights and faucets work and men fire from positions lit by colored lights. The fighting at Najaf isn't just a military operation, it's an event: a scene. Scott Baldauf of the Christian Science Monitor, who organized a convoy into the Ali shrine on August 20, when it seemed likely that it would be assaulted was surprised to find acquaintances from Baghdad when he got there:

Inside the shrine itself, there were no weapons to be seen, but there were hundreds of Mahdi Army supporters, some of them familiar faces from a demonstration one week ago in Baghdad. They were voluntary human shields, the youngest perhaps 8 years old, the oldest 70. Together, they marched around and chanted, turning an impromptu press photo op into a punk rock mosh pit.

We were led around to the north side of the shrine and into an air-conditioned office, where al-Sadr's spokesmen, Sheikh Ali Smeisim, gave a news conference. Smeisim's statement was a complete reversal of what we had been told. He said that al-Sadr had accepted all of the conditions of the National Conference delegation, although he was unable to meet the delegation in person because of concerns for his safety.

The political conditions under which the campaign against Sadr is being conducted has created scenarios that have no parallel in military history bar none, and quite possibly, since the world began. Rice and sauce served to all comers beside field hospitals; chanting punctuated by heavy machine firing; extreme vitality juxtaposed with death. Here is camaraderie souped up with adrenaline and fame, where the difference between momentary celebrity as the object of interest of a Newsweek reporter and the cold silence of the tomb are the seconds it takes for an 81 mm mortar round to arc over a thousand yards. The gulf between Moqtada Al Sadr's boys and the followers of Grand Ayatollah Sistani may in the end be wider than Koranic learning. It is generational. Sadr, a young man still in his thirties, has provided that magnetic, almost irresistible draw: a place for young people where something is happening. He sets up the situation, America provides the music and the rave begins. 'I tell ya, I wuz there man', in Arabic, casts the same spell it does for youth the world over. The strange thing is that the Marine teenagers on the other side will be writing the same lines, in English, to their parents and friends back home, where in exact symmetry their elders are debating Najaf not in terms of the Koran, as Sistani's adherents are wont, but through the prism of riverine actions in Vietnam thirty five years ago, and congratulate themselves for being more scientific.

Yet the present has a way of destroying the past. Critics who accuse President Bush of widening the war by pursuing Sadr often forget that wars widen both ways. It would be equally valid to say that Iran has widened the war against Iraq by keeping the pot simmering in Najaf. Sadr, as the bellweather of Teheran, has as much as declared a steel cage death match with Prime Minister Allawie. Those who accuse President Bush of living in the past often do so as ghostly voices from the mists of the Mekong Delta. The party which started on September 11 can return to America or it can finish up in Teheran. The one that happened in Vietnam ended a long time ago.

But it's too late to say you're sorry
How would I know, why should I care
Please don't bother tryin' to find her
She's not there

Well let me tell you 'bout the way she looked
The way she'd act and the color of her hair
Her voice was soft and cool
Her eyes were clear and bright
But she's not there
The Zombies




Talk about cultic behavior, these people are in their own world that exists only in their heads. You cannot reason with people like this.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:43:15 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 10:44:01 AM EST by Agcsy]

Originally Posted By 6172crew:
us.news2.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/nm/20040822/mdf668511.jpg

Guy on the left is the super gay blade.



No thats Zoro dude. He traded in his rapier for a AK. You should see him shoot him name in stuff.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:51:56 AM EST
Iraq at a Glance

Is quoting Iraqi Radio as saying that al Sadr has kidnapped three rival Shiite clerics. Possible human shields for his departure?


Sunday, August 22, 2004
… According to AlIraqiya channel: ‘Unknown armed men in AlNajaf kidnapped
Grand Ayatollah Mahdi AlKhurasani
Grand Ayatollah Ridah AlMar’ashi
Grand Ayatollah Mahdi AlHakeem
After they’ve been assaulted and beaten…’
If this is true, then the situation in AlNajaf is getting so dangerous day by day, who dares to do that to those so respectable men in AlNajaf?



# posted by ays @ 6:31 PM Comments (14) | Trackback (0)

Eyewitnesses from AlNajaf
As you know many families fled AlNajaf city because of the heavy clashes there (as most of the media shows), but yesterday, our neighbors’ relatives who are Najafis ran away and decided to live here in Baghdad not only because of the clashes, but mostly because of AlSadr’s followers, he said: ‘they aren’t from AlNajaf, they came from other governorates and especially from those low and mean suburbs well-known in their crimes, this militia is full of crap, we are so afraid of them, some of the residents were forced to join the militia otherwise they would be killed..we got out of our homes because of those thugs why don’t those reporters show the poor residents and let them say all of what’s going on there?’..
His wife said: ‘My God..I couldn’t tolerate the scenes, those dirty mean criminals are everywhere, I am afraid of them, they kidnapped the IP, tortured and killed them..I hope to God the government will finish them all..I hope that..I hope that..’ she was so frightened…
Another witness is our relatives, we called their parent here in Baghdad and knew that they also fled AlNajaf, they said: ‘AlSadr’s criminals are writing on the walls of AlSistani’s and the houses near saying “You are an American agent” and “We will kill you”…..what a nerve! How could they do that?’
‘All the residents there are so frightened and upset, they want those criminals to be killed soon, Najafis are so peaceful and kind people, those liars say that all the militia men are from AlNajaf, they are liars, we don’t know them, they are criminals, God burn them all…….’ He added.
The problem is those families can not say all of this openly on the channels, they would be killed at once, you know, those gangs would do anything to get them, so all the residents kept silent and waiting for the government to arrest or kill those criminals.
AlSadr and his thieves are still inside the Shrine and there are debates regarding its keys, I bet that those thugs have stolen many things there, this shrine contains many precious things, gold, money and other items, that’s why AlSistani bureau insists on forming a commission to inspect and examine the contents of the shrine to make sure of everything inside the shrine before taking over the shrine.
…..
When Muqtada’s followers are in the streets shouting and acclaiming for their ‘leader’, nobody dares to do anything against them.
But if the millions who want Muqtada to be arrested or killed did the same thing they would be brutally killed.
This is the answer for those who ask naively: ‘why don’t you arrange a demonstration against Muqtada?’ we aren’t in London or New York! We are waiting for the government to put an end to those thugs.



# posted by ays @ 1:19 PM Comments (16) | Trackback (0)


Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:53:05 AM EST

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Talk about cultic behavior, these people are in their own world that exists only in their heads. You cannot reason with people like this.




Happily they apparently

a)can't shoot for shit.

b)have no knoweldge of military tactics

c)Can't grasp cover and concealment

etc.

Man, if I was the NVA/VC I'd be kinda offended by the comparisons some people like to make.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 10:59:28 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:00:19 AM EST
It says that they are now within 800 yards of the place. Our snipers should have a FIELD day if any hajis pop their heads out.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:03:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By thompsondd:
Let be the first to say that I am SO thankful to live in a country that not only affords personal freedom, but doesn't look like a broken, delapidated SHITHOLE.
.



Yeah, I'm glad I dont live in Mexico too.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:10:58 AM EST
I thought that they'd all agreed on a deal that would end the fighting at the mosque? What happened that started this again?

I was disappointed when I thought the battle wasn't gonna be finished, but it looks like it's back on again. I haven't watched the news at all today, so I guess there were more developments I didn't know about. Thanks for the heads-up.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:15:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:
I thought that they'd all agreed on a deal that would end the fighting at the mosque? What happened that started this again?

I was disappointed when I thought the battle wasn't gonna be finished, but it looks like it's back on again. I haven't watched the news at all today, so I guess there were more developments I didn't know about. Thanks for the heads-up.



Ask Al Sadr, he pulled out of the confrence.

The last cease fire, his "proposal" called for unilateral withdrawl of US and Goverment forces and their ackowledgement of his own Sheikdom around Najaf.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:21:56 AM EST
Those are our boys over there, our brothers. Keep them in our prayers, fellas.

Godspeed.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:23:09 AM EST
Sam at Hammourabi.com

reports that al Sadr has fled the shrine and moved to one of his religous schools. That makes no sense since if we really had a inkling he was in a place like that we would just JDAM it. But that is one report out of the area- which is better than the reporting we are getting from the "professional" media.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:28:56 AM EST
Check this out, posted by
The Mesopotamian with more about the abductions of Shite holy men by al Sadr's thugs.


Sunday, August 22, 2004
THE REAL SOLDIERS OF GOD
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Who are the desecrators of the holy shrine and who are the defenders? Who are the aggressors and who are the saviors? Who will hear the real voice of the people of Najaf? - The poor crucified people of Najaf. Does anybody really know what is happening in that ravaged city? Does anybody know that poor families, old men, women and children, are dying in their houses of thirst and hunger in that poor old city, not to mention the bombs and bullets? Does anybody know that the sickening stench of death is filling the air of the narrow side alleys and old antique quarters of that most ancient and venerable town of learning that has always been affluent and flourishing throughout the ages. Yes, friends, the poor people have nowhere to go, they simply die in their houses in the old city. A human tragedy of fearful proportion is taking place now and in these hours that I am writing these lines.

Those occupying and desecrating the holy shrine are almost all completely alien to the city and with faces unseen before by the real locals. Some are not even Iraqi and do not even speak the Arabic language. I tell you this is the truth. Vicious aliens, whether foreigners or criminals and thugs from other provinces, have invaded the great Imams’ resting place. Heinous crimes have been perpetrated against the Najaf people including murder, mutilation, kidnapping and arrest of ordinary people policemen and religious leaders; and please note that this was not done by the Americans, or by the IP or the IDC. That is the truth as God is my witness. Just today, a most venerable religious scholar “Sayed Mahdi Al Hakim” who had been a guest in Saddam Prisons for almost 12 years, has been beaten badly and led to un unknown location by a gang belonging to these occupiers of the shrine. They are surrounding all the venerable religious leaders of Najaf and threatening them. Contrary to the rumor that these leaders have left the old city, none has done so, except Al Sistani, who is receiving treatment in London.

While the politicians are maneuvering and uttering diplomatic niceties, the tragedy goes on. The valiant Marines and the IP and ICDC eager to save their city and evict the desecrators of the shrine, are being held in check, when the human and religious duty call for the immediate settling of this affair and ending of this tragedy. Who are the defenders of the faith? Who are the saviors? You may say what you say, but you must know that this great Imam has great favor with the Lord, and whoever comes to his rescue is blessed by heaven. They say the Americans are desecrating the holly place. No and a thousand times no. The Americans are helping the people of Najaf, they are now truly defending the shrine and attacking a murderous gang, attacking the desecrators and coming to the rescue of the holy shrine. Glory and blessings will descend on these valiant fighters, they may not know it but they are going to be blessed and aided by invisible forces. Now I think that the voices of the politicians and cowards should be completely ignored and the great alliance that has been forged between the people of Najaf and their American friends, which is one of most solid than anywhere else in Iraq, should be the basis of one great effort that will clean the town and liberate the shrine of our great Imam. This will raise them high in the eyes of the Lord and the Iraqi people and send the right message to all the terrorists and criminals.

May the mercy of the Lord and his blessings descend upon the Saviors of the Shrine and may his great invisible hand grant them victory and wisdom.

Salaam

Alaa




A Muslim calling US soldiers the REAL SOLDIERS OF GOD! Times are a changing.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:37:11 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:49:09 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 11:49:38 AM EST by Sub-MOA]
The one good thing about the duration of this "siege" is we are sucking in militants from everywhere.

The difficult thing about fighting a guerrilla war is getting the "bad guys" to stand up and say "I'm a bad guy." If you can get the bastards to pick up a gun while they are standing down range of an M1A1, three quarters of the battle is over.

By the time this is over, "the militants" on the Shiite side of the fence should be bled dry for awhile.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:55:41 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 12:02:56 PM EST by ArmdLbrl]
Update fromAssociated Press

U.S. Soldiers, Militants Clash in Najaf

1 hour, 19 minutes ago

By ABDUL HUSSEIN AL-OBEIDI, Associated Press Writer

NAJAF, Iraq - Explosions and gunfire shook Najaf's Old City on Sunday in a fierce battle between U.S. forces and Shiite militants, as negotiations dragged on for the handover of the revered shrine that the fighters have used for their stronghold.

Also Sunday, five U.S. troops were reported dead in separate incidents, and an American journalist held hostage for more than a week and threatened with death if U.S. forces did not leave Najaf was released by his captors.


The violence in Najaf on Sunday appeared more intense than in recent days. U.S. forces sealed off Najaf's Old City and bombed the militants with warplanes. But Iraqi government officials counseled patience, saying they intended to resolve the crisis without raiding the Imam Ali Shrine, one of Shia Islam's holiest sites.


"The government will leave no stone unturned to reach a peaceful settlement," Iraqi National Security adviser Mouaffaq al-Rubaie told The Associated Press. "It has no intention or interest in killing more people or having even the most trivial damage to the shrine. We have a vested interest in a peaceful settlement."


Senior government officials said last week an Iraqi force was preparing to raid the shrine within hours to expel the militants loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, but interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi quickly backed off that threat.


Such an operation would anger Shiites across the country and could turn them against the new government as it tries to gain legitimacy and tackle a 16-month-old insurgency.


In the Anbar province, the heart of the Sunni insurgency, four U.S. Marines with the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force were killed in separate incidents, the military announced Sunday.


One Marine was killed in action Saturday and two others died Saturday of wounds received while conducting "security and stability operations" in the province, the military said. Another Marine was killed Saturday when his Humvee flipped after running into a tank, the military said.


A roadside bomb attack Sunday targeting a U.S. military convoy outside the northern city of Mosul killed one U.S. soldier assigned to Task Force Olympia and wounded another, the military said. The injured soldier was in stable condition. Two Iraqi children also were injured in the blast, said Dr. Mohammed Ahmed of al-Jumhuri hospital.


As of Friday, 949 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq (news - web sites) in March 2003, according to the U.S. Defense Department.


Late Sunday, U.S. journalist Micah Garen, who was kidnapped Aug. 13 in the southern city of Nasiriyah, was released along with his Iraqi translator at al-Sadr's offices there after the cleric's aides appealed for his freedom.


Garen and his translator, Amir Doushi, were walking through a market when two armed men in civilian clothes seized them, police said. Insurgents later released a video of Garen and threatened to kill him if U.S. troops did not leave Najaf.


In a brief interview with the pan-Arab television station Al-Jazeera after his release, Garen thanked al-Sadr's representatives for their work, which included an appeal to the kidnappers during Friday prayers.


Sheik Aws al-Khafaji, an al-Sadr aide, said the kidnappers mistakenly had thought Garen was working for the U.S. intelligence services.


"The kidnappers listened to the call that we made during Friday prayers, and they contacted us and we asked them to bring him to (al-Sadr's) office and promised that no one would pursue them," al-Khafaji said.


In Najaf, U.S. tanks rumbled down deserted streets Sunday, while sporadic gunfire filled the air. The roads leading to the shrine were muddied and filled with chunks of concrete ripped from the streets. Black smoke trailed from a building, as the clatter of automatic gunfire rang out.


In the afternoon a fierce battle between the military and al-Sadr's militants broke out when insurgents launched a mortar barrage at U.S. troops, witnesses said. Calm returned to the city after about half an hour.

U.S. forces sealed off the Old City, the center of the more than two weeks of fighting here, restoring a cordon that had been loosened in recent days.

Several mortar attacks targeted police offices in the city, but no one was injured, officials said.

Early Sunday, U.S. warplanes bombed the Old City and the sounds of shelling could be heard in the streets, witnesses said. The U.S. military could not confirm the bombing.

At least three people were killed and 18 injured during overnight fighting, said Tawfiq Mohammed of Najaf General Hospital.

Fighting in the nearby city of Kufa on Saturday killed 40 militants, according to the Interior Ministry. However, Mahmoud al-Soudani, an al-Sadr aide, called the claim "government propaganda" and said only one militant had been killed.

Al-Sadr himself has not been seen in public in days, but al-Soudani said the cleric was in good health and remained in Najaf.

The crisis in Najaf, which has spread to other Shiite communities, appeared on the verge of resolution Friday, when insurgents agreed to turn over the shrine to representatives of Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani.

But the transfer has bogged down amid quibbling over technicalities. Representatives from both sides said Sunday they were still working out the details.

Al-Rubaie said the government was willing to wait while the two sides worked out an agreement on the shrine, but added that al-Sadr needed to dismantle his Mahdi militia as well to end the violence.

"He has to show definite signs that he agrees, whether going on television or signing an agreement promising that he will disband the army," he said. "It's very important. We cannot live in a peaceful, democratic country with a militia."

Also Sunday, Polish Defense Minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski paid a visit to his troops in Iraq and said the persistent attacks here would not deter Poland from fulfilling its commitments.

Attending a memorial Mass for a Polish soldier killed in a bombing Saturday, he said: "Let us make a vow that his death will not be in vain, that we will go on with our mission." Poland has about 2,400 troops in Iraq.

In other violence Sunday:

_ A suicide attacker detonated a car bomb alongside the convoy carrying a deputy provincial governor, Bassam al-Khadran, in the town of Khalis, north of Baghdad. The blast killed two people and injured 14 others, including al-Khadran, Iraqi officials said.

_ In Jur al-Nadaf, 12 miles south of Baghdad, attackers sprayed a police vehicle with machine-gun fire, killing two policemen before fleeing, said Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman of the Interior Ministry.

_ In Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on a car, killing an Indonesian citizen and injuring a Filipino, hospital officials said. Two Iraqis, the car's driver and a bodyguard, were also killed in the attack, Dr. Dhia Taha said.

_ In the southern city of Basra, an Iraqi intelligence officer kidnapped nearly a week ago and threatened with death if U.S. and Iraqi forces did not end the violence in Najaf was found dead, his body riddled with bullets, police said Sunday.



And from the Washington Post


Militia Clings To Najaf Shrine

Sun Aug 22, 1:34 AM ET Add Top Stories - washingtonpost.com to My Yahoo!


By Naseer Nouri and Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Washington Post Foreign Service

NAJAF, Iraq (news - web sites), Aug. 21 -- Loyalists of Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada Sadr remained in control of the gold-domed Imam Ali shrine on Saturday after failing to reach an agreement with representatives of Iraq's most senior Shiite leader on how to hand over the holy site.



Sadr and his lieutenants have promised to vacate the shrine as ordered by Iraq's interim government, but there was no indication Saturday that they were moving to comply with that provision or with another, equally important government demand: that Sadr disband his armed militia, known as the Mahdi Army.


Although public areas of the shrine were empty of militiamen and weapons on Saturday afternoon -- the crowd inside appeared to be composed of unarmed Sadr loyalists -- hundreds of the cleric's militiamen, many carrying assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, remained quartered in the network of narrow alleys that lead to the shine. As an announcement from the shrine's crackly loudspeakers urged militiamen to keep fighting, several of them insisted they would stay in their positions to resist the encroachment of U.S. military and Iraqi security forces.


"We will continue to fight," vowed Ali Smeisim, Sadr's chief deputy. He said the militia would use the labyrinthine urban landscape "to take cover and to fight the Americans."


The challenge facing U.S. and Iraqi forces, should they mount a full offensive against Mahdi Army militiamen near the shrine, was starkly evident on one road leading toward the holy site. Militiamen had set up sniper nests atop buildings. On the road, a thin wire led to a wooden cart stacked with bricks. Concealed amid the bricks was a homemade pipe bomb.


"Be careful! Be careful!" an old woman shouted. "Those wires are for bombs."


At the shrine, a top Mahdi Army commander, Akram Kaabi, said his men would "continue defending the city and our holy places."


The crisis had appeared on the verge of resolution Friday, when Sadr's aides announced they would remove weapons from the shrine and turn over the brick-walled compound to representatives of the country's most senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani.


But aides to Sadr and Sistani were unable to agree Saturday on how to turn over keys to the shrine's gates, doors and safes, which are believed to contain millions of dollars deposited by religious pilgrims. Sadr's aides said they tried to hand over the keys to Sistani's representatives, who refused to accept them, demanding that the shrine first be evacuated. Smeisim said he wanted a delegation from Sistani's office to inspect the shrine and make sure its treasures were intact before a turnover.


Representatives of Sistani, who is undergoing medical treatment near London, refused. They said they would not travel to the shrine because it was unsafe.


"If the brothers in the office of . . . Sadr want to vacate the holy shrine compound and close the doors and hand over the keys, then the office of the religious authority in Najaf will take the keys for safekeeping until the crisis ends," Sheik Hamed Khafaf, a Sistani aide, said from London, according to the Associated Press. "We cannot receive the shrine compound unless they agree to this formula."


Clashes around the shrine resumed Saturday evening after a relatively quiet day. Militiamen fired mortars toward U.S. Marine positions north of the shrine, prompting the Marines to respond with 155mm artillery. Loud bursts of small-arms fire echoed though the warrens around the shrine as militiamen skirmished with Iraqi police patrols on the outskirts of Najaf's old city area, which is home to the shrine.


Seeking to encourage a peaceful resolution to the standoff, U.S. forces paused offensive operations and patrols that might appear provocative. Sadr's aides had complained that the last attempt to negotiate a settlement, on Tuesday, was undermined by combat operations.


"No one can say we're not giving them a chance to work this thing out," said Army Maj. Bob Pizzitola, executive officer of the 1st Battalion, 5th Regiment of the 1st Cavalry Division, which patrols the vast Valley of Peace cemetery north of the shrine with U.S. Marines. The unit's log of enemy contacts included 13 entries over a period of 12 hours.


"Normally we have 13 in an hour," Pizzitola said. "This is one of the slowest days we've had since this started."


U.S. military commanders in Najaf and Iraqi leaders in Baghdad sought to determine whether Sadr's pledge on Thursday night that he would vacate the mosque was genuine and whether he would comply with demands to dissolve his militia. Hussein Mohammed Hadi Sadr, an elderly Shiite cleric who led a delegation to Najaf on Tuesday representing a 1,200-member national political conference, urged Moqtada Sadr to "understand the depth of this crisis" and make a clear statement indicating whether he will hand over the shrine and dismantle his militia.


"The crisis in Najaf is tiring us and we are eager to reach a peaceful solution, a speedy solution, for we are in a race with time," said Hussein Sadr, who is a distant relative of Moqtada Sadr.

On U.S. military bases near Najaf, planning and drills continued in preparation for a resumption of offensive operations against the Mahdi Army. But as the hold on fighting continued through Saturday, officers and troops groused privately that Sadr was buying time. By using the shrine as ransom, they said, the rebel was angling to keep his militia intact to fight another day.

The suspension of offensive operations, however, did not extend to Kufa, the city adjoining Najaf that is also a Sadr stronghold. In an operation early Saturday, Marines stormed a police station held by Sadr forces, killing several militiamen and detaining more than two dozen young men found in a basement.

Elsewhere in Iraq, the U.S. military announced that two soldiers from the U.S. Army's 1st Infantry Division were killed Friday evening by a roadside bomb near the city of Samarra, about 65 miles north of Baghdad. Another soldier was killed in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Baghdad on Saturday, the military said. Also on Saturday, one Polish soldier was killed and six were injured when a booby-trapped car exploded next to their convoy near Hilla, about 60 miles south of the capital.

An aide to Sadr said kidnappers had lifted their threat to kill a U.S. journalist who was abducted in the southern city of Nasiriyah with his Iraqi interpreter, the Associated Press reported. The kidnappers, calling themselves the Martyrs Brigade, had threatened on Thursday to kill Micah Garen of New York within 48 hours if U.S. troops did not leave Najaf. But Sadr aide Aws Khafaji said Saturday in Nasiriyah that he had spoken to mediators who said the death threat had been lifted. Khafaji said the mediators were working to have Garen released.

Chandrasekaran reported from Baghdad. Correspondent Karl Vick in Najaf contributed to this report.

Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:57:35 AM EST
Judging by the patches I see and the age/rank ratio I bet 75% or more of our fighters there are ARNG and USAR.

Get some boys.........
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:58:10 AM EST
Reuters says we blew a hole in the mosque wall


Najaf Shrine Wall Hit by U.S. Fire-Shi'ite Cleric

24 minutes ago Add Top Stories - Reuters to My Yahoo!



NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - A senior commander of Shi'ite militants holed up inside a Najaf shrine said the wall of the mosque was hit by U.S. fire on Sunday night.



Sheikh Ahmed al-Sheibani, who is also a top adviser to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, said it was hit during fighting.


It was not immediately possible to confirm the accusation independently. Serious damage to the shrine would enrage millions of Shi'ites around the world and give Sadr political ammunition in his rebellion against U.S. troops.

Link Posted: 8/22/2004 11:59:24 AM EST

Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Judging by the patches I see and the age/rank ratio I bet 75% or more of our fighters there are ARNG and USAR.

Get some boys.........



They appear to be from the Washington State and Oregon areas. Do we know anyone up there?

Although I did see at least one guy with the Sunset patch of the CAANG.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 12:15:36 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/22/2004 12:24:15 PM EST by ArmdLbrl]
New photos:


Army chaplain Capt. Warren Haggray, speaks to an unidentified assistant next to a cross set at camp Hotel in the northern area of the besieged city of Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites) Sunday Aug. 15, 2004. As American troops learn to cope with life _ and death _ on a faraway battlefield, a hallowed tradition of military chaplains copes with them, offering prayers, comfort and crucially, spiritual advice that helps keep the U.S. military machine running. 'One of the things that I teach my soldiers from the Bible is that there's a time for war and there's a time for peace,' says Army chaplain Capt. Warren Haggray. 'And there are times that you just have to get out there and fight.' (AP Photo/Todd Pitman)




Funeral mob for one of al Sadr's men in Najaf this morning.



A U.S. OH-58 Delta Kiowa Warrior Helicopter from Task Force Attack, provides close air support for soldiers from the 2nd Brigade, Bravo Company, New York National Guard, as they sweep caverns and mountain sides during Operation Anaconda Strike II, north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, in this photo taken August 17, 2004. U.S. tanks advanced to within 800 yards of the Imam Ali mosque in the Iraqi city of Najaf on Sunday after talks on surrendering control of the shrine at the center of an 18-day siege ran into trouble. Picture taken August 17, 2004. REUTERS/HO/US Air Force/Sgt. Scott




A U.S. Army Abrams tank re-deploys during a firefight with Iraqi Shi'ite militia near the edge of Najaf's old town, August 22, 2004. U.S. tanks advanced to within 800 yards of the Imam Ali mosque in the Iraqi city of Najaf on Sunday after talks on surrendering control of the shrine at the center of an 18-day siege ran into trouble. REUTERS/Chris Helgren




An American soldier atop a tank patrols the deserted streets of the besieged city of Najaf, Iraq (news - web sites) Aug. 22, 2004. Militants loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr kept their hold on a revered shrine as clashes flared in Najaf on Sunday, raising fears a resolution to the crisis in the holy city could collapse amid bickering between Shiite leaders. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 12:17:15 PM EST
That's a 240, not a 249, and the Army is 35 years behind the rest of the world and doesn't issue (or atleast issue in quantity) a belt carrier. South Africa had one 35 years ago.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 12:28:37 PM EST

Originally Posted By Garand_Shooter:
Judging by the patches I see and the age/rank ratio I bet 75% or more of our fighters there are ARNG and USAR.

Get some boys.........




IIRC the last figure I heard was that 60% of our forces in theater were NG or Reserves.


Many have been made de facto grunts (this applies to the regular Army and Marines also). They obviously needs boots with guns over there!
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 2:12:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By TimJ:
That's a 240, not a 249, and the Army is 35 years behind the rest of the world and doesn't issue (or atleast issue in quantity) a belt carrier. South Africa had one 35 years ago.




240 not 249...you're right.


Bomber
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 2:14:55 PM EST
This guy is my man!

Pack of Marlboros $4.50
Rocket launcher $2,500
Big ass smile on your face while in serious harms way...priceless.




Bomber
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 2:21:10 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 2:36:43 PM EST

Originally Posted By thebomber:
This guy is my man!

Pack of Marlboros $4.50
Rocket launcher $2,500
Big ass smile on your face while in serious harms way...priceless.

us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20040822/i/r233135149.jpg


Bomber



Most definately the face of a man who enjoys his job!

I can even see the fella having a Butthead moment immediately after firing that off into a building and blowing up a bunch of those shitheads. "Whoa! That was cool!" I know I'd have to say I, as I just could not do otherwise.

May God bless these guys who continue in the fight for freedom.
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 2:40:11 PM EST

Originally Posted By Charging_Handle:

Originally Posted By thebomber:
This guy is my man!

Pack of Marlboros $4.50
Rocket launcher $2,500
Big ass smile on your face while in serious harms way...priceless.

us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20040822/i/r233135149.jpg


Bomber



Most definately the face of a man who enjoys his job!



I can even see the fella having a Butthead moment immediately after firing that off into a building and blowing up a bunch of those shitheads. "Whoa! That was cool!" I know I'd have to say I, as I just could not do otherwise.

May God bless these guys who continue in the fight for freedom.



I know exactly what the guy said after he let that rocket take out some rags....oohhh dude!!!

Bomber

Link Posted: 8/22/2004 2:51:21 PM EST

Originally Posted By raven:

Originally Posted By thompsondd:
Let be the first to say that I am SO thankful to live in a country that not only affords personal freedom, but doesn't look like a broken, delapidated SHITHOLE.
.



Yeah, I'm glad I dont live in Mexico too.



OMG, Raven, you just about killed me w/ that one.....I laughed so hard I think I hurt myself... thanks!
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 2:56:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By -Duke-Nukem-:
us.news1.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/rids/20040822/i/r233135149.jpg

Caption: "You assholes like RPG's, huh? Like shootin' RPG's at our guys? I got somethin' for ya..."



HAHAHA! Thats awesome!!
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 3:31:14 PM EST
I think we should drop MOABs all over the city, starting at the outside perimeters slowly working our way inward driving the insurgents toward the Ali Baba Shrine, then when it's over flowing with Haji's, drop one smack dab center of the gold dome....

Problem solved...

Repeat in what ever Iraqi city necessary........
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 3:55:44 PM EST

One of Al Sadr fighters said that he and his comrades were ready to fight Americans "hand to hand".

"They are cowards. They stay thousands of feet away in their airplanes. They are scared, they know we will slaughter them," he said.



Wheres Bagdad Bob when you need him?

:lol:

We could squash you like a bug dipshit!
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 3:56:51 PM EST


There has got to be a way to remotely detonate one of those right? If they aren't equiped for for it THEY DAMN WELL SHOULD BE!!!

I can hear it now....

"Abdul go pick that up & show it to Sadr"
Link Posted: 8/22/2004 4:12:40 PM EST
Glad to see they're letting the men go to work, finally.
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