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Aug 13, 2004, 03:27 PM
Shias call for split from Baghdad

Michael Howard
Friday August 13, 2004
The Guardian

Shia leaders in southern Iraq yesterday called for a breakaway movement from the central government in Baghdad to protest against the heavy-handed approach to the insurgency.

As the health ministry said that at least 172 Iraqis had died and more than 600 had been injured since Wednesday in fighting across southern Iraq, at least two prominent Shia figures called for the separation of some southern governorates from Baghdad.

Basra's deputy governor, Salam Uda al-Maliki, said he backed a breakaway as the interim government was "responsible for the Najaf clashes."

In Nassiriya, meanwhile, Aws al-Khafaji, the representative of Moqtada al-Sadr, echoed the call. "We have had enough of Baghdad's brutality," he said. "The authorities in Nassiriya will no longer cooperate with Baghdad." He said it was a response to "the crimes committed against Iraqis by an illegal and unelected government, and occupation forces."

Such a move, if decided upon by three governorates, could be legal according to the interim constitution, which Shia leaders rejected when it was drawn up last March.

Most of the big cities in southern Iraq have been caught up in the insurgency. Worst affected yesterday was Kut, where at least 72 people died, while fighting also raged in Amara and Diwaniya.

Violence also broke out in the Shia districts of Sadr City and Shula in the Iraqi capital, as well as in downtown Baghdad's notorious Haifa street.

Thousands of demonstrators in Baghdad, Basra and Nassiriya protested against the Najaf offensive.
Nice work. The occupation appears to be going according to plan.

IJ Reilly
Aug 13, 2004, 04:54 PM
The occupation appears to be going according to plan.

I don't think so. Some people are still alive.

Aug 13, 2004, 06:18 PM
I don't think so. Some people are still alive.
They're trying to correct that oversight as we speak. Watch this space.