The latest news from Iraq (ABC News)
In an attempt to quell the fighting between Shiite militiamen and security forces, authorities in Baghdad have imposed a weekend curfew on the capital.The White House and all its allies have been unusually quiet, only White House press Spokesperson Dana Perino was left to defend the surge:
An official with the command says no unauthorized vehicles, motorcycles or pedestrian traffic will be allowed on the streets from 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Sunday, the Associated Press reports.
The curfew was imposed after clashes in the south have become fierce and after 3 days of mortar and rocket attacks targeted the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad. One American government worker was killed in one of those attacks today, according to the U.S. Embassy
This is an Iraqi led and Iraqi initiated operation. And this is what we’ve been wanting to see the Iraqis do is take on more responsibility. …But we know she doesn't write these jokes herself. She's basically handed a script. But this is over the top even for the Bush White House.
The surge created new opportunities and in fact created many more Iraqi Security Forces. …
So I would characterize it as a bold decision — precisely what the critics have asked to see in Iraq, more movement by the Iraqi Security Forces.
I'll leave the final words to Pagtrick Cockburn on Thursday's DemocracyNow: Well, the Iraqi government has decided and has surprised everybody by deciding to send its troops into Basra. Ostensibly, they’re saying it’s to clean up criminal elements in Basra; in reality, it seems an attack on the Mahdi Army, and it’s in alliance with militias that are friendly to the Iraqi government. The Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s demand that the fighters of the Mahdi Army give up their weapons in seventy-two hours, I think it’s extremely unlikely that this will happen. Saddam couldn’t disarm Iraq. It’s not likely that Maliki will succeed in doing so.