According to a report filed from Baghdad, Iraqi soldiers, trained and controlled by coalition forces, opened fire on a demonstration there on Sunday. As the protesters returned to their homes in the poor neighbourhood of Sadr City, the US army followed with tanks, helicopters and planes, firing at random on homes, shops, streets, even ambulances. According to local hospitals, 47 people were killed and many more injured. In Najaf, the day was also bloody: 20 demonstrators dead, more than 150 injured. [photo essay] The Shiite uprising comes from the followers of Moqtada al-Sadr, the younger, more radical rival of the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, following the closing of Sadr's newspaper last week.
The US media are groping in the dark for a new narrative. Even for supporters of the occupation, it is no longer believable to suggest that Iraq is on an inevitable path towards democracy; that the Iraqi people are overwhelmingly grateful for the American presence in their country; that attacks against American forces are the work of a few "dead-enders" or Islamic extremists allied with al Qaeda. This is clearly a popular uprising against an illegitimate occupying army.
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