Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq
According to Anthony Shadid and Sewell Chan writing for the Washington Post, the Sunday, April 4, 2004, Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq, with "mass demonstrations and attacks in Baghdad and southern Iraq, [led by the young, militant cleric Moqtada al-Sadr with his Mehdi Army] ... has realized the greatest fear of the U.S.-led administration since the occupation of Iraq began a year ago."  See sites of protest.
"The unrest," they write, "signaled that the U.S. military faces armed opposition on two fronts: in scarred Sunni towns such as Fallujah and, as of Sunday, in a Shiite-dominated region of the country that had remained largely acquiescent, if uneasy about the U.S. role. If put down forcefully, a Shiite uprising -- infused with religious imagery, and symbols drawn from Iraq's colonial past and the current Palestinian conflict -- could achieve a momentum of its own.
"During the last year, Sadr has appealed to poor and disenfranchised Shiites, the majority of Iraq's population, with a relentless anti-occupation message. A junior cleric, the 30-year-old's authority is far overshadowed by Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, the country's leading religious figure. Sadr and his followers remain distinctly unpopular in the Shiite holy city of Najaf, where the more established clergy hold sway. But he commands a street following in Baghdad and the long-neglected cities of the south, and his militia of several thousand men has grown in strength and influence." 
"The unrest Sunday followed a series of calibrated moves by each side that appeared to be designed to test the resolve of the other.
"The latest round of tension began March 28, with the U.S. closure of Sadr's al-Hawza newspaper. With an estimated circulation of 10,000, the weekly was mainly marketed at mosques loyal to Sadr's followers and, for months, had printed articles that U.S. officials deemed inflammatory. The closure sent thousands of protesters into the streets, many of them marching in military cadence in Baghdad and Najaf and wearing the black uniforms of Sadr's militia, which is known as the Mahdi Army.
"Supporters of Sadr suggested that a show of force would discourage U.S. officials from broadening the crackdown. In his Friday sermon, Sadr appeared to call for attacks on U.S. forces, crossing a line that he had carefully avoided for months. Citing what he called attacks by 'the occupiers,' he told followers, 'Be on the utmost readiness and strike them where you meet them.'" 
"For months, occupation authorities have been divided over how to respond to Sadr's challenge. ... U.S. officials insisted Sunday that they had not decided whether to crack down on Sadr's group. But L. Paul Bremer, the civilian administrator of Iraq, suggested that the violence would have consequences." 
"...the crucial element of the escalated rebellion is the armed struggle taken up by prominent Shia leader Moqtada Sadr, who commands the allegiance of a significant and growing portion of Iraq's majority Shiite population, particularly the poor. The emergence of an uprising by that section of society most brutalized by Saddam deals a death blow to two main lines of the Bush administration's war propaganda: 
- First, it is no longer possible to smear the resistance as merely a ragtag collection of terrorists, Ba'athists, or outsiders;
- and second, it is equally impossible to claim the occupation is being carried out in the interests of any Iraqis"
"The US closure of an irregularly published newspaper with just 5,000 readers seemed a tiny moment in the struggle for stability in Iraq. But the March 28 move to close Al Hawza, controlled by militant Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, now looks like the edge of a violent storm." 
- How its twin fronts - of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents - built and combined to create what might be described as the perfect Iraqi sandstorm is only now coming into focus. At the time, no one would have forecast that the deaths of four US security contractors alone would result in a major military campaign in Fallujah. Similarly, the US coalition hardly anticipated that the closure of just one of 100-plus newspapers in Baghdad would form the genesis of a Shiite revolt in half a dozen cities around Iraq.
- coalition of the willing: beginning of the end
- Coalition Provisional Authority
- Global insurgency for change
- Iraq Coalition Casualty Statistics/External Links (2004)
- Iraqi unified resistance
- Occupation forces in Iraq
- Operation Iraqi Freedom: Year Two
- sectarian break-up of Iraq
- Shiite Muslim uprising in Iraq: Iran Proxy War?
- "Shiite Militia Marches in Iraq to Back Cleric Critical of U.S," Reuters, April 4, 2004: "Thousands of supporters of a virulently anti-American Shiite cleric, Moktada al-Sadr, marched through the streets of Baghdad on Saturday. ... Many were members of Mr. Sadr's militia, the Mahdi Army. They paraded through Sadr City, the sprawling Shiite slum in the northeast of the Iraqi capital that is Mr. Sadr's power base. It was the militia's first major show of strength in months."
- Jeffrey Gettleman, "Violent Disturbances in Iraq From Baghdad to Southern Cities," New York Times, April 4, 2004.
- Khalid Mohammed, "Four Salvadorean soldiers, 14 Iraqis killed, 130 wounded in shooting in front of Spanish base," AP, April 4, 2004.
- Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, "At Least 24 Killed in Clashes in Iraq," Reuters, April 4, 2004.
- "7 U.S. Soldiers Killed in Baghdad Fighting," AP, April 4, 2004.
- Gavin Cordin, "British Troops Return Fire after Attack by Iraqi Demonstrators," The Scotsman, April 4, 2004.
- Juan Cole, "Shiite Clashes in with Coalition in Najaf Baghdad: Phase II of the Anti-Occupation Struggle Begins. Nine Coalition Troops Killed, Dozens wounded in Confronting Uprising," juancole.com, April 4, 2004.
- Rory McCarthy and Gary Younge, "Violent upsurge across Iraq," Guardian/UK, April 5, 2004.
- Jeffrey Gettleman, "A Young Radical's Anti-U.S. Wrath Is Unleashed," New York Times, April 5, 2004.
- Anthony Shadid and Sewell Chan, "U.S. Plans to Arrest Shiite Cleric Sadr," Washington Post, April 5, 2004.
- "24 dead in Iraq shoot-out," The Mercury (Australia), April 5, 2004.
- Khalid Mohammed, "10 U.S. Troops Killed in Iraqi Violence," AP, April 5, 2004.
- Hamza Hendawi, "Iraqi Judge Issues Warrant for Cleric," AP, April 5, 2004.
- "U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq," AP, April 5, 2004. Also here.
- Lawrence Pintak, "Taking on the Shi'ites: How America is Creating a Powerful New Enemy," Common Dreams, April 5, 2004. Includes photo of Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.
- Mark Oliver and George Wright, "US faces Iraqi revolt," Guardian/UK, April 5, 2004.
- Rory McCarthy, "22 killed as troops clash with Shias. Protests Supporters of dissident cleric step up pressure," Guardian/UK, April 5, 2004.
- Julian Borger and Jonathan Steele, "On the brink of anarchy," Guardian/UK, April 6, 2004: "The Bush administration was last night facing a nightmare scenario in Iraq, fighting on two fronts against Sunni and Shia militants less than three months before it is due to hand over power to an Iraqi government. ... Facing a critical moment in the effort to pacify the country, President George Bush vowed he would not budge from his June 30 deadline for the transition to self-rule, while US forces in Iraq opted for a high-risk strategy of attempting to crush both insurgent groups simultaneously. ... Faced with a rapidly deteriorating security situation and the prospect of a civil war following the transfer of power to a yet-to-be-determined Iraqi government, the US administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, cancelled a visit to Washington to deal with the crisis."
- Jonathan Steele, "Religious leaders' calls for restraint share out the blame," Guardian/UK, April 6, 2004.
- Nir Rosen, "Muqtada's Shi'ites raise the stakes," Asia Times, April 6, 2004.
- Naomi Klein, "The battle the US wants to provoke. Bremer is deliberately pushing Iraq's Shia south into all-out chaos," Guardian/UK, April 6, 2004.
- Rory McCarthy, "Son of the Hidden Imam preaches rebellion to his army of men in black," Guardian/UK, April 6, 2004.
- David Clark, "The War on Terror Misfired. Blame it all on the Neocons. The Legitimate Grievances of Muslims were Never Listened to by the West," Guardian/UK, April 7, 2004.
- Jeffrey Gettleman and Douglas Jehl, "Fierce Fighting With Sunnis and Shiites Spreads to 6 Iraqi Cities," New York Times, April 7, 2004: "American forces in Iraq came under fierce attack on Tuesday, with as many as 12 marines killed in Ramadi, near Baghdad, and with Shiite militiamen loyal to a rebel cleric stepping up a three-day-old assault in the southern city of Najaf, American officials said. ... It was one of the most violent days in Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein, with half a dozen cities ignited. One of the biggest questions at day's end was the role of most of the majority Shiites previously thought to be relatively sympathetic to American goals. ... The heaviest fighting raged in Falluja and Ramadi, strongholds of the Sunni minority favored by Mr. Hussein that have been flash points of anti-American resistance."
- Anthony Shadid, "U.S. Forces Take Heavy Losses As Violence Spreads Across Iraq. About a Dozen Marines Killed; Foreigners, Scores of Iraqis Die," Washington Post, April 7, 2004: "In addition to Tuesday's casualties, the U.S. military reported that five Marines were killed Monday -- one in Fallujah and the others on the western outskirts of Baghdad -- and five Army soldiers were killed between Sunday and Tuesday in attacks in Kirkuk, Mosul and a Shiite Muslim neighborhood in Baghdad. ... Iraqi casualty figures were incomplete and impossible to verify, but hospital officials have reported dozens killed in clashes in Baghdad and central and southern Iraq since the weekend. Sources quoted by the Associated Press put the number of Iraqi dead at more than 60."
- "US bombards Iraq mosque complex. A US air strike has killed up to 40 people inside a mosque compound during heavy fighting in the Sunni Muslim Iraqi town of Falluja, witnesses say," BBC/UK, April 7, 2004.
- Karl Vick, "Muslim Rivals Unite In Baghdad Uprising," Washington Post, April 7, 2004: "On Monday, residents of Adhamiya, a largely Sunni section of northern Baghdad, marched with followers of Moqtada Sadr, the militant Shiite cleric whose call for armed resistance was answered by local Sunnis the same afternoon, residents said."
- Bassem Mroue and Abdul-Qader Saadi, "Marines Battle Insurgents in Fallujah," AP, April 7, 2004.
- "Rumsfeld says US facing 'serious problem' in Iraq," AFP, April 7, 2004.
- Colin Freeman, "Al-Mahdi's ranks swell with young poor," The Scotsman, April 7, 2004.
- Rahul Mahajan, "Opening the Gates of Hell," AlterNet, April 7, 2004.
- Robert Byrd, "A Call for an Exit Door from Iraq," Senate Floor Remarks, April 7, 2004.
- Jim Lobe, "Muqtada pushes Bush to the brink," Asia Times, April 7, 2004.
- "U.S. Urges Sadr Turn Himself In, Says He Will Fail," Reuters (Crawford, TX), April 7, 2004: "The U.S.-led coalition has not yet tried to bring in Sadr but has said it will do so. ... For several days, U.S.-led forces have been battling Shi'ites militants in Iraq and incurring as well as inflicting heavy casualties. At least 35 coalition soldiers and scores of Iraqis have been killed in the fighting. ... The U.S.-backed Iraqi Governing Council discussed earlier on Wednesday offering Sadr a deal to not prosecute him for the alleged murder if he agreed to halt the uprising."
- Bassem Mroue and Adbul-Qader Saadi, "Hospital Chief: Over 280 Iraqis Killed," AP, April 8, 2004.
- "Iraq turning worse,", Korea Herald Op-Ed, April 8, 2004.
- Christine Hauser, "U.S. Increases Efforts to Put Down Sunni and Shiite Fighters," New York Times, April 8, 2004.
- Marc Erikson, "Calm down. It's not Iraq War II," Asia Times, April 8, 2004. See related February 26, 2004, "Dangerous illusions of a democratic Shi'ite Iraq."
- Ehsan Ahrari, "Test of American patience," Asia Times, April 7, 2004.
- James Risen, "Account of Broad Shiite Revolt Contradicts White House Stand," New York Times, April 8, 2004: "United States forces are confronting a broad-based Shiite uprising that goes well beyond supporters of one militant Islamic cleric who has been the focus of American counterinsurgency efforts, United States intelligence officials said Wednesday. ... That assertion contradicts repeated statements by the Bush administration and American officials in Iraq. On Wednesday, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that they did not believe the United States was facing a broad-based Shiite insurgency. Administration officials have portrayed Moktada al-Sadr, a rebel Shiite cleric who is wanted by American forces, as the catalyst of the rising violence within the Shiite community of Iraq."
- Rajiv Chandrasekaran, "Anti-U.S. Uprising Widens in Iraq; Marines Push Deeper Into Fallujah. Cleric's Force Tightens Grip In Holy Cities," Washington Post, April 8, 2004.
- "Hospital Chief: Over 280 Iraqis Killed ... 400 Wounded in Fallujah Fighting This Week," AP, April 8, 2004.
- James Risen, "Account of Broad Shiite Revolt Contradicts White House Stand," New York Times, April 8, 2004.
- Seumas Milne, "Bush and Blair have Lit a Fire which Could Consume Them," Guardian/UK, April 8, 2004.
- Dana Priest and Mary Pat Flaherty, "Under Fire, Security Firms Form An Alliance," Washington Post, April 8, 2004: "Under assault by insurgents and unable to rely on U.S. and coalition troops for intelligence or help under duress, private security firms in Iraq have begun to band together in the past 48 hours, organizing what may effectively be the largest private army in the world, with its own rescue teams and pooled, sensitive intelligence."
- Jason Keyser, "Iraqi Insurgents Threaten to Burn Hostages," AP, April 8, 2004: "Insurgents threatened in a video released Thursday to burn three Japanese hostages alive if Tokyo does not withdraw from the U.S.-led coalition within three days, the first such ultimatum involving foreign civilians in Iraq."
- George Wright and agencies, "US loses control of two cities. Up to 300 dead in Falluja. Three Japanese 'taken hostage'. Iraqi interior minister resigns," Guardian/UK, April 8, 2004: "Despite attempts by Washington to play down the scale of the uprisings that have swept the country, Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sanchez said today that coalition troops in Najaf and Kut had been fought back by militants loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr."
- Haroon Siddiqui, "Iraq Nightmare Unfolds. Bush Should Fire Baghdad Point Man Bremer and ask the United Nations to Take Over the Beleaguered Country," Toronto Star, April 8, 2004.
- Jeffrey Gettleman, "Sunni-Shiite Cooperation Grows, Worrying U.S. Officials," New York Times, April 8, 2004.
- Nir Rosen, "The Shi'ite voice that will be heard," Asia Times, April 8, 2004.
- Ritt Goldstein, "Iraq revolt: Tactics of diversion," Asia Times, April 8, 2004.
- "U.S. says one Iraqi city recaptured from militia. But Fallujah still tense as U.S. attempts to organize a cease-fire," MSNBC News Services, April 9, 2004.
- Dana Milbank and Robin Wright, "Powell Calls U.S. Casualties 'Disquieting'," Washington Post, April 9, 2004.
- Naomi Klein, "Fury Ignites Solidarity in Iraq," Los Angeles Times, April 9, 2004.
- Ewen MacAskill, "A coalition showing signs of fracture. Strategy Insurgents are targeting forces of smaller countries, exposing the weaknesses in the Pentagon's plans," Guardian/UK, April 9, 2004.
- Jonathan Steele, "Marooned and bewildered, Polish troops watch Shia militias on patrol. Coalition forces marooned as pilgrims head for holy city," Guardian/UK, April 9, 2004.
- Sami Ramadani, "Iraqis told them to go from day one. Resistance will continue to spread until the occupation ends," Guardian/UK, April 9, 2004.
- Nir Rosen, "When fear turns to anger," Asia Times, April 9, 2004.
- "Marchers break through US roadblocks," news.com (Australia), April 9, 2004: "THOUSANDS of Sunni and Shiite Muslims forced their way through US military checkpoints Thursday to ferry food and medical supplies to the besieged Sunni bastion of Fallujah where US marines are trying to crush insurgents. ... Troops in armoured vehicles tried to stop the convoy of cars and pedestrians from reaching the town located 50 kilometers west of Baghdad. ... But US forces were overwhelmed as residents of villages west of the capital came to the convoy's assistance, hurling insults and stones at the beleaguered troops."
- "Iraq Shiite radical tells Bush to withdraw troops or face revolution," AFP, April 9, 2004: "Outlawed Shiite Muslim radical leader Moqtada Sadr branded US President George W. Bush an 'enemy' and told him to withdraw his troops from Iraq or face a revolution."