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Tuesday, 13-February-2007
Almotamar Net - Doctors use the word “crisis” to describe the point at which a patient either starts to recover or dies. President George W. Bush’s Iraqi patient now seems to have reached that point. Most commentators appear to think that Bush’s latest prescription – a surge of 20,000 additional troops to suppress the militias in Baghdad – will, at best, merely postpone the inevitable death of his dream of a democratic Iraq. Yet as “Battle of Baghdad” begins, factors beyond Bush’s control and not of his making (at least not intentionally) may just save Iraq from its doom. Almoitamar,net Project Syndicate - Doctors use the word “crisis” to describe the point at which a patient either starts to recover or dies. President George W. Bush’s Iraqi patient now seems to have reached that point. Most commentators appear to think that Bush’s latest prescription – a surge of 20,000 additional troops to suppress the militias in Baghdad – will, at best, merely postpone the inevitable death of his dream of a democratic Iraq. Yet as “Battle of Baghdad” begins, factors beyond Bush’s control and not of his making (at least not intentionally) may just save Iraq from its doom.

One key factor is that, for the first time since the United States and Britain invaded Iraq, Arab Sunni leaders are backing a US military plan for that country. These Sunni leaders live in abject fear of the geopolitical earthquake that any disintegration of political authority in Baghdad would bring, believing that all-out civil war would invariably follow – a war that would not respect international borders.

Of course, America has been encouraging Sunni leaders in this belief. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s recent tour of Middle East capitals helped spread the word to Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states that any US failure and sudden withdrawal would be certain to destabilize them. Given the fragile grip that these leaders have over their societies, America’s warnings have been taken to heart.

But the truly curious factor that might bring success to Bush is that those who have opposed or resented America’s presence in Iraq, such as the Iranian-backed Shi’a parties now also appear to want Bush’s new strategy to succeed. They are for it because they believe it will defang Moqtada al-Sadr, the rogue Shi’a cleric whose power has mushroomed over the past three years – to the point that he now dominates much of Baghdad and holds the allegiance of countless angry young Shi’a men.

Of course, attacking Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army in the name of fighting militia death squads has the potential to draw American military forces into a level of urban warfare unseen since the Falluja assaults of 2004 and 2005. Al-Sadr is seen as the protector of the Shi’a of Iraq and has an estimated 60,000 fighters in his militia. But he is deeply mistrusted by other Shi’a leaders, who fear that they may one day have to take him on by themselves. Better to let the Americans do it, though of course these Shi’a leaders prefer a slow strangulation of al-Sadr to a direct and bloody assault.

But make no mistake: how al-Sadr is handled is the big test of Bush’s new strategy. Should the US choose to face al-Sadr and his forces head on, they risk alienating Iraq’s largest sectarian community, the Shi’a, adding fuel to the anti-occupation resistance and thus probably dooming Bush to failure.

Iran and Syria, which have played a spoiler role in Iraq up to now, may also now be anxious to find a way to pull the country back from the brink. Bush still refuses to talk to either of them, and has lately been having US troops arrest Iranian agents in Iraq. Yet Iran may already see itself as victorious, with the current Iraqi government friendlier than any the Iranians have ever known. So maintaining that government in office has now become a strategic priority for Iran, particularly as it is now clear that any US hopes of using Iraq as a permanent military base are dead.

The “surge” also opens, perhaps for the first time, a serious possibility of pouring water on the insurgent fires in Anbar province, the heartland of the Sunni insurgency. The US has achieved relative successes in the province through alliances with Sunni tribes. The hope is that such realistic and pragmatic accommodations will be extended to Iraqis who are fighting under the banner of a nationalist and anti-occupation agenda.

So some of the stars have come into alignment for Bush. But to keep them there in the long term, the Iraqi government will need to amend the constitution in a way that appeases the Sunni community. Reassuring Iraq’s Sunnis that they have a place in the new Iraq will also reassure neighboring Sunni governments, which have mostly turned a blind eye to the support for the insurgency that has come from their lands.

Of course, should the US see failure ahead, it could seek to broaden the war beyond Iraq’s borders by attacking Iran, a policy reminiscent of “Operation Sideshow,” when US failure in Vietnam in the late 1960’s enticed President Nixon into attacking Cambodia and Laos.

But Iran has resources that Cambodia and Laos could never muster; indeed, its ability to retaliate could set the entire region ablaze. Whereas America’s war in Indochina was a tragic mistake, the cost of a wider war precipitated by the crisis in Iraq would be incomparably greater – for both the patient and the doctor.

Mai Yamani is an author and broadcaster. Her most recent book is Cradle of Islam.

Copyright: Project Syndicate, 2007.

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Saturday, 29-August-2015
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is seriously concerned about an increase in fighting in the city of Taiz.

In a press release issued on Friday, the ICRC said that there has been indiscriminate shelling of civilian areas, and essential infrastructure is being destroyed.

"We call on the parties on the ground in Taiz to allow the safe passage of ambulances, medical workers and aid workers so that lives can be saved and the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance can be made possible," said the head of the ICRC in Taiz, Olivier Chassot.

The ICRC indicated that the health situation in the governorate is particularly dire. The handful of hospitals still functioning are having to deal with large numbers of wounded people as well as severe shortage of supplies. The ICRC has had serious difficulties in delivering lifesaving medical and surgical supplies to a number of hospitals in Taiz.
Friday, 28-August-2015
Around five people were killed and two others injured in a Saudi-led coalition attack on a number of densely populated areas in Razih district in Sa'ada province.

A local source said the Saudi-led coalition launched hundreds of air raids during the past few days on various parts of Sa'ada, including Razih, Ghamer, Shatha, al-Dhaher, Haidan and Ketaf.
Friday, 21-August-2015
The European Union (EU) has affirmed that the recent airstrikes on Hodeida port imposed an immediate hindrance to imports food, fuel, medicines and other supplies.

A joint Statement by the Spokespersons of the High Representative / Vice-President Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides on the bombings in Yemen of port facilities in Hodeida said:

“The current conflict in Yemen is having a dramatic impact on the civilian population whose needs have reached alarming proportions. Access for the delivery of humanitarian aid and essential supplies, including fuel, food and basic commodities to ordinary Yemenis remains extremely difficult.
Wednesday, 12-August-2015
The head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has described the humanitarian situation in Yemen as catastrophic.

"The humanitarian situation is nothing short of catastrophic. Every family in Yemen has been affected by this conflict. The people are facing immense hardship. And it is getting worse by the day. The world needs to wake up to what is going on," said Peter Maurer, who just ended a three-day visit to Yemen on Tuesday.

"The compounded effects of intense fighting and import restrictions are having a dramatic impact on health care," Maurer said. "Health facilities have been massively attacked as well as suffering collateral damage."
Monday, 10-August-2015
Three women and a child were killed and two children injured on Sunday in a Saudi bombing on citizens' houses on Harf Sufyan in Amran province, a local source said.

The source added that the Saudi-led collation is still launching raids
Sunday, 09-August-2015

President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Peter Maurer has said that the ICRC will expand its activities in Yemen.

In a press conference in Sana’a on Sunday, Maurer affirmed that his visit will achieve positive and prompt results with regards to the humanitarian response in Yemen.

He said that he is optimistic that the visit will result in doubling the ICRC efforts to face this “disastrous” situation as what the ICRC and its partners currently provide cannot cover all the humanitarian aspects, specially that the country is under siege.
Sunday, 02-August-2015
The Saudi aggression continued on Sunday to launch airstrikes on several governorates in the country.

A security source said Saudi war jets launched a number of raids on different parts of Hajjah governorate, destroying the building of the Roads and Bridges Authority in Haradh town in addition to many air raids carried out by drones in the town.

The Saudi warplanes also launched many raids on al-Hamara area of Lahj governorate, which led to numerous fatalities, including women and children. More than 16 sorties were carried out against areas of Muthalath al-Anad, al-Anad Air Base, Abain and Karesh, the source said.

In Dhamar governorate, the Saudi warplanes launched an airstrike targeted the Yemeni Economic Corporation building in Ma'abar city.
Saturday, 01-August-2015
The Saudi-American aggression implemented on Saturday 6 sorties against Old Mareb and the surrounding areas.

Local sources said that the Old Mareb was attacked by six sorties extending to Al-Ashraf area to the west of the city.
Thursday, 30-April-2015
The United Nations has announced that the number of Yemeni internally displaced persons (IDPs) due the military aggression had doubled in less than two weeks.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that the number of Yemeni IDPs had increased twice in 19 governorates since 17 April 2015 when 150 thousand Yemeni IDPs were registered.

It warned of the gravity of situations in Yemen because of the aggression.

The statement pointed out that the big number of IDPs are from the northern Hajjah governorate, in addition to southern Al-Dhalea and Abyan governorates.
Wednesday, 29-April-2015
Amnesty International has called for investigating the killing of hundreds of civilians, including scores of children, by the Saudi Arabian-led airstrikes across Yemen.

"The month-long campaign of air strikes carried out by Saudi Arabia and its allies has transformed many parts of Yemen into a dangerous place for civilians," said Said Boumedouha, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.

"Millions of people have been forced to live in a state of utter terror, afraid of being killed at home. Many feel they are left with no choice but to move away from their destroyed villages to an uncertain future."

The UN has stated that more than 550 civilians have been killed including more than 100 children since the military campaign began on 25 March.

Amnesty International said it has documented eight strikes in five densely populated areas, which are Sa'ada, Sana'a, Hodeida, Hajjah and Ibb, noting that several of these strikes raised concerns about compliance with the rules of international humanitarian law.

According its research, Amnesty International said at least 139 people, including at least 97 civilians, 33 of whom were children were killed during the strikes, and 460 individuals were injured, at least 157 whom are civilians.

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