Najaf attack 'will cause more strife'

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 22 Aug 2004

KUALA LUMPUR: The US-led Najaf offensive will plunge Iraq and the world into a deeper and more dangerous crisis, according to a political analyst. 

The president of the International Movement for a Just World, Dr Chandra Muzaffar, said it would be a fatal mistake if Washington, in the name of the US-installed interim regime, launched an assault on Najaf. 

“Since Washington’s target is Moqtada al-Sadr and the Mehdi army who are using the Imam Ali shrine as their sanctuary, it is not inconceivable that any attack will be widely perceived as an act of sacrilege committed against Shi’ite Islam’s holiest site,” he said. 

He said an assault would enrage the Shi'ite majority and even officials associated with the US-installed regime have cautioned against the move. 

“It is because there is so much opposition to a Najaf offensive that the popularity of Sadr has increased tremendously. 

“From a leader with a small following at the beginning of the US occupation of Iraq in May 2003, Sadr has now emerged as a hero among millions of young, poor and dispossessed Iraqis,” he said. 

Dr Chandra said Najaf had become a turning point in the struggle for the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty and independence. 

“Instead of asserting its authority and control over Najaf and certain other cities where resistance is growing through sheer military force, Washington and the interim regime in Baghdad should be taking concrete steps to end the occupation,” he said.  

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