Sunday, November 26, 2006

This is very bad: Iraq television controlled by militia

Why does the San Jose Mercury News of all papers have this story? (HT: DHinMI on Kos)

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Followers of the militant Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took over state-run television Saturday to denounce the Iraqi government, label Sunnis "terrorists" and issue what appeared to many viewers as a call to arms.

[...]

Al-Maliki's administration acknowledged it was powerless to interrupt the pro-Sadr program on the official Iraqiya channel, during which Sadr City residents shouted, "There is no government! There is no state!" Several speakers described neighborhoods and well-known Sunni politicians as "terrorists" and threatened them with reprisal.

"We'll obviously try to control them as much as we can, but when they (kill) more than 150 people in bombings, they have the right to speak," said Bassam al Husseini, one of Maliki's top advisers. "What are we going to do? We can't stop this. It's too hot right now."

Does the US have any way to stop this? Does anybody? It sounds frighteningly analogous to the calls to genocide that went out over the radio in Rwanda. I don't know what we can do. Issue pleas for calm? Patrol the streets more? Ask neighboring countries to help? What could they do?

Certainly, the Bush administration needs to pull its head out of its ass and confront the reality of what's going on. But I guess at this point it probably doesn't matter whether Bush sees reality or not, because I don't think there's a thing he can do either way. I'm pretty much in despair.

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