This AP story did not appear in the NY Times or the Washington Post, today (that I could find). There was a crackdown in Baghdad which began last Sunday, 29 May. The US named it Operation Lightning. 40,000 Iraqi security forces hit the streets of Baghdad. Riverbend of Baghdad Burning was worried that there would be house raids. She wrote on May 30,

The plan includes 40,000 Iraqi security forces and that is making people a little bit uneasy. Iraqi National Guard are not pleasant or upstanding citizens- to have thousands of them scattered about Baghdad stopping cars and possibly harassing civilians is worrying. We’re also very worried about the possibility of raids on homes.

And there were, shown on tv that night. Women and children crouched on the floor, pressed up against walls of their homes, while the men in the family were handcuffed and pushed out the doors. There has not been much news from my usual sources like, Baghdad Burning, Occupation Watch, al Jazeera in the last week. I found this story in the
Jeffersonville Evening News: The Tribune. More below the fold.

Iraq Admits Targeting Sunnis in Crackdown

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Shiite-led Iraqi government acknowledged Sunday that its forces may have targeted innocent Sunni Muslims in a drive to crush the insurgency in southwestern Baghdad and its suburbs.
“There is an improvement in security and in the performance of the security forces, but members of the army and police do cause mistakes, which do happen,” said Laith Kuba, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

There were also some claims that “soldiers took advantage and helped themselves to cash and other items. One doesn’t rule it out. I think the army needs more disciplinary measures in these cases,” Kuba said.

In recent days, Sunni Muslim organizations charged that many innocent Iraqis were arrested and most were Sunni’s, the minority that dominated the country during Saddam’s rule and are believed to form the backbone of the viiolent insurgency.

The biggest mistake was arresting and temporarily detaining “the leader of Iraq’s largest Sunni Arab political party.” Let’s give the person a name, and a face.

From the London Telegraph
Firing stun grenades, American soldiers burst into the home of Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, head of the largest Sunni Arab political party, shortly after dawn. They forced a hood over his head and dragged him away along with his three sons.[…]
It appeared that the Americans had not sought permission for the raid from the Iraqi government, again raising questions about its supposed sovereignty. It also threatened the most serious rift between Washington and Baghdad since the administration was sworn in a month ago.

Abdul-Hamid is a moderate Sunni. He is a man the Occupation should want on their side in order to secure the participation of Sunnis in the new government. He refused the US apology and said that he had to lie on the ground with a soldier’s boot on his head for twenty minutes. Since this leader was well known to the US Occupation, there is some doubt that this arrest was really a ‘mistake.’

These raids are meant to secure Baghdad for the trial of Saddam Hussein. This trial is supposed to quell the violence but many think it will be divisive. Time will tell as residents of Baghdad, especially Sunnis, live in fear of more house raids, looting, and unjust arrests in addition to the drive-by shootings and bombings from the insurgents. Operation Lightning has cut down on the bombings within Baghdad so far. Unfortunately the violence from Iraqi insurgents continues all through other sections of Iraq with a grevious death toll.

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