Iraq Arabic News Summary, April 4th, 2008

Reactions to Basra Events and Other News from the Arab Media
Translated and Summarized by Nathaniel Rabkin

- Salim Abdallah Jibouri, spokesman for the Iraqi Accord Front (IAF), Iraq’s largest Sunni parliamentary bloc: “Without a doubt, the measures taken by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki have been positive. We have blessed these measures, whose purpose was help the state establish its presence. But I believe the road ahead of us is long, and requires taking practical steps. Not turning weapons against the government isn’t enough; the possession of these weapons must come to an end, and steps must be taken against the armed groups.” Jibouri also stated that the operation in Basra would have a “very positive effect” on negotiations between Maliki and the IAF.

Source: Radio Sawa interview, available:

Sadr Office Calls for Mass Demonstration in Najaf Against “Occupation”
A bulletin stamped by the Office of the Martyr Sadr and posted in scanned form on the internet:

“ ‘If twenty of you are patient, you will defeat two hundred, and if a hundred, then you will defeat a thousand of those who disbelieve, for they are a heedless people.’ [Qur’an, 8:65]

To the sons of our persecuted people, both Sunni and Shia, Kurd and Arab, to the Mujahidin and those who are patient, to the bereaved mothers, orphans, and widows.
The time has come for you to raise your voices and to express your rejection of the unjust occupier, the enemy of all nations and of humanity, and against the the cruel massacres which the occupier and the persecuters commit against our noble people. Express your rejection by participating in the Million Strong Demonstration, carrying Iraqi flags to strengthen the unity of Iraq and to seek its independence. Come to the land of the Prince of the Faithful, most noble Najaf, on the tenth of April, the unfortunate anniversary of the occupation of Iraq. Don’t neglect to come. Your presence will strengthen Islam and the Muslims, and will aid the persecuted Iraqi people.

‘They cannot take a position which angers the disbelievers nor shall they take any of the enemy unless they were destined to do a good act. God does not cause the reward of those who do good to be lost’ [Qur’an, 9:120]

- The Central Committee Overseeing the Million Strong Demonstration
Most noble Najaf”


Maliki, speaking at a press conference in Baghdad after his return from Basra:
“There are no negotiations or documents of understanding with outlaws . . . therefore, it is not unlikely that other incidents will take place. But we welcome these incidents. Just like the incidents at Basra gave us results, other incidents will also give us results . . . There are other cities which need a Charge of the Knights, and Baghdad as well. We have to liberate the people of Shola, Sadr City, and Ameriyah from the gangs.”

More Maliki: “The Basra Operations Command has begun operation Charge of the Knights whose principal goal is to clean the ports of outlaws . . . we went in with specific goals relating to the ports, which have turned into resources for supplying the gangs and militias with funds through tricks and smuggling, all of which are accomplished by gangs which have been formed for this purpose . . . some officials of certain parties are involved in this . . . security forces have arrested a number of officials of various parties.”

Anonymous Basra police source: “A force from the Iraqi army arrested Yusuf al-Musawi, the general secretary of the Thar Allah (Vengeance of God) Organization, in a raid on his house in the Nuwwab al-Dubbat (officers’ deputies) neighborhood . . . the operation led to the arrest of six members of the organization after a gun battle between the attacking force and Musawi’s guards.”

Jasim Dakhel, al-Sharq al-Awsat, “Maliki Does Not Rule Out a Repeat of the Events at Basra and Promises to Implement ‘Charge of the Knights’ in Other Cities,” April 4, 2008.