I wonder if the Sunni are starting to regret the fact that they spent the first three years after the invasion aiding terrorists attacks on their neighbors. Now it seems the shoe is on the other foot and the Shia have taken off the gloves. This is good news for Sadr, sociopath that he is.
In recent days there has been reports of a massacre by American troops. Not so fast say the Americans.
Chiarelli stood by the U.S. account, disputed by Sadr aides and other Shi'ite leaders but which is broadly in line with police reports and some local witnesses who spoke of a fierce gun battle around the site.
He said an Iraqi special forces unit with about 25 U.S. advisers, trainers, medical and bomb disposal crew in support arrived to raid the site at nightfall and were immediately fired on from a number of buildings around the compound.
The troops "cleared the compound", he said, killing or capturing those inside. "It was Iraqi forces who did the fighting," he stressed. Thurman said U.S. helicopters were in the air at the time but only in support of another mission.
All the dead were killed by Iraqi fire, Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli identified the hostage as a dental technician and said: "He was shown a picture of his daughter and told if he didn't pay $20,000 he was going to be dead the next day."
Asked about the apparent surprise, not to say disapproval, of the operation in the ruling Shi'ite Alliance bloc, Chiarelli said: "It was coordinated through military channels. Not every operation we run is coordinated with every politician in Iraq."
Though he declined to be drawn on the possible involvement of Sadr's Mehdi Army militia, whose political leaders have led condemnation of the raid, Chiarelli said: "I think the backlash has been caused by the folks who set the scene up."
Both generals praised the unidentified Iraqi unit involved for its record of discipline and minimising the use of force. Chiarelli said: "They don't go in guns blazing."
I think it is time the Shia PM was replaced and the new government is formed. This has gone on long enough.
At The Film Site: Mini-Major Discussion: Cannon Films
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