Battle rages in Iraq's holy city


There is fierce fighting in the Iraqi holy city of Najaf, where US forces are clashing with militants loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr.
US tanks backed by helicopters have for the first time been sent into the city's ancient cemetery to foil a spate of hit-and-run attacks by militiamen.

There is also fighting in the southern city of Nasariya where Shia militia have attacked coalition headquarters.

A number of foreign troops and workers are believed trapped in the building.

More at Al Jazeera
Likely that the US troops will score an own goal in NAJAF, attacking the symbolic home of their religion is likely to encourage rather than dissuade. They are fighting in a neck of the woods where families are proud of their martyred sons, who in turn are very willing to die for their source of inspiration Muqtadah AL SADR.

In NASIRIYA the Italians probably have themselves in a right old mess, the way that the city is laid out may mean that releasing the CPA headquarters in the centre of town proves exceedingly difficult. Similar attacks are likely in BASRA but unlikely to be as successful, due to the geography (as well as the nationality of the local troops and their ROE).


Even as the Titanic caught sight of the iceberg it could not sufficiently alter its course.
Trouble is there's nothing the US can do to make this one any easier. The insurgents have in my view quite deliberately set out to draw the US into combat in sensitive areas. Either the US back off, effectively ceding control or they fight and create martyrs and new supporters. It's a sh!t sandwich and the US are the only ones eating at the moment.

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