Whew, off deadline
Wow, off deadline finally, and the good new — as things now stand — is that the last three days will be chronicled in this coming week’s TIME Magazine. And you guys got to read the bulk of it here first! I’ll post a link when it’s available in the next couple of days.
[UPDATE AUG-30: And here’s the “story”:http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1101040906-689431-1,00.html.]
As I mentioned, Thursday was a day of entering the Shrine with the pilgrims and going to the Sistani press conference Thursday night. When the cops came to fetch us, many of us — including this “brave” correspondent — turned out the lights in our rooms and locked the doors. I considered hiding under the bed, but there was no need this time. They didn’t shoot at us and they were (mostly) polite. I hope someone got in trouble for shooting at us.
I wish I had been able to learn more about Thursday’s protest shootings and the attack on Kufa’s mosque, but I couldn’t be everywhere at once. I think I should have gone to the protests instead of the Shrine that day. ‘Twould have been better news judgment.
The cops came again on Friday morning at 6:15 (thanks, guys!) to take us to the Shrine. Tens of thousands of pilgrims were streaming through police checkpoints to get to the Shrine. The Mahdi militiamen turned in a few of their weapons. I didn’t go, however. I had to get back to Baghdad to file and we had to leave early to avoid kidnappers in Latifiya.
I’m glad the fighting in Najaf has stopped. I’m not sure what will happen now, but perhaps there’s some hope. Moqtada has put down his weapons before in negotiated cease-fires, only to order his men to fight again. Many of his men are keeping their weapons, and it looks like the Mahdi Army will continue as a twilight militia. If Moqtada decides the political realm is not for him, anything could happen. In Iraq, it’s best not to hope too hard.
And as we saw yesterday, there is already new fighting in Sadr City. Someone didn’t get the memo.