The Bush administration announced last night it is now considering sending more troops to Iraq as the opposition to the US occupation has spread to portions of the Shiite community.
US Central Command also said it has canceled plans to allow 24,000 U.S. troops to take scheduled leave in the next few weeks.
The decisions came a day after followers of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr staged an armed uprising across at least five Iraqi cities. On Monday, the head of the US occupation Paul Bremer declared Sadr to be an outlaw, and the US made public an old warrant for his arrest on charges that he was involved in the slaying of a rival cleric last year.
Sadr responded by saying, “I’m accused by one of the leaders of evil, Bremer, of being an outlaw. If that means breaking the law of the American tyranny and its filthy constitution [for Iraq], I’m proud of that and that is why I’m in revolt.”
Meanwhile in Washington, Senator Ted Kennedy blasted the war in Iraq saying it had become Bush’s Vietnam War.
Scores of Iraqis and about 15 U.S. troops have died since Sadr called for an armed uprising against the U.S. Earlier today, Reuters reports Italian troops killed 15 Iraqis in Nassiriya. In Baghdad, up to 60 Iraqis have been killed in the area known as Sadr city. For the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein, the U.S. has begun using Apache gunships to bomb parts of the Iraqi capital.
While the US attempted to crack down on the Shiite followers of Sadr, 1300 Marines have sealed off the Sunni city of Falluja where four US military contractors were killed last week.
For the first time the US potentially faces a two-front war against both Sunnis and Shiites.
The foreign minister of US ally Qatar, said last night: “We fear that we are facing a civil war in Iraq, [it] reminds me of what happened in Afghanistan and Lebanon.”
A new poll by the Pew Research Center found just 40 percent of Americans now approve of Bush’s handling of the Iraq situation. This marks a rapid fall since January when 60 percent of the nation supported Bush’s handling of Iraq.
On Monday, Bush said plans had not changed to hand over power to the Iraqis on June 30. Despite the emergence of a two-front war in Iraq, the New York Times reports the president did not appear to enter into a crisis mode on Monday. He spent the day campaigning and appeared at a St. Louis Cardinals game where he threw out the first pitch.
Secretary of State Colin Powell rejected calls Monday by Caribbean nations for a United Nations inquiry into the ouster of Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide.
While meeting with the new U.S.-installed government in Haiti, Powell said, “I don’t think any purpose would be served by such an inquiry. Haiti was on the verge of a total security collapse.”
Aristide has maintained he was overthrown in a U.S.-led coup.
A new government study shows that African-American women are 23 times as likely to be infected with the AIDS virus as white women in this country.
The American Civil Liberties Union plans to file a lawsuit today challenging the government’s “no-fly” lists that restricts some people from flying on commercial flights.
The ACLU said Monday, “Many innocent travelers who pose no safety risk whatsoever are stopped and searched repeatedly.”
Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader suffered a setback Monday when he attempted to get on the Oregon presidential ballot. Under Oregon state law a candidate can get on the ballot if 1,000 people attend a petition signing rally. The rally was held last night but just under 750 voters showed up. Nader still has a chance to get on the ballot if he can collect 15,000 signatures over a three-month period.
A joint US-Canadian panel has blamed Ohio power company FirstEnergy Corporation for last summer’s blackout that spread across much of the Northeast.
Federal prosecutors say a former Florida professor accused of financing terrorism was briefly an FBI informant. The professor, Sami Al Arian, and three other men face a 50-count federal indictment that charges they used a charity in the United States to raise money for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Federal prosecutors revealed he was briefly an FBI informant after his lawyers attempted to get the government to hand over taped conversations between Al Arian and numerous Washington politicians including aides to the Bush and Clinton administrations.