By Julian Borger and Jonathan Steele
The Guardian: April 07, 2004
Reproduced from ZMag – ZNet
Baghdad. The Bush administration was last night facing a nightmare scenario in Iraq, fighting on two fronts against Sunni and Shia militants less than three months before it is due to hand over power to an Iraqi government.
Facing a critical moment in the effort to pacify the country, President George Bush vowed he would not budge from his June 30 deadline for the transition to self-rule, while US forces in Iraq opted for a high-risk strategy of attempting to crush both insurgent groups simultaneously.
American officials in Baghdad announced an arrest warrant for a radical Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, whose black-uniformed Mahdi militia revolted against coalition forces at the weekend, killing seven American soldiers in the Baghdad district known as Sadr City. Up to 30 Iraqis were also killed in the clashes, the worst the capital has seen since its fall to US troops a year ago.
In another sign of their tougher strategy, US forces used Apache gunships to attack targets in Baghdad for the first time since the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. The helicopters opened fire over the Shia neighbourhood of Shulla after militants destroyed a US armoured vehicle. […]