RealNews

Al-Sadr Newspaper Allowed to Reopen; Planes Strike Fallujah

Iraq’s prime minister issued a decree Sunday allowing a rebellious Shiite cleric to reopen a newspaper whose closure sparked a rebellion against U.S. forces, while U.S. planes struck Fallujah in an attack that shook a tenuous peace there. The al-Hawza newspaper was closed by U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer on March 28 in an attempt to squelch criticism from the cleric, Moqtada Sadr. The closure became a rallying cry for Sadr’s forces, and ensuing fighting across Shiite areas took a bloody toll on U.S. forces. Prime Minister Ayad Allawi’s move was a clear rejection of Bremer’s approach and an attempt to bring the powerful cleric and his followers into the political mainstream. Allawi said in a statement that the newspaper should resume publication “to open the way to all Iraqis’ activities, including the trend this newspaper represents, to participate” in democracy. A spokesman for Sadr, Ahmed Shaibani, said the announcement showed that “the decision to close the newspaper was wrong since the beginning. It was a black spot in the history of the U.S. civil administration in Iraq.” Full Story

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