Morning Report: May 11, 2004

- Return to Fallujah. (Belmont Club) As Fallujah residents weary of the presence of al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army, US forces have recruited officers and soldiers from their former opponents, raising eyebrows at the Pentagon, Wretchard reports. Noting that both al-Sadr and the killers of the four Blackwater contractors remain at large, BC also cautions that US divide-and-conquer tactics may backfire. “The Iraq America set out to build” must ultimately be unified and centrally governed; “erecting a nation from the center” will lead more lasting results than a patchwork of local alliances.
- Sharon’s “non-plan”. (Debka) Debka says that President Bush will have little time to hear details of Sharon’s revised Gaza disengagement plan – or “non-plan”, a term Debka attributes to Condoleezza Rice. Rice’s Israeli counterpart, Giora Eiland, questioned the likelihood of the plan’s being “applied at any time in the near future”. The Israeli analysis further suggests that the May meeting between Rice and Palestinian leader Ahmed Qureia might have been an attempt by Sharon to “persuade former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan to re-instate himself in the Gaza Strip and generate conditions suitable for implementing disengagement.” Debka caustically cites this move as “a further sign that [Sharon] is at his wits’ end.”
- Iranian activists mull response to possible air strike. (Free Iran) Rumors of a possible airstrike by Israel or the US, aimed at crippling the Iranian regime’s suspected nuclear weapons program, draw discussion on the Free Iran message board.
- Myth of unity. (Healing Iraq) Zeyad reports that the past weekend saw a show of unity between anti-American Sunni and pro-Sadr Shia groups in Baghdad. The event culminated in the formation of an alliance called Hai’yat al-Ulema al-Muwaheda, whose Sunni contingent was led by Harith al-Dhari, known for his connections with the former regime. Historically, Zeyad says, such alliances have proved shallow and short-lived.
- Emmett Till case reopened. (Reuters) The US Justice Department on Monday reopened an investigation into the sadistic 1955 killing of fourteen-year-old Emmett Till, whose death energized the civil rights movement.