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February 09, 2007 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, February 9, 2007 - 3

MECCA, Saudi Arabia
Palestinian faction
leaders sign deal to
share power
Rival Palestinian factions signed
a power-sharing accord aimed at
ending months of bloodshed yes-
terday, agreeing that the Islamic
militant group Hamas would head
a new coalition government that
would "respect" past peace agree-
ments with Israel.
However, Israel and the U.S.
have demanded the new govern-
ment explicitly renounce violence,
recognize Israel and agree to
uphold past peace accords. The
vague promise to respect past deals
- a compromise reached after
Hamas rejected pressure for more
binding language - did not appear
to go far enough.
U.S. and Israeli acceptance is
crucial to the deal's success. Unless
they are convinced Hamas has
sufficiently moderated, the West is
unlikely to lift a crippling financial
blockade of the Palestinian gov-
ernment, and it will be difficult to
advance the peace process.
Anna Nicole Smith
dies at hotel
Anna Nicole Smith, the pneu-
matic blonde whose life played
out as an extraordinary tabloid
tale - Playboy centerfold, jeans
model, bride of an octogenarian
oil tycoon, reality-show subject,
tragic mother - died yesterday
after collapsing at a hotel. She
was 39.
She was stricken while stay-
ing at the Seminole Hard Rock
Hotel and Casino and was rushed
to a hospital. Edwina Johnson,
chief investigator for the Bro-
ward County Medical Examiner's
office, said the cause of death was
under investigation and an autop-
sy would be done on today.
Just five months ago, Smith's
20-year-old son, Daniel, died sud-
denly in the Bahamas in what
was believed to be a drug-related
Prosecution rests in
CIA leak case
NBC's Tim Russert deflected
criticism of his ethics and cred-
ibility as he completed a heated
second day of cross-examination
yesterday in the trial of former
White House aide I. Lewis "Scoot-
er Libby.
Russert, who testified that he
never discussed outed CIA opera-
tive Valerie Plame with Libby, was
the finalprosecutionwitnessbefore
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzger-
ald rested his three-week perjury
and obstruction case. Libby's attor-
neys will begin calling witnesses
The journalist was subjected to
the kind of interrogation he usu-
ally gives guests on his Sunday
television show "Meet the Press,"
as attorneys flashed excerpts of
his previous statements on a video
monitor and asked him to explain
Supporters start
planning to draft
Gore for'08

Allies from Al Gore's past are
quietly assembling a campaign to
draft the former vice president
into the 2008 presidential race
- despite his repeated statements
that he's not running.
His top policy adviser from his
2000 presidential campaign and
other key supporters met yester-
day in Boston to mull a potential
Gore campaign. The participants
and Gore's Nashville office both
said Gore, who is in London, is not
Elaine Kamarck, a veteran of the
Clinton White House and Gore's
policy guru in 2000, said the meet-
ing was informal and shouldn't be
taken as a sign there will be a Gore
2008 campaign.
Chris Mackin, a Boston consul-
tant and Gore supporter, called
it "an early stage conversation."
But he added: "We're very serious
about exploring this."
- Compiled from
Daily wire reports
The fine in dollars that New
York State Sen. Carl Kruger wants
to charge New York pedestrians
who cross the street while lis-
tening to iPods or talking on cell
phones, The Associated Press
reported yesterday. Two of Kru-
ger's constituents were hit by
vehicles and killed while they
walking into traffic while listen-
ing to MP3 players.

Once a Shiite sit
Iraq's Sadr City

But Sunni areas are
struggling without
gov't funds
The New York Times
BAGHDAD - Just past the
main checkpoint into Sadr City,
children kick soccer balls at goals
with new green nets, on fields
where mounds of trash covered
the ground last summer. A few
blocks away, city workers plant
palm trees by the road, while men
gather at a cafe nearby to chatter
and laugh.
Sadr City,once infamous as afetid
slum and symbol of Shiite subjuga-
tion, is recovering, with the help of
$41 million in reconstruction funds
from the Shiite-led government, all
of it spent since May, according to
Iraqi officials, and millions more in
American assistance.
But as Shiite areas like Sadr City
begin to thrive as self-enclosed
fiefs, middle-class Sunni enclaves
are withering into abandoned ghet-
tos, starved of government servic-
Many residents credit a Shiite
militia, the Mahdi Army, and its
powerful political leader, the ren-
egade cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, for
keeping the area safe enough to
allow rebuilding.
Yet the Mahdi Army has also
killed U.S. troops and has been
linked to death squads preying
on Sunnis, making the district a
potential target as U.S. troops pour
into Baghdad to enforce the new
security plan.
The neighborhood, Baghdad's
largest Shiite area, is a web of con-
tradictions, at once a test of wheth-
er its progress can be sustained, a
flash point for sectarian tensions
and the heart of the government's
political and military base.
"Sadr City is different because it
has been left withoutservices fori35
years," said Hassan al-Shimmari, a
Shiite member of parliament with
the Fadila Party. "And with the
presence of the Mahdi Army, and
its agenda against the Americans -
that is what makes it disturbing."
Over three days of interviews
in homes, businesses and political
offices, residents described their
community as tight-knit, often
abused and increasingly isolated.
Abdul Karim Qasim, the prime
minister in the late 1950s and
early 1960s, built the neighbor-
hood as a public housing project
for the poor. The rectangle of
roughly 125,000 homes northeast
of central Baghdad covered an
area about half the size of Man-
hattan, with streets in a grid and
simple brick homes of about 1,550
square feet.
These days, after decades of
neglect under Saddam Hussein,
many of the houses have been
divided into multiple apartments
and many more are crumbling.
Sadr City officials, including
Rahim al-Daraji, the elected mayor,
claim that more than 2 million peo-
Mich. GOP

ple live there, almost all of them
Shiites but with a smattering still
of Sunnis and Kurds. If that num-
ber is right, the district has a higher
population density than Calcutta or
Hong Kong, which demographers
say is unlikely, given the low-rise
Undeniably, Sadr City has grown
over the past few months as fami-
lies moved there from what Iraqis
call hot zones, typically Sunni areas
where violence has brought daily
routines to a standstill. Schools are
packed with children, rents have
increased and the economy has
come alive.
More surprising than the pyra-
mids of fruit at the bustling market,
near a park with new red fences,
are the signs of leisure, like the
new children's bicycles with tassels
on the handlebars and the silvery
computer shops.
"Our neighborhood is much bet-
ter than other areas," said Hus-
sail Allawi, 41, in a crowd of men
smoking flavored tobacco, a pas-
time now rare in much of the city.
"The people are cooperative. There
are many volunteers, including the
Mahdi Army, and we are doing our
Bombings here have become
less common than in other parts
of Baghdad, though a coordinated
series of explosions last fall killed
144 people. Residents and Sadr
party officials said they felt more
secure because the Mahdi Army
kept watch at checkpoints and
on the streets. As members of the
community, militia members had
an advantage.
"The Mahdi are more loyal
because they feel they are protect-
ingtheirown families," saidAhmed
Hashem, 30.
Sadr officials have seized on a
simpler refrain: The Mahdi Army
makes peace, not war.
Amtari described the militants
as humanitarians, community vol-
unteers and "a moral army" that
checked vehicles and enforced the
Naeem al-Kabbi, a deputy mayor
affiliated with the Sadr party, said
the battles between U.S. troops
and the militia in Najaf and Sadr
City in 2004 amounted to a misun-
derstanding - though American
troops said they had come under
attack while doing little more than
Seemingly determined to bleach
clean the tarnished Mahdi image,
Sadr officials said the militia's
members would disarm temporar-
ily during the Baghdad security
plan, even if Sunnis or Americans
"Whatever the provocation, with
the surge against us or anything
else, we will not kidnap anyone or
take revenge by ourselves," said
Daraji, the mayor, who has been
negotiating with U.S. and Iraqi
officials over the role of the militia.
"We will leave everything to the
Sunni officials said Sadr offi-
cials had calculated that if they
stayed quiet for the security
plan, U.S. troops would eventu-
ally withdraw, giving Shiites even

more freedom to exercise power.
Salim Abdullah, a senior Sunni
member of parliament, added that
the security plan's impact would
be blunted in Sadr City because
Shiite militias had infiltrated the
Iraqi security forces, and could
tip off Mahdi militants before
raids began.
An open question is whether
all the Mahdi fighters will obey
orders not to fight. Some residents,
who declined to give their names,
described the Mahdi Army as a
loose collection of often rival and
rogue groups, and said arrests -
on, say, an especially volatile anti-
American street - could set off
firefights with the arrestees' fami-
lies and neighbors, even if senior
Mahdi commanders remained
But like the streets themselves,
the community's relationship
with the militia seemed to be
The Sadr organization, whose
members once whipped people on
the streets for selling alcohol, now
works out of a centrally located
office that has expanded from a
squat one-story building into a
small campus with fresh white
paint and a covered courtyard. It
has the feel of an American post
Residents said the building
reflected the move from insur-
gent group to established player.
After winning control of six min-
istries and 30 seats in parliament,
residents said, the Sadrists have
become a more traditionally politi-
cal, less religious force, with lead-
ers primarily interested in safety
and power.
There is still a saying in Sadr
City that if you anger the Mahdi,
"They'll throw you in the trunk," a
reference to their notorious gang-
sterism. And the U.S. military has
clearly taken a harder line.
bers killed Americans and innocent
civilians, U.S. troops have arrested
or killed several Mahdi command-
ers in recent weeks as part of their
efforts to pacify the capital.
In the latest move yesterda U.S.
forces raided the Health Ministry
and detained a deputy minister
whom they accused of ferrying
weapons and militants out of Sadr
City in ambulances to thwart U.S.
Some residents and officials
acknowledge that their sprawl-
ing neighborhood includes men
who contribute to Baghdad's cycle
of violence. One resident said few
people had protested the recent
increase in U.S. raids because it
was clear that some members of
the Mahdi Army cared less for the
neighborhood than they did for
killing and cash.
But in interviews, even critics of
the Mahdi Army said that security
and economics mattered most, and
that as long as the militia kept the
neighborhood safe enough to func-
tion, it could count on tacit sup-
Allawi, the laborer at the cafe,
said "the people are satisfied" with
the spoils of Sadr control.

JreRMo YnsrO/aiy
LSA freshman Dan Graves sings "The Victors" at Michigan Idol tryouts yesterday.
While his performance was well-received by the audience, the judges said his
Superman shirt and maize-and-blue socks showed that he wasn't taking the com-
petition seriously and didn't let him advance to the next round.
Join the Daily.1
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7 e i' rm'_E t v

for rape
CLEVELAND (AP) - The chair-
man of a Michigan young Repub-
lican group has been accused of
raping a 21-year-old woman while
both were in Cleveland for a con-
vention last July.
A Cuyahoga County grand jury
returned a 17-count indictment yes-
terday against Michael A. Flory, 32,
including charges of rape, kidnap-
ping, aggravated burglary, gross
sexual imposition and witness
intimidation. To play: Compic
Floryis chairman ofthe Michigan
Federation of Young Republicans, and every 3
an organization for Republicans
from age 18 to 40. He attended the
convention of the National Federa- Theres I I
tion ofYoung Republicans last sum- just use log
Flory, a lawyer, said the charges
were baseless and that he would DiffiCuIt)
plead not guilty. "As an officer of
the court, I am confident the legal 5
system can work, and will work, to
vindicate me," he said in statement
Arraignment was set for Feb. 22.
Police said July 9 that a woman,
also from Michigan, told them she
had been attacked and was taken
for hospital treatment. According
to a police report, the woman said
she had been out drinking with
friends, became intoxicated andr
Flory offered totake her back to her4
hotel room.
Cleveland police took the case to
a prosecutor in December. Police
searched then for Flory but did not 4
find him.
Assistant County Prosecutor
Carol Skutnik said the case is based
largely on the victim's statement
but that there is other possible evi-
dence. She would not elaborate.

4t l!

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1A! E1111 FEBRUARY 13,14,15,11,20,21 - ONE WEEK ONLY!

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