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Iraq Gives Order to Reopen Paper G.I.'s Had Closed...

by Blake Cook / July 19, 2004 6:28 AM PDT

BAGHDAD, Iraq, July 18 -- Prime Minister Iyad Allawi on Sunday ordered the reopening of a radical Shiite newspaper closed by United States soldiers nearly four months ago. The closing was a catalyst for some of the worst anti-American mayhem of the occupation.

Dr. Allawi's decree concerning the newspaper, Al Hawza, was a pointedly conciliatory gesture to Moktada al-Sadr, the rebel Shiite cleric whose associates run the newspaper. The decree came on the same day as Dr. Allawi approved an American airstrike meant to pound another branch of insurgent fighters, in the city of Falluja, a center for attacks on American and Iraqi forces here.

Together, Dr. Allawi's two actions seemed early evidence of his stated strategy for taming the deadly insurgency by making concessions to fighters who cooperate and cracking down on those who do not. It is unclear, however, how much influence he has with the American military, though American officials said the airstrike in Falluja was carried out after Dr. Allawi had endorsed it.

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