5 US GIs Killed
British Raid Rogue Police in Basra
Coeds Raped, Killed in Baghdad
Reuters reports several deadly bombings in Baghdad.
In addition, US military spokesmen said that 5 GIs were killed by guerrillas on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, "Three U.S. Marines and a sailor were killed in action in the western Anbar province on Thursday, the U.S. military said in a statement on Friday."
In Basra on Friday:
"British troops backed by tanks yesterday seized a leader of a rogue Iraqi police unit suspected of being behind the killing of 17 people in an ambush near the Iraqi city of Basra, the British military said. Some 800 troops launched a pre-dawn raid on a house in a southern district of Basra and captured seven people, including a "significant" member of Basra's police Serious Crimes Unit, spokesman Major Charlie Burbridge said."
Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that on Friday, Baghdad awoke to discover that a horrible crime had been committed. Militiamen kidnapped three coeds from Mustansiriya University, raped them, killed them, and tossed their bodies into a courtyard at al-Adli Medical School in the capital. A woman's organization complained bitterly that the Iraqi government was doing nothing to halt a building crime wave. The organization and the girls' friends among Mustansiriya U. students also blamed the Shiite ayatollahs for lending their support to the Shiite militias. (Mustansiriya University is near to Sadr City and the implication is that the kidnappers were Mahdi Army, attacking Sunni girls).
Likewise, the militias kidnapped a female teacher from Ghazaliya district, raped her, and cast her body in the street in the Shu'la district of Baghdad.
The honor of women is a key value in Iraqi society and the kidnapping and raping and killing of these female students "in the most vile manner" has enormous shock value. Historian of Iran Afsaneh Najmabadi argued that Turkmen kidnappings of Iranian women in 1905 helped weaken the legitimacy of the Iranian state and were an element in the debates of the subsequent constitutional revolution.
A member of the Student Union said that the ability to hold classes at Iraqi universities had been put in doubt and studies might well have to stop.
Al-Zaman also reports that there is a growing split in the ruling Shiite bloc in parliament, the United Iraqi Alliance, between the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and the Sadrists, led by Muqtada al-Sadr.
A number of UIA leaders have headed to Najaf, where they are seeking the intervention of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in the crisis, in a last ditch attempt to avoid a break-up of the alliance. Sadrist MP Nasir al-Ruba'i said that talks between SCIRI and the Sadrists on Friday had failed.
The Archbishop of Canterbury writes that Middle Eastern Christians are being put at risk by the Anglo-American Iraq War.
Statements of Abu Omar Baghdadi, leader of the "Islamic State of Iraq" that 70 percent of Sunni Arab Iraqis support "al-Qaeda" should be taken with a very large grain of salt. That 70 percent support the guerrilla war against the Americans, now that is clear. Secular-leaning ex-Baath nationalists and tribal chieftains still constitute a very large proportion of the guerrillas.