Deadly Sectarian Violence kills 76, Wounds 179
Talabani Condemns Jaafari for Turkey Visit
The Los Angeles Times estimates the dead in various attacks throughout Iraq on Tuesday at 76, with 179 wounded. Details are below.
In the meantime, the glacial political process among top Iraqi politicians was roiled on Tuesday by a confrontation between President Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish leader, and Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari.
Jaafari planed a visit to Ankara without consulting Talabani or his cabinet, according to Talabani, who accused the PM of returning to his old high-handed ways. Talabani thundered that Jaafari's behavior contradicted the clear desire expressed by the major parties that the next government be one of national consensus. He said the prime minister was not at liberty unilaterally to make agreements with foreign states that might bind Iraq in the long term.
Talabani said that Jaafari was supposed to notify the president and also the speaker of the house about any planned trips abroad, according to the Transitional Administrative Law. (Since the largely American-authored TAL has been de facto if not de jure superseded by the Iraqi constitution, which was approved last October 15, and since the religious Shiites who have essentially won two elections in the past year always rejected the TAL, Talabani's attempt to impose it on Jaafari at this late date is unlikely to succeed.)
This dispute may seem minor, but it probably signals that Talabani is determined to unseat Jaafari as the prime ministerial candidate for the United Iraqi Alliance. It also seems likely that Jaafari is seeking to do some sort of deal with Turkey of which Talabani disapproves. (The Iraqi Kurds don't generally get along with Ankara). In fact, one of the few things that could explain Talabani's outburst would be that Jaafari is secretly exploring Turkish military aid of some sort to the new Iraqi government. The Kurds would consider that out of bounds, since they are afraid of the Turkish military. Turkey is dead set against the emergence of an independent Kurdistan, for fear that its own Kurds might try to secede and join it.
Al-Hayat says that Muqtada al-Sadr is heading for Ankara as well, at the invitation of the Turkish government, and bringing some Sunni leaders in his entourage. Something is afoot between the Shiites and the Turks.
Since Jaafari needs the Kurds to form an initial government and get a president who can appoint a prime minister, this outbreak of Kurdish hostility to him could derail his candidacy for prime minister in the new government. They are already saying in Baghdad that it will take 2 months to form a government, but if the Shiite religious parties in the United Iraqi Alliance have to start from scratch in choosing a prime minister, it could take much longer. Meanwhile the country outside the Green Zone is in flames, aside from Kurdistan and maybe a few southern cities.
Lin Noueihed reports that armed militias and gangs rule the streets of Iraq. As for Tuesday's worrisome violence:
Al-Zaman [Ar.] reports that guerrillas detonated 4 carbombs in Karada, New Baghdad, a gas station in southeast Baghdad, and North Baghdad.
Guerrillas killed a US soldier in West Baghdad with small arms fire.
A Sunni mosque in the Hurriyah district of Baghdad was blown up.
Guerrillas attempted to assassinate Dahham Radi al-`Asal, a senior adviser to the Ministry of Defense with a roadside bomb, but only managed to kill 5 and wound 7 of his bodyguards.
In downtown Baghdad, guerrillas used a roadside bomb to wound 3 Iraqi police near al-Nida' mosque.
The Iraqi army found 9 bullet-riddled bodies in Nahrawan. All of them were from that city, near Wasit south of Baqubah. The dead included Shaikh Khital al-Muhammadawi, chief of the Al Muhammad tribe in the city.
In Nasiriyah, a roadside bomb aimed at an Italian convoy instead wounded two Iraqi civilians. The Italian soldiers escaped unscathed.
In Amara, guerrillas deployed a roadside bomb against a British convoy, killing 2 British soldiers and wounding a third.
Hmm. Someone seems to be targetting Coalition troops in the south of the country.
A rash of assassinations of physicians in Mosul continued, with the killing of Dr. Ya`sun Sulayman. [There has been a series of assassinations of doctors in Mosul? Everywhere you look south of Kurdistan, you find new corners of this ongoing horror show in Iraq!]
A roadside bomb in Kirkuk that targetted a high police official instead seriously wounded 4 civilians.
A bomb attack inflicted significant damage on a small mosque in Tikrit where the father of Saddam Hussein is buried.
Mortar shells landed near the television station run by the Iraqi Islamic Party, killing two senior employees at the station. [The Iraqi Islamic Party has a television station in Tikrit? It is a Sunni fundamentalist group descended from the Muslim Brotherhood).
In north Fallujah two bullet-riddled bodies showed up in the street. In the same place, guerrillas used a roadside bomb to kill two Iraqi national guardsman.
The Association of Muslim Scholars (hard line Sunnis) denied on Tuesday the reports that Shiite families had been forced out of Sunni neighborhoods in west and north Baghdad. It also confirmed that there were 26 casualties among worshippers at the Dhat al-Nitaqayn Mosque in New Baghdad when it was shelled during evening prayers on Monday.
Nancy Youssef reports from Baghdad that Sunni Arabs are sending arms to Baghdad and forming militias to match those of the Shiites, which attacked Sunni mosques last week. More good news.