Iraqi Petroleum Exports up
25 killed in Civil War Violence
Borzou Daragahi of the LA Times reports severe doubts about PM Maliki's reconciliation plan in the Sunni Arab al-Anbar province.
Iraq's petroleum production has recently surged to above 2 million barrels a day, according to petroleum minister Husain Shahristani. The government recently managed to get the northern Kirkuk pipelines back online, after they faced repeated sabotage. Bad winter weather had also harmed exports from Basra earlier this year, but that problem subsided with the onset of summer.
That the US military has contingency plans for troop cuts in Iraq is not actually very interesting. Actual significant troop cuts? That would be interesting. Swopa points out that the same story about planned cuts appeared in the NYT last summer.
Al-Zaman says that the Revenge Brigades in Basra, a secretive Shiite organization, is circulating a pamphlet warning Sunni Arabs in the largely Shiite southern port city that they had until 1 July to leave the city. The threat is part of a general move to ethnic cleansing of Sunnis in the city; many Sunni families are fleeing to West Baghdad hundreds of miles to the north.
Al-Zaman reports that US troops invaded the homes of Shaikh Mithal al-Hasnawi of the Sadr Movement, and of his brother, in the town of Hindiyah in Karbala province. Al-Hasnawi eluded them, not being at home. He is accused of being implicated in attacks on music shops
Reuters reports violence in Iraq's ongoing civil war on Sunday:
Guerrillas set off a roadside bomb in the al-Shorja shopping district of Baghdad, killing 3 and wounding 17. Then guerrillas detonated a bomb in a minibus, killing 2 and wounding 5 in al-Nahda district of Baghdad. Then in the eastern Zayouna district, a suicide car bomber detonated his payload at a police checkpoint, killing a police commando and wounding 9 persons. So that is 6 dead and 31 wounded from bombings in the capital, at a time when there is a major crackdown on the guerrilla movement in Baghdad.
Guerrillas kidnapped 16 employees of a technology institute at Taji north of Baghdad.
In Khan Bani Sa`d, near Baquba to the northeast of Baghdad, guerrillas attacked a police checkpoint and killed 5 Iraqi soldiers.
In the mostly Christian town of Bartila (near Mosul) in the north, guerrillas set off a car bomb near the office of the (Shiite) Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, among the leading parties in parliament, killing 2 persons and wounding 13.
There were other scattered shootings and assassinations around the country, with a GI killed near Tikrit. US forces killed or captured a number of guerrilla fighters. The total number of dead was at least 25 on Sunday, with dozens wounded.
Number of car bombings in Iraq from the dawn of time until 2002 before the US invasion: 0.
At least 50,000 Iraqis have died in violence since the US invasion, according to Iraqi health officials. I am told by people who should know that the Lancet estimate of 100,000 is perfectly plausible, and that was some time ago.
Fresh fighting broke out in Diwaniyah. Clashes took place in al-`Asri district, gunmen clashed with police commandos. (Just speculation, but this is probably actually a fight between Mahdi Army irregulars and Badr Corps who were recruited into the police commandos by the SCIRI-dominated Interior Ministry.
In downtown Amara, gunmen assassinated Haydar Abdul Husain al-Maliki, who had just received a fellowship to study English in Switzerland from the Iraqi Ministry of Education. He was in a taxi when he was cut down; the driver was wounded.
The Iraqi parliament seems set to affirm the free market legislation of Paul Bremer, allowing foreign concerns to own 100 percent of Iraqi firms and allowing unconstrained repatriation of profits.
Sarah Smiles of The Age in Canberra reports on Australian worries that its troops will face a tougher situation replacing the Italians in Nasiriyah than they had in sleepy Muthanna. Nasiriyah has competing Dawa, SCIRI, Mahdi Army and Fadhila factions and has seen many anti-Western demonstrations. She interviews Ahmed S. Hashim, who has been in Iraq and talks of the new Iraqi army:
' Critics have described the new force [the Iraqi Army], forged after the 2003 war when the coalition dissolved the old Iraqi army, as highly unprofessional, and doubt its ability to provide security.
"I really wasn't impressed by them, their training or equipment," said Dr Ahmed Hashim of the US Naval War College, who was in Iraq as an adviser to the US Army until late last year.
"Some units were more like militias of each ethnic and sectarian group rather than a national army … Their allegiances are owed to political parties and class rather than the nation per se."
Smiles is to be congratulated for reporting the reality from Hashim, who is qualified to judge it; we see too little of this in the US press.