56 Dead in Iraq Violence
Spike in Attacks on US Troops out of Anger over Israel
It's Iraq, Stupid, concludes the Trib on the basis of a new Gallup poll that shows this subject is the number one concern of about a third of voters.
Two more US troops were killed by guerrillas in al-Anbar province, western Iraq, on Wednesday. 12 have been killed in since Thursday a week ago.. Iraqi guerrilla leaders are said to have found it much easier to recruit insurgents and gain support for direct attack on US troops because of Israel's war on Lebanon. They have been able to do far more mortar attacks on US targets.
The US military confirms that attacks on US military personnel in Iraq are way up recently.
Has Ehud Olmert indirectly killed 12 US Marines and soldiers, and wounded many more, this week? I mean, while thousands of US and British troops were essentially hostage to the good will of millions of Iraqi Shiites all around them, was this really the appropriate time to launch a total war on Lebanese Shiites?
The Associated Press reports that guerrillas fighting the Iraqi civil war killed 52 persons around the country on Wednesday. I count 56 dead in this Reuters report. Nearly 15 persons, some of them quite young, were killed in bombings or mortar strikes on soccer fields in Shiite areas of the capital, while others were wounded. Eleven bodies were found in Suwayra, victims of faith-based killings.
President Jalal Talabani seemed to say Wednesday that Iraq would take over security duties by the end of the year. His spokesman had to come out and say he didn't really mean it. The statement caused a flurry in the Washington press corps, which takes Mam Jalal's title too seriously and doesn't seem to realize that he is sort of like Reagan was and you can't take everything that comes out of his mouth very seriously.
In fact, there is no prospect of Iraqi government military and security forces getting a handle on the situation in most of the country unaided, and they aren't even doing very well with massive aid.
A quarter of the leaders of Iraq's national police are suspected of being criminals or of having strong sectarian biases of a sort that mgiht lead them to use their forces to ethnically cleanse neighborhoods of Sunnis.
Thousands of Shiites thronged the streets of Baghdad on Wednesday[Ar.], rallying against the Baathists they say are leading the Sunni Arab insurgency. The Financial Times says that many of the demonstrators were members of the Badr Corps or local protection committees, young men wearing civilian uniforms. Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, addressed them, commending neighborhood-based security committees, which he said could defend residents of all religions and ethnicities. (This plan sounds to me suspiciously like the komitehs of revolutionary Iran, and over time they will likely become neighborhood-based militias and death squads).
Al-Hakim also met, through the good offices of Talabani, with Harith al-Dhari, a leader of the hard line Sunni Association for Muslim Scholars. The meeting was preparatory to a national reconciliation conference.
Iraqi shopkeepers face shortages of wholesale goods, a thinning out of their customer base because of lack of security, and attacks on themselves because they are often of the wrong faith or ethnicit for their neighborhood.
Well I guess so department. Cicsco has won a big contract for Petroleum refining in Kurdistan.