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Sadrists Accuse Sunni Politicians of Ties to Terror 86 Dead in Political Violence
by juan cole (reposted)
Monday Oct 2nd, 2006 6:13 AM

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sadrists Accuse Sunni Politicians of Ties to Terror
86 Dead in Political Violence

The Sadr movement is calling for removal of some Sunni Arab cabinet ministers of the Iraqi Accord Front IAF) after a bodyguard of IAF leader Adnan Dulaimi was implicated in a plot to set off a string of car bombs in Baghdad, including in the Green Zone. Dulaimi denies involvement in the plot and challenges the arrest of his bodyguard and several other Sunni suspects on Saturday.

Al-Zaman reports [Ar.] that MP Baha' al-A`raji (Shiite Sadrist) said on Sunday that the banned Baath Party had prepared a coup plot aimed at overthrowing the government of PM Nuri al-Maliki. He attacked Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi and Vice Premier Salam al-Zawba`i-- both from the Sunni fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front--accusing them of involvement in terrorism. Al-A`raji said at a news conference on Sunday that the coup was plotted by Saddamists and radical Sunnis who believe Shiites are infidels, as a way of saying to the government "We are still here."

Al-Zaman says that internet sites close to the banned Iraqi Baath Party had carried rumors last week of an impending coup attempt against the al-Maliki government.

Al-A`raji maintained that Prime Minister al-Maliki lacks confidence in his vice premier, Salam al-Zawba`i, without mentioning the latter's name. Al-A`raji said, "As you know, one of the vice premiers of al-Maliki recently attempted to bring a car bomb into the Cabinet meeting." He said of Tariq al-Hashimi that he had a big conflict with a member of parliament and that some persons had attempted to protect the vice president with terror operations, which led to the killing of his sister, the MP Liqa' Al Yasin. (This is a government? It sounds like competing Mafia families!)

Ammar Wajih, a leader of the Iraqi Accord Front, denied any link to the alleged coup plot. He told al-Zaman, "We are a party to the current government of national unity, which we consider, despite its flaws, better than any revolutionary government." He said that any coup that targetted the Maliki government would lead to a civil war and ignite sectarian violence. He said that VP Tariq al-Hashimi and the secretary general of the Iraqi Accord Front would reply to the charges at a news conference later on Monday.

Wajih also said that there had been unannounced clashes between the Mahdi Army and US troops in Baghdad, which had created a crisis for the Sadr leadership, which it was trying to resolve by attacking Sunni Arab parties. He called for the Shiite militias to be dissolved, saying that they had attacked dozens of Sunni mosques since the fasting month of Ramadan began.

Nancy Youssef of the McClatchy News Service reports that Shiite clerical leader Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his Mahdi Army militiamen to lay down their arms at least for now. His order, delivered in secret last Friday, said to commanders:

' • Reduce the size of units to 75 fighters, from as many as 400, to make the units more manageable.

• Issue new identification cards to Mahdi army members to replace IDs that have been forged.

• Send every member to an orientation course that would outline the group's mission.

• Lay down weapons temporarily. '

She also reports that a Sadrist preacher threatened Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his American "masters" with Mahdi Army weaponry, saying that "our patience has limits." He was demanding that al-Maliki intervene to stop Sunni Arab death squad killings of Shiites, the corpses of which are arriving in bulk at cemeteries in Najaf and Karbala from Baghdad.

The LA Times reports that a raid at 2 am on Monday by US troops on a wanted figure from the Mahdi Army in largely Shiite Sadr City went bad, with the US troops taking heavy gunfire and departing, and a woman and a child killed in the crossfire. Reuters says that the US forces arrested 4 persons before leaving.

Reuters reports on political violence, including the unconventional civil war, on Sunday, saying that some 86 persons were killed or announced dead. Two GIs were killed in al-Anbar Province on Saturday. Other major incidents:

' BAGHDAD - A total of 50 bodies were recovered by Baghdad police in various parts of the city over the 24 hours to Sunday evening, an Interior Ministry official said. Many had been tortured and most were bound and shot in the head. . .

FALLUJA - A car bomb in a vegetable market killed four civilians and wounded six in Falluja, 50 km (35 miles) west of Baghdad, police said.

SUWAYRA - Police retrieved five bodies, including that of a schoolgirl, from the river Tigris in the town of Suwayra, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. All bodies were shot in the head and chest.

MAHMUDIYA - The bodies of four people, bound and blindfolded, were found with gunshot wounds to the head in the town of Mahmudiya, just south of Baghdad, police said. . .

There were also clashes in Ramadi between guerrillas and US troops last week, which were only now being reported. What I hear is that these clashes in Ramadi are an almost daily matter, but typically neither they nor their casualties get reported in the US press.

The NYT adds that "On Sunday evening in Al Amel, a neighborhood in western Baghdad that is largely Sunni Arab, 26 workers were taken from a store that sells sandwiches and meat pastries, Iraqi officials said."

This article raises the question of what in the world the US military learned from screening "The Battle of Algiers". My suspicion? The only part that sank in was when Col. Mathieu told the press corps that victory depended on them and their willingness to accept torture without question.

Excerpts from translations of the Iraqi press and paraphrases of articles done by the USG Open Source Center:

' Al-Sabah on 30 September publishes on page 4 a 200-word report entitled 'Looting of Cables and Transformers Causes Blackout in Several Districts in Basra.'

Al-Zaman on 30 September carries on the front page a 260-word report entitled 'Eight Mortar Rockets Injure Citizens, Including Children, in Samarra.'

Al-Zaman on 30 September runs on the front page a 140-word report entitled 'Insurgents Killed and Dozens of People Arrested in Ba'qubah.' . . .

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Iraq's fragile government showed further signs of strain Sunday, as Shiite political leaders expressed growing frustration at having to share power with Sunni Arabs whom they view as having ties to insurgents.

"There is a real trust crisis," said Baha al-Aaraji, a prominent Shiite legislator at a news conference broadcast on national television. "The prime minister does not trust his deputy," and the speaker of parliament "does not trust his first deputy."

The remarks, which included a call for a Cabinet reshuffle, came after the revelation Friday that a guard working for a leading Sunni politician may have been involved in a plot to blow up multiple car bombs in the Green Zone. But they quickly led to a larger debate, with Sunni and Shiite factions accusing one another of protecting their militias and governing to suit their own sects.

The outburst underscored the weakness of Iraq's government. A patchwork of parties and groups that represents most of Iraq's ethnicities and sects, the government was assembled through weeks of bitter negotiations brokered by the Americans this spring.