Guerillas Wounded Two American Soldiers

*Guerillas wounded two American soldiers with a bomb as their convoy was going over a bridge in Baghdad on Monday.

*Two tribal shaikhs were assassinated in Iraq according to al-Zaman. One, `Abd al-Jabbar al-Issawi, was from the powerful Sunni al-Jubur tribe, which was favored under Saddam. Assailants shot him down in Baghdad. Who killed him or why is unknown. In Basra, tribal faction fighting led to the killing of Shaikh Makki Husayn. Tribal chieftains are important leaders in Iraq, and these violent deaths are further evidence of a breakdown in order, of which al-Zaman has been complaining. For the poor security at southern ports, see

http://www.iraq-today.com/

news/business/00009.html and

http://www.iraq-today.com/

news/business/00008.html.

*The Arab League will seat a representative of the Iraqi Interim Governing Council. The new foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari, may represent Iraq at the meetings. This step bestows new legitimacy on the IGC, which was not earlier seated at the United Nations because it was foreign-imposed rather than growing out of local Iraqi conditions. The Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt all appear to have lobbied for its acceptance. Indeed, the Egyptian government appears to have silenced Sunni clergymen at the al-Azhar seminary who had questioned the legitimacy of the IGC. Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council is worried about the deterioration of security in Iraq.

*Within Iraq, though, the IGC was challenged by the local Iraqi opposition forces, who staged a convention in Baghdad. The delegates included the Constitutional Monarchy Movement of Sharif Ali bin Husayn, tirbal leaders, and leaders of trades unions and guilds. They will discuss the possibility of electing the members of the committee that will draft the Iraqi constitution. Their slogan was “Iraq for Iraqis.” They are calling the conference, “The Council of the Delegation” (Majlis al-Wafd). For any Arab nationalist, this name will recall the demand of Saad Zaghloul and others in Egypt during the time of British colonial rule that a delegation or wafd be allowed to attend the post-World War I peace conferences from Egypt so as to argue for self-determination in accordance with President Wilson’s principles. The presence of the union leaders at this conference may be a sign that the Iraqi labor movement is beginning to adapt to the new circumstances and may begin flexing its muscles.

*A northern oil pipeline was hit on Monday by saboteurs. Al-Zaman says that this pipeline was a secondary one for internal use, and not the major pipeline to Turkey. Still, that the sabotage is continuing cannot be good news. For more on the northern pipeline see

http://www.iraq-today.com/

news/business/00010.html.

*American troops in Kirkuk on Sunday night were pelted with stones by Kurdish protesters when they took back down flags of the Kurdish autonomy movement at the demand of local Arabs and Turkmen. A Kurdish autonomy movement in Iraq would mean both civil war and Turkish intervention.- AFP

*A French diplomat told al-Sharq al-Awsat in Paris that the French could accept American military command in Iraq as long as it was authorized by the UN and as long as the right political arrangements within Iraq were made. He even allowed for the posibility of a NATO role. In part, the French attitude will depend on the outcome of talks between French President Jacques Chirac and George W. Bush on Sept. 13.

*For a somewhat hopeful article about a college in al-Hilla that teaches World Religions and tolerance to Iraqis (including Talmudic texts and the New Testament), see

http://www.iraq-today.com/

news/religion/00002.html.

The Shiite founder was initially going to be part of the Interim Governing Council but was vetoed by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq because he had had links to Saddam (anyone who founded a college in 1999 would have had).