At Least 19 Killed in Violence, over 2 Dozen Wounded
Reuters reports that guerrillas detonated a car bomb at Anah near the Syrian border, targeting recruits to the national guard. They killed some 16 persons and wounded 24. The geographical breadth of the guerrillas was demonstrated when they also planted a road bomb in the southern port city of Basra, which was detonated, killing a civilian and wounding four policement.
Negotiations continued between the Allawi government and the forces of Muqtada al-Sadr in Sadr City, east Baghdad. The US military had been using air strikes and tank fire to attack Mahdi Army positions in the city, wreaking havoc in the densely populated slum against civilians, as well.
I saw Allawi on al-Arabiyah speaking in Arabic, and he actually corrected himself, referring to the east Baghdad slums as “Thawrah City” after he began by calling it “Sadr City”–as though he were correcting himself. The inhabitants had renamed the area after the fall of Saddam, to honor the slain Shiite leader Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr, Muqtada’s father. I’m not sure what Allawi thinks he can accomplish by refusing to recognize that the Sadrists are a powerful force in east Baghdad and certainly influential enough to determine the name of the place. It seemed to me just one more indication that he lacks any popular touch or political good sense.
There was also fighting again in Falllujah, despite the attempts of President Ghazi al-Yawar to negotiate a ceasefire though his influence with local clan elders.
In Mosul, two Kurdish leaders were shot dead.
Ma`d Fayyad of ash-Sharq al-Awsat today does an informal survey of the views of Iraqi politicians about the desirability of holding the January 2005 elections despite the poor security situation. The old-style Sunni Arab nationalists, Adnan Pachachi and Nasir Chadirji both said they should be held. Pachachi pointed out that countries in the midst of civil war had had elections. Shiite leader Bahr al-Ulum concurred, as did the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Likewise the Iraqi Communist Party and the Turkmen female politician Songol Chapouk. Only a couple of independent politicians said ti would be better to postpone the elections.