Two Car Bombings of US Troops
Iraqi Politics Still Unsettled
Wire service report that ‘ Insurgents attacked US troops with two suicide car bombs in the western Iraqi town of Haditha on Friday, local witnesses said. They said a suicide bomber detonated a car next to a US patrol after American troops entered the town looking for insurgents. A second suicide car bomb exploded as US troops were securing the area after the first attack, witnesses said. ‘ Ash-Sharq al-Awsat reports that 5 Iraqis were killed in separate guerrilla attacks.
AFP reminds us that Iraq remains highly insecure 2 years after the American invasion. It reports that of the $18 billion appropriated by the US Congress for reconstruction aid, $5 billion has been spent (or earmarked for?) security.
The Financial Times tells the harrowing tale of shooting first and paying later in Iraq, including by private security teams– not just US military.
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat reports that there is a big strike by students and professors at Basra University, protesting the incursions onto the campus of members of the Sadr Movement, who are attempting to establish control over the university and its style of life.
It also says that a technical and architectural team from Iran is visiting Basra, having been invited by the city authorities to come help with reconstruction.
The BBC’s Becky Branford has done an article on the controversial character of the Iraqi interim governing council or transitional administrative law (TAL). She quotes my complaint that requiring a 2/3s majority to form a government is a recipe for gridlock, as well as defenders of the TAL who say that it forces the parties to find a consensus. I think there were other and better ways to encourage consensus, including a bicameral legislature where the upper house over-represented the Kurds and Sunni Arabs. Making it extremely difficult to form a government is highly unwise in a parliamentary system, and allowing smaller parties to virtually hold the majority hostage to maximalist demands is a recipe for resentment, not for consensus.
Rod Nordland of Newsweek is also beset by doubts and worries arising from the difficulties the Iraqis are having in forming a government.
Ardeshir Moaveni details the ways in which Iran may benefit from the new political configuration in Iraq. His suggestion that we keep our eye on what the United Iraqi Alliance decides about the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) as a barometer of Iraq/Iran relations is an excellent one.
Ash-Sharq al-Awsat: Five elected provincial councils chose governors by secret ballot this week. All are dominated by the parties of the United Iraqi Alliance (primarily the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and the Dawa Party). Results:
Aziz Kadhim `Alwan – Governor of Nasiriyah
Muhammad al-Wa’ili – ” ” Basra
Latif Muhammad Tarfah – governor of Kut
Adil Mahudar Hasan – Amara
Muhammad Ali Hassani – Samawah
Earlier reports had suggested that the Sadrists might dominate Kut and Amarah, but that appears not to have panned out.