17 Killed, Mostly Policemen
Sabrina Tavernisse of the New York Times managed to get the figures from the Iraqi Health Ministry on how many Iraqis are dying each month in violence related to the civil war. They estimate about 8,000 in the past 10 months, or 800 per month. This number appears not to include persons killed by US military action.
Even if the figure of 300,000 for the number of civilian victims of the Baath regime is not an exaggeration, that would be over 37 years, or 8,000 per year. That is, American Iraq is presiding over a civilian death rate greater than the highest estimates per month per capita for that of the Baath regime.
Hannah Allam of Knight Ridder finally explains the puzzle I have raised several times, of why the new Iraqi army seemed not to have good military equipment. It turns out that former interim Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan and his underlings spent $300 million on substandard junk, in deals that were often lucrative for the Defense Department officials, in bribes and kickbacks.
Reuters reports on guerrilla violence in Iraq on Thursday:
Guerrillas killed 3 policemen and wounded two others in al-Rashad, half an hour’s drive north from Kirkuk.
In Baghdad, guerrillas wounded three journalists in a drive-by shooting, as the journalists headed to the funeral for the victims of Wednesday’s car bombing in New Baghdad.
Roadside bombs killed two policemen somewhere between the cities of Samawa and Diwaniya in the Shiite south.
Deeper south, guerrillas killed one policeman and wounded another in Basra.
In Mosul, a joint US-Iraqi patrol shot an Iraqi civilian dead for driving too close to them even though they warned him off.
In Baghdad, three suicide bombers tried to hit a checkpoint near the Green Zone, killing two policemen and wounding 7 as two of them blew themselves up. A third was captured.
Near Baqubah, about an hour northeast of Baghdad, police report that guerrillas killed 5 Iraqi employees of a nearby American base.
A huge explosion shook Baghdad late in the evening on Thursday. No real details were available.
AFP adds, “Meanwhile, Abdul-Aziz Al Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Iraq’s largest Shi’ite group, said insurgents in Iraq have been killing Shi’ites and burying them in mass graves because of their faith.”
Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari will go to Iran on Saturday for extensive consultations. Jaafari had been given asylum in Iran roughtly 1980 through 1989 under Ayatollah Khomeini.