14 Marines Killed
Islam a Main Source in Constitution
Guerrillas in Western Iraq killed 14 Marines with a huge roadside bomb on Wednesday. The guerrillas are deploying more powerful explosives in their roadside bombs, and are also “shaping” them to pierce armored vehicles. These tactics suggest that they are succeeding in getting hold of more powerful explosives, either from a depot in the country or by smuggling them in, or that they are so confident of their supply that they think they can afford to expend more on each strike at an American target.
USA Today notes:
‘ The back-to-back attacks make this one of the costliest three-day periods of the war for U.S. forces and came in an area of western Iraq that has become a crossroads between Baghdad and fighters coming across the Syrian border. At least 39 U.S. servicemembers have been killed in a series of attacks since July 24. Attacks have spiked in recent weeks: 30 U.S. servicemembers have died in the past week, compared with 18, 15 and six in the preceding three weeks.’
A public relations official for Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, Haidar Dujaili, was gunned down in south Baghdad on Thursday morning.
In Baquba, an Iraqi soldier’s family was killed when he was not at home. He lost his wife, son and daughter.
Two guards of oil installations were killed by guerrillas. US troops detained and interrogated Adnan Dulaimi, then released him. He had recently been dismissed as head of the Sunni Pious Endowments Board by the Jaafari government, and had been outspoken in his criticism of that decision and of the treatment of Sunni Arabs.
The drafters of Iraq’s new constitution have opted for a parliamentary government, where the prime minister can lose a vote of confidence and see his government fall, and where parliament has the right to call ministers and question them on policy. This system is adopted in hopes of preventing the return of a dictatorial government, which the Iraqis appear to think is more likely in a presidential system. Member of Parliament Thamer Ghadban also said that there will be two houses of parliament, a national assembly and a council of representatives from the provinces.
The NYT adds that it is told that the wrangling over whether Islam will be “the source” or “a source” of law for Iraq has been resolved with the compromise phrase, “Islam will be a main source” of legislation.
Al-Hayat says that Ghadban revealed that the president will be a ceremonial post, and power will be in the hands of the prime minister (as one would expect in a parliamentary system). The president, who will sign treaties, will have one vice-president, whom he will choose. The prime minister will be chosen by the majority bloc in parliament.
Another member of the drafting committee warned that many issues are still up in the air and disputes about them have not been resolved.
Reuters reports on the guerrilla war: “FALLUJA – An Iraqi woman was killed and two other civilians were seriously wounded when a mortar round fell on their home in the town of Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, Iraqi police said.”
Al-Zaman reports that US troops are billeted in 1700 homes in Fallujah. The newspaper says that owners are largely refusing to accept rent, and just want the soldiers out of their homes.
Italian intelligence is worried that terrorists will infiltrate Europe from Iraq, and will attempt to influence politics by attacking at times of political events such as elections. Italy will hold elections in 2006.
A little noted but potentially important conference took place in Beirut recently, of Iraqi intellectuals who “support the resistance” and are trying to think forward to after the withdrawal of US and Coalition troops. Iraqi nuclear scientist Imad Khadduri, who told the truth before the war about Iraq’s lack of a nuclear program, attended. He notes in Arabic that the conference was very controversial and met a lot of criticism before it was held.
This statement by an Iraq War veteran seems to me a clear-eyed statement of the situation.