Constitution Still Deadlocked 35 Dead

Constitution Still Deadlocked
35 Dead in Guerrilla Violence

AP’s Bassem Mroue reports that the two-hour convocation of Iraqi political leaders at President Jalal Talabani’s home in Baghdad on Sunday produced no breakthroughs.

Sunni Arabs are still rejecting the concept of federalism, preferring a French-style centralized state. Kurds absolutely insist on federalism, and Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani has threatened to pull out of parliament if Kurdish demands are not met.

Tom Lasseter of Knight Ridder explains why the Iraqi guerrillas around Haditha are so elusive. The Iraqi fighters look like ordinary civilians when they aren’t actually fighting.

Reuters reports that thirty-five persons were killed in violence in Iraq on Sunday:

A truck bomber using a fuel truck detonated his payload at the gates of an Iraqi army base in Tikrit, about two hours’ drive north of Baghdad, killing 7 Iraqi soldiers and wounding 17.

Guerrillas in south Baghdad attacked an Iraqi army patrol, killing 3.

In the southeast of the capital, guerrillas gunned down two employees of the Ministry of Petroleum.

Reuters also says:

‘ In Samawah, a Shi’ite town in Al Muthanna province, where the Australian contingent is based, at least one civilian was killed and 44 wounded as protesters demanding jobs and public services clashed with police.

About 1,000 protesters gathered outside the Samawah government headquarters to protest. Violence erupted when the crowd started throwing stones at the building.

Samawah, 270 km south-east of Baghdad, is the largest urban centre in the area where Japan’s military contingent in Iraq is located.’

Al-Zaman says the demonstrators had been protesting unemployment and the collapse of services. Eyewitnesses said that some demonstrators set fire to automobiles, including a police car parked in front of the mayor’s office (the demonstrators were insisting that he resign.

All the shops in the city were shuttered because of the violence.

Even Reuters gets tired: “Twenty-three other people were killed in further attacks around the country.”

Al-Zaman says that another, much bigger, demonstration, involving thousands of persons, was staged in Baghdad demanding that the US military and the Iraqi ministers of defense and the interior explain what happened to Shiite cleric Shaikh Mahmoud al-Hassani, against whom an arrest warrant was issued and for information about his whereabouts a reward was offered.

Was American journalist Steve Vincent killed in Basra as part of an honor killing? He was romantically involved with his Iraqi interpreter, who was shot 4 times. If her clan thought she was shaming them by appearing to be having an affair outside wedlock with an American male, they might well have decided to end it. In Mediterranean culture, a man’s honor tends to be wrought up with his ability to protect his womenfolk from seduction by strange men. Where a woman of the family sleeps around, it brings enormous shame on her father, brothers and cousins, and it is not unknown for them to kill her. These sentiments and this sort of behavior tend to be rural and to hold among the uneducated, but are not unknown in urban areas. Vincent did not know anything serious about Middle Eastern culture and was aggressive about criticizing what he could see of it on the surface, and if he was behaving in the way the Telegraph article describes, he was acting in an extremely dangerous manner.

Ahmed Amr raises questions about New York Times reporter Judith Miller’s relationship to the Neoconservative network in the Pentagon and around Vice President Dick Cheney, and her role in being a cheerleader for the Iraq War.