18 GIs killed in 72 Hours
Anti-Prison Demonstrations in Baghdad
From Wednesday to Friday, guerrillas in Iraq killed 18 US troops. The most tragic single incident came on Friday, when guerrillas used old Baath rocket parts to make an enormous bomb that killed 10 Marines near Fallujah and wounded 11. CNN points out that Marine convoys tend to spread out to limit such casualties, so the death of 10 GIs in one incident suggests just a horrific explosion. There were said to be 600,000 tons of munitions stored in Iraq, one of the more militarized societies in the world, and over 200,000 tons are probably still unaccounted for.
On Wednesday, four GIs had been killed in separate incidents.
Think Progress points out that Bush knew about the bad news of 10 Marines killed near Fallujah before his remarks on the economy, and did not even mention it.
On Friday, as well, over a thousand Shiites and Sunnis held joint Friday prayers services and then mounted demonstrations downtown. The prayers were held at the mosque of Abu Hanifah in Adhamiyah. They demonstrated against the continued US military sweeps [of places like Ramadi].
Al-Zaman says that they were demanding the trial of the official in charge of the Jadiriyah Prison where 150 largely Sunni detainees had been tortured and starved. They said that Abu Karim Alwandi, the head of intelligence for the Badr Corps paramilitary, who presided over Jadiriyah, had to be held to the rule of law. Some placards angrily charged that Iraqis had been tortured on Iranian orders. This allegation comes about because the prison was in the charge of the Ministry of Interior, controlled by Bayan Jabr Sulagh, a prominent member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which had been based in Iran 1982-2003. Some placards accused the minister of being an American puppet. The crowds also demanded the release of detainees held by the US in Iraq.
The Shiites involved were likely followers of Muqtada al-Sadr, who have a rivalry with SCIRI and who have sometimes engaged in a politics of pan-Islam, hooking up with Sunni fundamentalists for anti-imperial purposes.