42 Iraqis, 3 GIS Dead in Civil War
The Iraqi Civil War took the lives of another 42 persons on Tuesday. The most horrible attack was in the Shaab district of the capital. Drivers of two minibuses attacked a market. The first shot 7 persons down, then when a crowd gathered, a second minibus driver detonated his payload near a petroleum truck. The truck became a fireball, killing another 17 Iraqis and wounding at least 38. (Aljazeera is reporting the death toll from this attack at over 40.)
” At least 17 Iraqis were killed in other attacks in and around the capital and two police officers shot dead in the northern oil hub of Kirkuk.
A US soldier was killed by a bomb in the south of the capital, the US military said, adding that two soldiers were killed in a similar incident in Balad, north of the capital, the previous day.”
Al-Zaman says that fighting continues between the US military and guerrillas in Ramadi, with 12 dead and 12 wounded on Tuesday.
Al-Zaman /Reuters report that early on Tuesday morning, shops that sell wine in downtown Baghdad were bombed. The perpetrators were likely adherents of some form of political ISlam, whether Sunni or Shiite.
Gunmen assassinated the coach of Basra’s soccer team on Tuesday, according to Megan Stack of the LA Times. She also reports on the continued haggling by the four biggest partlies in parliament for cabinet posts.
Al-Zaman reports that [Ar.] hundreds of Iraqis are fleeing Basra for Baghdad every day because security is even worse in the southern port city than in the capital. The armed gangs that dominate the city are also interfering with oil exports. The paper’s sources say that thousands of Iraqis once resident in Basra are living with relatives in Baghdad, waiting for the security situation to improve in the southern port city. Wealthier Basrawis, fearful of being assassinated or kidnapped by the gangs, have come up to Baghdad and rented homes for their families.
Death squads are responsible for the 700 to 800 assassinations during the past month in Basra. President Jalal Talabani has asked Vice President Adil Abdul Mahdi (SCIRI) to take over the security file for Basra. Local police are helpless, the report says, in the face of tribal fueding and the sinister role played by the intelligence services of neighboring countries. Attempts had been made to mediate between the warring parties, by the representatives of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and other great clergymen and merchants, but those have come to nothing and a new framework is needed. The oil port is being guarded by patrols of the mainly British multinational force. The militiamen and armed gaings have begun setting up temporary checkpoints on most streets of Basra to check on the identitity of passers-by and the passengers in automobiles.
The fragmentation of Iraq has already led to a militarization of eastern Anatolia, but it could also lead the Turkish government over-reacting in such a way as to keep Turkey out of the European Union. A new, more hardline general is about to come to power in Ankara, and he will have no patience for Iraqi Kurds’ moves toward autonomy. In the worst case scenario, Turkey could be broken up.