At Least 61 Dead in Iraq Civil War, Dozens Injured
Censure Motion Against Iran Fails
Another wave of violence washed over Iraq on Wednesday. A suicide bomber killed 18 potential police recruits in Fallujah and left 20 others injured, mostly critically.
The black psy-ops folks not so long ago were touting Fallujah, 2/3s of the buildings in which were damaged in the US military assault of November, 2004, as subsequently the “safest city in Iraq.” But I guess, not so much.
Then some 39 (-Al-Zaman) bodies showed up in the streets of Baghdad, victims of the Sunni-Shiite civil war in the capital. Al-Hayat reports that the morning corpse patrol has become a regular part of Iraqi police work.
Guerrillas set up a checkpoint in the Dura district, stopped a mini-bus with college students on it, pulled 4 of them off and shot them dead. Presumably they were from the wrong branch of Islam or wrong ethnicity.
Al-Zaman / wire services report that a measure failed to pass in the Iraqi parliament that would have condemned Iran for its military attacks on the Kurdish Marxist guerrilla group PKK/ Pejak, which has been given refuge by Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani inside Iraq. The Kurdistan Alliance introduced the motion to condemn.
MP Wael Abdul Latif (a secular Shiite from Basra) of the Iraqi National List said that parliament should not rush in issuing a statement, but rather should first get details from Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi and Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. His colleague in the Iraqi National List, the Communist Hamid Majid Musa, in contrast, wanted an immediate condemnation of Iran. Musa also wanted parliament to condemn recent American (mainly Senator Joe Biden) proposals for a partition of Iraq, saying that “to remain silent is to fall short.” (Note that Iran is fighting Kurdish Communists).
Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari suggested that the incidents had been relatively minor and did not constitute a security threat for Iraq. He asked that the problem be dealt with through diplomacy, and that no hasty steps be taken before the information was gathered.
Kurdistan Alliance MP Husain Barzinji said he would ask for details from Defense Minister Saadoun Dulaimi and from Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari about the issue, as a way of bringing it to closure. It appears that the censure motion was blocked by a coalition of a) secular Shiites, b) religious Shiites, and c) pragmatic Kurds. The latter appear to have felt that a parliamentary motion of censure against a neighbor was unwise, and that the issue was best dealt with by quiet behind-the-scenes negottiation.
Note that the Turkish build-up of troops on the Iraqi border and Turkish rockets landing inside Iraq, also aimed at PKK sites, did not result in a similar censure motion.
A significat number of MPs in the new parliament [Ar.] would like to see the government talk directly to the leaders of what locals call the “Resistance,” i.e. the guerrilla movement.
Parliament established a committee headed by MP Husain Shahristani to set rules for parliamentary procedure. The formation of another committee, to oversee negotiations on amending the constitution, was put off until after the formation of a government.
Sunni Arab MP Dhafir al-Ani said that the provision in the current constitution allowing further provincial confederacies, including Shiite superprovinces in the deep south and in the middle Euphrates, threatens to break up Iraq.
Al-Zaman/Reuters report that the Basra Provincial Council has restored relations with the British military. The lack of relations, which were broken off when the British came into conflict with local militias and their official supporters late last summer, has been an obstacle to talks on a British and Danish withdrawal from the region. (The withdrawal would have to be coordinated with Iraqi military units.)
Reuters points out, correctly, that high politics inside the Green Zone (the 4 sq mile heavily fortified and guarded compound in downtown Baghdad) is irrelevant to the guerrilla war going on in the 7 or 8 center-north provinces of the country.
Baghdad is often getting only one hour of electricity a day! It is hot in Iraq, now. People’s groceries are spoiling. It will be years and billions more invested before sufficient electricity can be generated, assuming the guerrillas don’t just blow up the new plants.