Iraqi Civil War Leaves 22 Dead Iraqi

Iraqi Civil War leaves 22 Dead
Iraqi Islamic Party Charges US with Massacres

In the continuing Iraqi Horror Picture Show, police found 9 heads along a road at Hadid in Diyala on Tuesday, wrapped in plastic and stuffed in fruit cases.

Guerrillas also targeted a funeral procession in southeast Baghdad with a car bomb, killing 5 and wounding 18.

In central Baghdad, guerrillas tried to hit a US military convoy with a roadside bomb, near the Allawi bus station. Instead, they killed a woman and wounded a child.

Guerrillas fired three mortar rounds at the Iraqi Interior Ministry, which they have hit before. Instead, the shells landed at the Nadha bus station, leaving two civilians dead and 7 wounded.

Guerrillas also assassinated a Baghdad district council member, Thu`ban Abdul Kadhim, and his two bodyguards in the Jihad district of the capital.

Reuters also mentions two other incidents:

“BAGHDAD – A man and his wife were gunned down in the western Furat district, medical sources said. . .

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb killed one woman in Baghdad. Two people, including a teenage girl, were later killed when police who had sealed off the area opened fire when their car failed to stop despite warnings, witnesses said.”

The dead woman has been mentioned twice, but subtract one mention and the total above comes by my count to 22.

I continue to feel that we are getting only a small part of the picture of Iraqi violence. I was listening to NPR this afternoon in the car, and the report said that US troops had killed about 100 guerrillas in Ramadi during the past month. I think it fair to say that almost none of those deaths was reported in the media. And, a lot of assassinations and kidnappings must go unnoticed in the glare of the big bombings.

The Iraqi Islamic Party on Tuesday accused the United States military of having committed numerous massacres against innocent civilians, not only Haditha. Specifically, its spokesman, Omar al-Juburi, charged that:

‘ “On May 13, US forces launched an air assault on a civilian car in Latifiyah and killed six people inside the car,” Juburi told reporters.

“On the same day the US forces attacked with aircraft the house of a civilian, Saadun Mohsen Hassan, and killed seven of his family members.”

Juburi said US forces carried out another air strike the next day on the house of Sheikh Yassin Saleh Shallal in the town of Yusifiyah “killing 13 people, including women and children.” ‘

I am afraid that if we started counting all the innocent civilians killed by US airstrikes on Iraqi towns and cities as murders, the number would be very large indeed.

The significance of these charges is that they are coming from the Iraqi Islamic Party, a group that has been mostly willing to cooperate with the US. Indeed, al-Zaman says that they handed the file to US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. The IIP forms the core of the Iraqi Accord Front, the Sunni religious coalition that holds 44 seats in parliament. A vice president, a vice premier, 4 cabinet members, and the speaker of the house all belong to this coalition. So these charges are originating not with hard liners or radicals outside the new system, but with persons who are de facto allies of the United States. If this is how a key element of the Iraqi Accord Front feels about the US, relations between Washington and parts of the new government it so trumpeted are obviously very shaky.

Al-Zaman reports that the Sunni Arabs of Basra are mostly forced to stay at home, going out only when absolutely necessary, for fear of being assassinated or kidnapped. They are virtual prisoners in their homes.

The assassinations are ongoing, despite new security steps of the al-Maliki government. The day before yesterday, a Sunni Arab was killed in the middle of Basra. Sunni Arabs also pray at home rather than going to mosque, for fear they would be targeted or captured. Sunni Arab government employees have begun staying home and missing work in ever greater numbers.

The state of emergency declared by PM al-Maliki has not brought security. A wave of assassinations, mostly aimed at Sunni Arabs, has swept Basra.

The Arab League is preparing to send a commission to Basra, at the request of the Sunni Arabs. (Arab League member states have as their citizens mostly Sunni Arabs.)

Meanwhile, al-Zaman says, hundreds of British troops have spread through Basra neighborhoods, arresting persons on its list, who belong to the Mahdi Army or Iraqi military intelligence. (The latter in Basra was presumably mostly recruited from the Badr Corps paramilitary of the [hard line Shiite] Supreme Council).

US troops risk brain injury by returning to duty with even mild concussions.

This communique from the Baath Party on June 1 will be completely ignored by the public and even by Iraq analysts. But in my view it probably issues from the circle of Izzat Duri or his successor, the likely spider at the center of the guerrilla web. It is much more important than anything Abu Musab al-Zarqawi says.

Most Iraqis are poor. Those that aren’t don’t let on about their wealth. Or else.

An Iraq War veteran has called for Fox pundit Bill O’Reilly to apologize for mistakenly asserting that US troops massacred German POWs at Malmedy (it was rather the other way around). O’Reilly speaks a lot in public and one inevitably makes mistakes occasionally. But he really should have just apologized for this howler. Fox doctored the transcript sent to Lexus Nexus, substituting “Normandy” for “Malmedy,” referring to the US reprisals for the German atrocity.