48 Killed, Dozens Wounded
Basra Tribal Leader Threatens More Violence
2 US GIs Killed
Two more US GIs were announced killed in Iraq on Thursday. Roadside bombings against US and multinational forces spiked during the last month. Some pro-guerrilla web sites have said that they wanted to punish the US for supporting Israel against Hizbullah.
Combining various wire service and Arabic press accounts, I came up with about over 50 killed in Iraq on Thursday. This is probably only about half of the actual number, since about 110 civilians have been being killed each day. Not everything shows up in our wire services, at least all on the same calendar day. For instance, al-Sharq al-Awsat is reporting five bodies fished out of the Tigris River in Baghdad, which I don’t think most Western wire services caught.
Civil War violence killed dozens again on Thursday in Iraq. The most deadly incident:
‘ At least 12 Iraqis were killed and 25 wounded in a remote- controlled car bombing in a busy marketplace in eastern Baghdad’s predominantly Shiite district of Sadr City, witnesses said. ‘
Reuters reviews other civil war violence in Iraq on Thursday. Major incidents include:
‘ SINJAR – Nine people were wounded, including four civilians, when a suicide car bomber targeting Kurdish security forces blew himself up on a road in Sinjar, northwest of Mosul . . .
DAQUQ – A roadside bomb exploded in the town of Daquq, 45 km (25 miles) south of Kirkuk, killing two civilians and wounding a third . . .
BAQUBA – Nine civilians, including three brothers, were assassinated in separate attacks in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad . . .
MUQDADIYA – Several mortars landed on a market near a Shi’ite mosque in the town of Muqdadiya, 90 km (55 miles) northeast of Baghdad, wounding 21 people . . .
BAGHDAD – Three policemen were wounded when a car bomb exploded in Mansour district, west-central Baghdad . . .
NEAR FALLUJA – The bodies of two men with gunshot wounds, bearing signs of torture, were found dead just north of Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, police said. . .
SUWAYRA – The bodies of six blindfolded civilians with their hands bound and with multiple gunshot wounds were retrieved from the Tigris river in Suwayra, a town 45 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad . . .
The Melbourne Herald Sun reports that authorities in the Shiite holy city of Karbala have reached an agreement with radical clergyman Mahmud Sarkhi al-Hasani. He is to cease supporting groups openly carrying around weapons and attacking government buildings. Karbala security forces had cracked down on his movement on Tuesday, invading a safe house to look for weapons stockpiles. Although this article says he didn’t until recently have a militia, I believe that is incorrect. In fact, I suspect that Hasani’s militia is responsible for some of the violence against British troops in the south.
Hasani leads a cult that views the current Iraqi central and provincial governments as puppets of Iran, which he thinks is persecuting him. He also is vehement in calls for withdrawal of foreign troops, and his followers have clashed with US and British military forces.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports [Ar.] that Faruq al-Khuyun, the son of Faisal al-Khuyun (sheikh of the Bani Asad tribe who was assassinated the day before yesterday in a market in Basra) has accused the governor of Basra of having targetted his father and their tribe. He said Basra security forces had also assassinated his brother, Ghazwan al-Khuyun, just three months ago. Faruq said that his tribe’s attack on the governor’s offices was a minor thing, and that they would, tomorrow or thereafter, occupy those offices altogether.
I don’t think the security situation in Basra looks too bright.
Iraq has had to double the amount of money it spends on importing petroleum products in August and September. The country is undergoing a severe fuel crisis.
Matthew Rothschild reads the NYT tea leaves and concludes that Bush may be contemplating bringing in a strong man to rule Iraq and giving up on this democracy business.
One quibble. The strong man wouldn’t be Chalabi, who is afraid to scuff his Gucci shoes. It would be a Shiite ex-Baathist officer in the old Iraqi army who knew how to make people an offer they couldn’t refuse.
As for the merits of the plan, it would not work. The general Iraqi population is politically mobilized and well armed, and the Iraqi state is weak, as are its armed forces. You’d need an army with 6,000 tanks and lots of helicopter gunships, loyal to its leader and willing to kill thousands of innocent oridary Iraqis. None of these prerequisites exist, and probably won’t for a while, if ever.