1500 Dead in August
Sunnis in Parliament Complain about Shiite confederacy plan.
Two US troops were announced killed on Thursday.
The (Sunni) Speaker of Parliament complained bitterly Thursday that he had not been presented with a copy of a draft law on regional confederacies submitted by the Shiite coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance.
In other news, Mashhadani’s nephew was kidnapped on Thursday, according to al-Sharq al-Awsat/ AFP.
Salih Mutlak [Ar.] , the leader of a small Sunni contingent of 11 secular deputies in parliament, denounced the Shiite plan for a southern federal region in no uncertain terms and said he and his part would go to the mat to stop the partition of Iraq.
It turns out that another 1500 or so Iraqis died in political violence in Baghdad in August, about the same as July, which was a record month. Earlier Iraqi health ministry figures had suggested that there was a reduction, but this idea now seems to have been shot down. The US military said that the murder rate has fallen by fifty percent, but that may have been based on preliminary and unreliable preliminary data.
If the “Battle of Baghdad” is making no difference at all to the civil war in the streets of the capital, that is very, very bad news.
Iraq the Model: The thin-skinned Iraqi government has closed the news bureau in Baghdad of al-Arabiyah satellite television. Al-Arabiyah is known in the Arab world as conservative, pro-American and pro-Saudi. If even they are unacceptable in Iraqi journalism, freedom of speech in Iraq is in big trouble.
The Sunni al-`Ubayd tribe based at Hawija has held a congress at which members called for the release of Saddam Hussein, the readmission of Baathists to civil and political society, and the dissolution of Shiite militias as prerequisites for national dialogue and reconciliation.
Roadside bombs this summer in Iraq targetting US troops were four times as numerous as they had been last January. There has been a substantial fall-off of tips from Iraqis. The main reason for this is apparently that it has become, since the Samarra shrine bombing of last February, difficult for Iraqis to circulate much, so even sympathetic Iraqis just don’t see the bombs. (It seems also possible that as sectarian hatreds have increased, they cannot be sure if the roadside bomb is aimed at the other side, and so figure it is best to leave it where it is.)
The handover of control of one of Iraq’s 10 divisions to Prime Minister al-Maliki is not as big a step as some news sources are hyping it. My understanding is that even that one division cannot undertake big operations without getting permission from the Americans.
US troops raided the home of late Shiite Ayatollah Muhammad al-Ghurayfi on Wednesday, arresting his three sons and confiscating large amounths of equipment. Ghurayfi was assassinated by Saddam in the late 1990s.
Reuters reports civil war violence for Thursday. Excerpts of major incidents:
KIRKUK – A roadside bomb exploded on Wednesday near a police patrol in Kirkuk, wounding four policemen, including an officer, police said. . .
MOSUL – The bodies of six men with multiple gunshot wounds were found in the northwestern suburbs of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, sources at the morgue said. . .
BAGHDAD – A suicide car bomber killed 10 people and wounded 17 at a petrol station used by police vehicles in eastern Baghdad, police said. The casualty toll included police and motorists caught in congested traffic nearby. . .
BAGHDAD – Two bombs planted in a market killed two policemen and four civilians in Zaafariniya in southern Baghdad, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in Karrada district, central Baghdad, killing one civilian and wounding two others, police said. . . .
BAGHDAD – Four people, including two policemen, were wounded when a police patrol was struck by a roadside bomb in al-Qahtan intersection, western Baghdad, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – A suicide car bomber targeting a police patrol killed three people and wounded 10 in a tunnel in Bab al-Sharji district, central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said. . .
BAGHDAD – Gunmen killed two policemen and wounded four civilians when they attacked Shi’ite pilgrims crossing a southern Baghdad bridge, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – Two roadside bombs exploded in different areas of the mostly Shi’ite Amil neighbourhood in southwestern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding seven others, an Interior Ministry source said. The target of the bombs was unclear. . .
BAGHDAD – A suicide car bomber detonated his explosives at an Iraqi police commando checkpoint in western Baghdad’s Yarmouk district, wounding seven police commandos, an Interior Ministry source said. . .
NEAR SUWAYRA – The bodies of three people, including a beheaded woman bearing signs of torture, were retrieved from the Tigris river near town of Suwayra, south of Baghdad, police said. . .