2 GIs Killed in Fallujah
Sunni Fundamentalists Take Diyala Province
36 Dead in Civil War Violence
Despite Bush’s media blitz and a number of speeches attempting to tie the Iraq War to September 11, the percentage of Americans who think the war was not worth it actually increased slightly between June and September, from 54 percent to 55 percent. On the other hand, Bush did achieve a slight increase in the percentage who thought it was worth it, from 38 to 40 percent. None of these changes is statistically significant, but the numbers do suggest that dissatisfaction is proving tenacious.
Bush’s own church, the United Methodists, has urged an immediate withdrawal of US troops.
Patrick Cockburn does a highly courageous and clear-eyed report on the situation of Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. He quotes the head of the provincial council as saying that 100 Iraqis are killed every week in Diyala. That is 14 or so a day. We don’t see those statistics in the deaths reported daily by the wire services. At most a handful of people from Diyala are reported dead several times a week.
Cockburn also reports that the Salafi Jihadis (militant fundamentalists) among the Sunni Arabs have taken over much of Diyala Province and are imposing Taliban-like religious rules on everyone. They are killing people for smoking in Baqubah. They are systematically ethnically cleansing the Kurdish and Shiite minorities in the province.
Reuters reports on political violence on Sunday in Iraq. I count 36 dead, including two GIs killed in Fallujah, where, in adddition, 10 bodies showed up dead. Also in Fallujah, guerrillas burst into the home of the chairman of the municipal council, killing him and his son. Typically the “war of the corpses” has been between Sunni and Shiite militias in Baghdad, Diyala and other mixed regions. But in Fallujah this is likely Sunni on Sunni violence, a case of committed guerrillas killing other Sunni Arabs whom they consider collaborators with the Americans. The US military invested Fallujah in November of 2004, killing hundreds if not thousands of civilians along with one to two thousand guerrillas, and damaging 2/3s of the buildings in the city. Only gradually has the population drifted back in, under severe security controls by the US. It is therefore a particularly bad sign that guerrillas in Fallujah managed to kill 13 people Sunday, 2 of them GIs and one of them the head of the municipal council. That was the sort of thing that was going on in 2004 that provoked the US military to think it needed to invade in the first place. That was when we lost the hearts and minds of the Sunni Arabs of Iraq decisively. You have a sense now that it was all for naught.
Major incidents in Baghdad:
‘ BAGHDAD – A car bomb targeting a police patrol killed four people and wounded 10 others in Bab al-Muadham district of Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – A car bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol killed two soldiers and wounded three, including two civilians, in northern Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – A car bomb targeting a police patrol killed two people and wounded 17 in southeastern Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – Five people were wounded when several mortar rounds landed in Bab al-Muadham district of Baghdad, police said. . .
Iraqi parliamentarians defused a looming crisis that could have broken apart their national unity government on Sunday, but only managed to do so by postponing the crisis. The Sunni Arab members of parliament had threatened to boycott the legislature if the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq continued to push its plan for a huge 8-province confederacy in the Shiite south. The agreement created a committee that would report out a legislative framework for the confederacies that would be voted on in mid-October. If the plan passed, it would still take 18 months to two years to implement. Another committee will look into revising the constitution. That it would be revised is a promise that the Sunni Arabs are counting on, but it is hard to see how it will happen.
Meanwhile, work is also continuing on the constitution of Kurdistan, with the current draft insisting that parts of Ninevah, Kirkuk, Diyala and Wasit provinces be incorporated into the Kurdistan confederacy. The constitution even claims the Sunni Turkoman stronghold of Tal Afar. If the Kurds try to grab all this territory for their greater Kurdistan, it will cause a lot of trouble for decades to come.
Update. Ambassador Peter Galbraith writes by email from Irbil:
“The proposed Kurdistan Constitution has two clauses in Article 2 regarding territory.
The first states what is Kurdistan geographically and is based on their view of history. The second clause, however, is the operative one. It states the boundary of Kurdistan Region (ie the territory governed from Erbil) will be determined by Article 140 of the federal constitution. This would certainly exclude Tal Afar, as well locations in Wasit such as Badra. Clause One is geographic; clause 2 political and operative. Thus a territory could be geographically part of Kurdistan but not part of the Kurdistan Region. I attach my version of what Article 2 says in English.”Article Two
First: Iraqi Kurdistan comprises the Governorate of Duhok within its present boundary, and the governorates of Kirkuk, Sulaimani, and Arbil with the 1968 borders and the districts (kaza) of Akre, Shaikhan, Sinjar, Tel Afar, Tilkef, Qaragosh and the sub districts (nahiya) of Zamar, Ba’shiqa, Aski Kalak in the Governorate of Nineveh and the districts of Khanaqin and Mandali in the Governorate of Diyali and the district of Badra and the subdistrict of Jassan in the Governorate of Wasit.
Second: Article 140 of the Federal Constitution will determine the borders of the Kurdistan Region.
“I do hope you will point out this very important distinction to your readers. The last thing Iraq needs now is a further inflammation of ethnic tensions.”
A recent US ambassador to Turkey explains what a calamity it would be for Iraq to be partitioned.
The more I look into it, the more I think this sort of thing may be the underlying reason for which Cheney launched the Iraq War:
‘Iraq is planning to tap the small Ahdab oil field, in central southern Iraq, with development work starting soon, reported TradeArabia. Initial output would be about 30,000 bpd, rising to 90,000 bpd within two years. The field had previously been awarded to the China National Petroleum Corporation and the Chinese arms manufacturer Norinco by Saddam Hussein but an Iraqi official said the contract could be renegotiated. ‘
The question during the next 50 years is who would get the good proprietary oil and gas contracts in the Persian Gulf region. If it is China and India and to a lesser extent Russia, then the 21st century looks one way. If it is the US, it looks another.