Sadr City Bombing On Monday Kills 29

Sadr City Bombing on Monday Kills 29, wounds 60
At Least 83 Killed Sunday
In Basra, Bombers target Police

Sunni Arab guerrillas killed a US Marine on Sunday, bringing to 100 the death toll for US troops in Iraq during the month of October. It is one of the deadliest months since the war began.

An enormous bomb blasted a city square in Sadr City, the Shiite slum of northeast Baghdad on Monday morning, killing 29 and wounding 60. The victims were poor day laborers lining up in search of work.

On Sunday, hundreds (some reports say thousands) of angry residents had demonstrated against the US military siege of Sadr City, threatening to close down the ministries if it is not lifted. Iraqi members of parliament from the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance joined them. They complained that as a result of the US operations, ordinary people cannot circulate and it is difficult to get patients to the hospitals. The situation was therefore already at the boiling point before the bombing, which will have made things worse.

The inhabitants of Sadr City, with a population of perhaps 3 million, maintain that they do not have the captured US soldier, and say they are upset at the 5-day long siege of their district by the US military, which is alleged to have closed off most routes from Sadr City into Baghdad and to have been engaged in invading offices of clerics associated with the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr. Apparently they believe that a unit of the Mahdi Army kidnapped a GI, for whom they are conducting a manhunt. The US is seeking rogue guerrilla commander Abu Deraa, who has broken with Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Baghdad government officials announced Sunday that they had discovered 25 dead bodies in the capital over the previous 24 hours.

Guerrillas kiled 5 policemen in Baquba.

US troops killed 17 guerrillas near Balad on Sunday. The US military said that the guerrillas were planning to attack a US convoy.

Altogether guerrillas killed 33 policemen on Sunday. In Basra, armed men pulled 17 police trainees and 2 translators out of a van and their dead bodies were later found around the city. In Basra, such actions are frequently taken by Shiite militias or Marsh Arab tribsemen, though there have been allegations that Sunni Arab death squads operate there, funded by fundamentalist Sunnis in the Gulf.

Iraq’s Sunni Arab vice president is threatening to resign if Prime Minister al-Maliki does not confront head on the problem of dissolving the Badr Corps and the Mahdi Army, Shiite militias. Such a move by Tariq al-Hashimi could well signal the end of the Maliki “national unity” government.

Constant mortar attacks have forced the British to abandon their consulate in downtown Basra.

The US military has lost track of hundreds of thousands of weapons the US purchased for the Iraqi military and security forces. The only good news in the article is that many of the weapons are useless to Iraqis because of lack of spare parts or difficulty of upkeep. At least those won’t do the guerrillas any good if they fall into their hands.

Trudy Rubin of the Philadelphia Inquirer asks some good questions about how the Bush administration squandered most of the $18 billion that Congress ear-marked for Iraq reconstruction and whether there will be any accountability.

And speaking of accountability, here is a site that tracks what Congress has been doing to our Constitutional right of habeas corpus.