Al-Hakim Targeted with Car Bomb;
Thousands of Shiites Protest US in Najaf;
Enormous Bomb Hits Habaniya Mosque
Late Saturday, the US Air Force launched a series of bombing raids on southeast Baghdad. This is absolutely shameful, that the US is bombing from the air a civilian city that it militarily occupies. You can’t possibly do that without killing innocent civilians, as at Ramadi the other day. It is a war crime. US citizens should protest and write their congressional representatives. It is also the worst possible counter-insurgency tactic anyone could ever have imagined. You bomb people, they hate you. The bombing appears to have knocked out what little electricity some parts of Baghdad were still getting.
Guerrillas used a car bomb to target the residence of Shiite leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim in Baghdad on Saturday. Al-Hayat says that they killed 3 civilians and wounded 7 others. This report says that they killed one guard and wounded four. These were likely Sunni Arab guerrillas hoping that al-Hakim would see the attack as an American one. The US arrested al-Hakim’s son on Friday, contributing to a fraying of US relations with Shiite Iraqis, especially those loyal to the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
Nearly 10,000 Iraqis demonstrated in the Shiite holy city of Najaf on Saturday against the US arrest of Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim the previous day. Smaller demonstrations were held in other southern Shiite cities, including Kut and Basra. This young cleric is the son of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the largest bloc in the Iraqi parliament and an ally of the US.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani called for the US military personnel who arrested Sayyid Ammar al-Hakim on Friday to be disciplined. He decried al-Hakim’s treatment at US hands. Talabani, a Kurd, is typically a strong ally of the US.
A truck bomb devastated the congregation of a Sunni mosque in Habbaniya on Saturday, killing 45 and wounding 110.
AP speculates that the mosque was being punished for the stance of its imam against “extremism.” The Baath Party and the Salafi Jihadis that dominate al-Anbar Province frequently kill other Sunnis whom they view as “collaborators” with the foreign occupation forces.
This article also discusses the way that the security plan in Baghdad and al-Anbar has displaced many guerrillas into Diyala Province northeast of Baghdad, where direct attacks on US troops are up 70 percent!
In Baghdad itself, three bombings and a mortar attack contributed to a death toll of some 20.