5 US Troops Killed; Turkey Bombs N. Iraq; Iran Backs al-Maliki against Mahdi Army

Five US troops were killed in Iraq on Tuesday.

Turkey bombed northern Iraq again on Wednesday, claiming to hit at guerrillas of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) “attempting to infiltrate Turkey from the Khakurk region of northern Iraq.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Manuchehr Mottaki, strongly backed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s attack on the Mahdi Army militia on Wednesday. He said, “Weapons should be only in the hands of the Iraqi army.” The Iraqi army appears increasingly to be dominated by cadres of the Badr Corps paramilitary of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, headed by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. The Badr Corps was trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and it and ISCI are key Iranian clients in Iraq. What Mottaki said therefore makes complete sense. What doesn’t make sense is the Bush administration’s long-term effort to misrepresent the nativist Sadr Movement and its Mahdi Army, based in Iraq’s festering slums, as Iran-backed.

It is precisely the closeness of the al-Maliki government and its primary current pillar, ISCI, to Iran that has made Sunni Arab countries such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia skittish about allowing it into the Arab League system as a full diplomatic partner. The Sunni Arab states largely do not have embassies in Baghdad, and Iraqi Shiites accuse them or their populations of surreptitiously helping Iraqi Sunni Arab guerrillas.

The LAT says former sympathizers are turning on al-Qaeda because of its emphasis on suicide bombings and nihilistic tactics. Fawaz Gerges has argued that such disillusionment broke out with 9/11.

McClatchy on Gen. Petraeus’s promotion to Centcom commander.

Russian t.v. argues that Petraeus has proved his mettle as a diplomat, a key criterion for his new job, and predicts he may be the next Secretary of Defense.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq for the midweek:

‘ Baghdad

- Tuesday night, clashes took place in Husseiniya neighborhood (north Baghdad) between the Mahdi army and the American forces. Four people were killed and eight others were injured.

- Around 8am, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol at Al-Butil at Zafaraniyah neighborhood (east Baghdad).Two civilians were injured with no information on the American’s side.

- Around 2 pm, a roadside bomb targeted an American patrol on the high way of Mikanik in Dora (south Baghdad). No casualties reported.

- Around noon, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Nafaq Al-Shurta neighborhood (west Baghdad) .Six people were injured including two policemen.

- Around 2 pm, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Qahtan intersection near Yarmouk neighborhood (west Baghdad).Three civilians were injured in that incident.

- Around 7 pm, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Karrada neighborhood .Five people were injured in that incident.

- Police found 4 dead bodies in Baghdad neighborhoods today: 2 were found in Saidiyah in west south Baghdad (Karkh bank).While 2 were found in east Baghdad(Risafa bank); 1 in Ur and 1 in Ubaidi .

Salahuddin

- Tuesday night, American troops raided Baaja , Jamila and Huriya villages on the western side of Shurqat (300 km north of Baghdad) .The troops killed ( Rabia Abood Mohammad ) and arrested 25 persons with 6300 American dollars and 500 000 Iraqi dinars confiscated from Abdul Razaq Khalaf Hassan’s house.

- In the morning, An American squad raided Albu Marouf village at Al-Jazira area (25 km south west Tikrit) .One person was killed and seven others were arrested by the American squad who are from one family .Also six cars were damaged in that incident. We have no confirmation of that incident from the MNF-I at the time of this report.

- In the morning, gunmen injured the teacher Jalal Khorsheed in Hawija Bahriyah in Dhulwiya (south of Tikrit and 80 km north of Baghdad).

Mosul

- Be fore noon, a suicide bomber detonated himself inside an exchange shop .Minutes late, a car bomb exploded at Dawasa neighborhood (downtown Mosul).Two were killed and nine others were injured (including two policemen).

- Around noon, a car bomb targeted a police patrol in Mosul city .Seven people were injured in that incident including four policemen.

- Around noon, noon, a roadside bomb exploded at Al-Rashidiyah downtown Mosul city . Four people were injured in that incident.

- In the afternoon, mortars shell hit Nahrwan neighborhood (west Mosul ). Four people were injured in that incident.

Diyala

- Police and Sahwa members found four remains of dead bodies at Sansal in Muqdadiyah (north east Baquba).

Kirkuk

- Around 3pm, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol at Al-Wasiti neighborhood in Kirkuk city. Two policemen were injured including an officer.

- The social committee in Kirkuk council buried 38 unidentified dead bodies found in different areas in Kirkuk during the last four months ago. ‘