Mosul Offensive Catches Residents Off Guard; Turks Bomb N. Iraq; New Bloc in Parliament?

The Mosul operation came so unexpectedly for residents of the major northern city that they did not have time to stock up on food. Alexandra Zavis interviews Mosulis who say that they have been living in fear. What is odd is that we weren’t having these stories of living in fear in Mosul 2 months ago.

Turkey bombed northern Iraq again on Sunday, retaliating against the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) for its attack on the Turkish military in Anatolia, which left two Turkish soldiers dead. The guerrillas are then alleged to have retreated into Iraq.

McClatchy reports on the precarious position of Sadr City residents whose homes are near to the Green Zone that houses the US embassy and other US offices.

How solid the ceasefire is has yet to be seen. Hadi al-Amiri, a member of parliament who is also head of the paramilitary Badr Corps, said Sunday that the Mahdi Army must disarm. (Since the Badr Army has not disarmed, this statement is the height of hypocrisy). And, PM Nuri al-Maliki maintains that the truce in Sadr City was worked out between the Iraqi parliament and the Sadrists, and that he was not part of the process.

Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that efforts to form an alternative, nationalist bloc in parliament are continuing. It hopes to include the Iraqi National List of Iyad Allawi, the Islamic Virtue Party (Fadhila) and the National Dialogue Council of Salih Mutlak. The Sadrists are said to be studying the possibility of joining, but they have not so far.

For invaluable updates on the situation in Afghanistan, don’t miss Barnett Rubin’s recent entries at our Global Affairs blog.

Bil McKibben on the defining moment in climate change. . .

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq for Sunday:

‘ Baghdad

– Around 7 am, a roadside bomb exploded near the oil marketing department in Zayuna neighborhood in east Baghdad. Two civilians were injured in the blast.

– Around 9:30 am a roadside bomb targeted the deputy of the finance minister’s convoy Mr. Fadhel Mahmoud. Six people were injured in the blast.

– Police found 1 dead body in Baghdad in Saidiyah neighborhood in south Baghdad.

Kirkuk

– Saturday night, gunmen opened fire on an Iraqi soldier at Mujaibra of Rashad in west Kirkuk. The soldier was killed immediately.

– Saturday night, gunmen kidnapped a peasant at Tal Aleid of Rashad in west Kirkuk.

– In the morning, police found two dead bodies on the way between Kirkuk and Sulaimaniyah. The police found out that those two bodies belonged to two workers who were kidnapped in Khan Khorma in Kirkuk last week. ‘

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