US-Iraq Security Talks Hit Snag; Mosul Police HQ Bombed, 55 Killed or Wounded

The US is still hopeful that it can conclude a security agreement with the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on the framework for a US troop presence next year after the UN Security Council authorization runs out. The negotiations have produced a sharp reaction from a broad cross-section of the Iraqi public, Sunni and Shiite, and different factions of the Shiites. The US embassy is trying to blame Iran for all this, but the allegation won’t wash. Iran does oppose the pact, but so do lots of Iraqis, including close US allies in Iraq and the nativist urban slum youth of the Sadr Movement, who don’t even like Iran.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that both Sunni and Shiite Iraqis have united to reject the draft of a security agreement proposed by the United States. A high-level Iraqi source told the pan-Arab London daily that one point of dispute is that the US wants its troops to have complete freedom of movement in the country, whereas the Iraqis want it to be limited. The Americans are said to be seeking to retain the right to dominate Iraqi air space up to 29,000 feet, and to gain open access to the land, air and water of Iraq. The US wants to retain the right to arrest and detain any Iraqi whom the US believes represents a security threat. Washington desires the right to launch military operations to chase terrorists without seeking Iraqi government permission. The US wants immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for American troops, contractors and corporations in Iraq.

The US also wants to retain the right to define terrorism against Iraq. It does not want to give any undertaking that it will defend Iraq from any outside attack unless it is convinced about the nature of that attack. Likewise it is not offering to safeguard the democratic regime in Iraq.

Iraqis for their part are demanding a recognition of Iraqi sovereignty.

Sunni Arab guerrillas used a car bomb to attack the province police HQ in the northern city of Mosul on Monday, killing 9 and wounding at least 46. Five of those killed were policemen, and 4 civilians. Mosul, a city of about 1.7 million, is Iraq’s second largest. About 80 percent Sunni Arab, it is a prize over which Arabs and Kurds are conducting a low-intensity war. Baath and Sunni radical cells have been active there, and recently PM Nuri al-Maliki launched a well publicized drive to use the new Iraqi army to bring the rebellious city under control. Ninevah governor Durayd Kashmula recently admitted that this winter and spring, Mosul was under the control of Salafi Jihadis or “al-Qaeda” as he called them. Al-Maliki’s campaign resulted in no major battles and the anti-government forces appear just have been lying low. Until Monday.

A US soldier was announced killed in northeastern Baghdad by a roadside bomb. On Sunday, 2 were killed in a bombing near the Iranian embassy.

McClatchy reports other political violence on Monday in Iraq:

‘ Baghdad

- Around noon, a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol near Sarafiya bridge in Uttafiyah neighborhood (north Baghdad).One person was killed and six others were wounded including three policemen .

- Gunmen threw a grenade on a civilian car near Qahtan square in Yarmouk (west Baghdad).Three people were injured .

- Police found three dead bodies in the following neighborhoods in Baghdad: 2 in Karkh bank;1 in Amil and 1 in Iskan. While 1 was found in Fudhailiyah in Risafa bank

Mosul

- A car bomb targeted an army patrol at 17th July neighborhood. One soldier was killed and another was injured.

- A bomb which was planted inside the car of the deputy dean of Mosul agricultural college.Faris Yunis was killed in that incident. . .

Kirkuk

- Gunmen killed a policeman in downtown Kirkuk city and then they kidnapped a civilian from the same spot taking him to unknown location. ‘

Reuters adds: “MOSUL – A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. patrol killed one woman in western Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.”

Tomdispatch.com on presidential bloodlust.