Bombings Target 5 Judges in Bagdad; Crisis between Al-Maliki and US military over killing of his Cousin;

A guerrilla group launched a campaign of assassination against judges in Baghdad on Monday, setting off five bombs, each targeting a judge in a different part of the city; they missed four of the judges but injured the fifth. Details below. A bomb was set off in downtown Mosul to the north, killing 1 and injuring 13.

Oil Minister Husain Shahristani announced on Monday that negotiations had broken down for the moment between his ministry and 4 oil majors over their provision of technical assistance to Iraqi oil fields. He had offered them fees, they wanted a share of the petroleum instead. He refused. The oil majors appear to think the petroleum will increase in value, and so is much better than set cash fees. The negotiations will continue.

Iraq: Was it all about the oil?”

More news on the Iraqi petroleum sector at Iraq Oil Report.

Iraq will spend $100 mn. on reconstruction in Sadr City, the teeming east Baghdad slum of 2 or 3 million inhabitants, and for job creation.

McClatchy reports that the diplomatic crisis between the al-Maliki government and the US military over the killing of his cousin is deepening. The US undertook a raid in Janaja in Karbala, which was supposedly under Iraqi military control, without any coordination with Iraqis and killed a security guard, who turns out to be a cousin of PM al-Maliki and the bodyguard of his sister.

The US says it was conducting the raid against a “special group,” their terminology for a Shiite cell they believe to receive aid or training from Iran.

This incident makes little sense on the surface. Why would the US raid the home town of the PM without forewarning him? Why kill this relative? Al-Maliki is a leader of the Da’wa Party. Did the US military suspect that a Da’wa cell in Janaja was targeting US troops in the Shiite south, with Iranian encouragement? If so, it would make sense of why they did not warn al-Maliki their operation was coming. But if this scenario is anywhere close to reality, it raises questions about al-Maliki’s control of his branch of the Da’wa, and about the character of the party (which is still run on a cadre basis as a set of covert cells rather than being a proper, popular political party).

In any case, the incident looks set to sour Iraqi-American relations even further.

Iraqi refugees in Jordan only dream of home. Jordan hosts 500,000 – 750,000 Iraqi displaced persons, who come to 11-13 percent of the Jordanian population. High inflation is making it harder for Iraqi refugees to make ends meet in Jordan, but no great number has yet gone back to Iraq. Many of their homes have been occupied by militias of the opposite sect, and the Iraqi government is giving them little help to return. Jordan has finally instituted a visa system in hopes of stemming the inflow. Amman estimates that the refugees have cost it $2 bn. in the last couple of years. I suggest they send the bill to George W. Bush, Crawford, Texas.

USA Today: Military success in Iraq masks failures on other goals . . .

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sunni fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front (44 seats out of 275 in parliament) will rejoin the government of PM Nuri al-Maliki next week. IAF leader Tariq al-Hashimi, a Vice President of Iraq, will meet with al-Maliki over the next couple of days to finalize candidates for cabinet positions. Sources told al-Hayat that in principle the cabinet additions have been agreed-on, and an earlier dispute over the ministry of planning has been resolved. The Sunnis wanted this ministry, but the incumbent, Ali Baban, declined to step down. Baban, a Sunni Kurd, had originally been elected on the Iraqi Accord Front list but he returned to the government after initially resigning with the rest of the IAF ministers last August, and my recollection is that he was expelled from the party as a result. The compromise will allow Baban to stay on for a while, after which he will step down in favor of a new nominee. Given that Iraq will earn $70 bn. in oil revenues this year at least, the ministry of planning would be a lucrative site of patronage, since the plans it makes for expending that money will make a lot of people rich.

The IAF had withdrawn over several outstanding issues, including the some 50,000 Iraqis held in US and Iraqi custody, the vast majority of them Sunnis, and over continued discrimination against Sunnis by the Shiite-dominated government.

The new airport at the Shiite holy city of Najaf, among the largest in the country, will open July 20 according to Governor Abu Kalal.

McClatchy reports political violence on Monday and Sunday:
Monday:

‘ Baghdad

Gunmen raided the house of an employee in the ministers council in Palestine Street in east Baghdad around 3:00 a.m. stealing his car, seven cell phones, a pistol, work badge and an amount of money. Police found the car later in Shaab neighborhood.

Around 7:00 a.m. an IED exploded in Waziriyah neighborhood in east Baghdad targeting the house of judge Suliaman Abdallah, the judge of Rusafa appeal court causing material damages only.

Around 7:15 a.m. an IED exploded inside a car in which an unidentified body was left. The explosion took place in Adhemiyah neighborhood in east Baghdad.

Around 7:15 a.m. an IED exploded in Palestine Street targeting judge Ali Hameed al Allaq; the judge of Rusafa appeal court causing material damages only.

Judge Ghanim Abdallah al Shimmari, his wife and his daughter were injured when an IED exploded while they were leaving house in al Bonouk neighborhood in east Baghdad around 8:00 a.m.

An IED exploded inside the car of Judge Hasan Fouad while he was leaving Rusafa appeals court in east Baghdad around 1:00 p.m. Judge Fouad survived.

Judge Alaa al Timimi survived when an IED exploded targeting him in Palestine Street around 8:00 a.m.

Police found five unidentified bodies throughout Baghdad . . .

Nineveh

A civilian was killed and 13 others were injured in a parked car bomb in downtown Mosul city on Monday afternoon.

Two Iraqi soldiers were killed when gunmen attacked a patrol of the Iraqi army in al Islah al Zera’i area west of Mosul city on Monday morning.

Police found a body of an Iraqi soldier from the 2nd division in Egab valley east of Mosul city. . .’

Sunday:

‘ Baghdad

- Gunmen assassinated the head of Basra operation intelligence centre , the brigadier Abdul Jabbar Mijhid . He was killed on Saturday night in his car in Nu’ayriyah of New Baghdad neighborhood (east Baghdad). He was in a holiday in Baghdad where his family lives.

- Police found 4 dead bodies in Baghdad neighborhoods . . .

Kirkuk

- Around 8:30 am a roadside bomb targeted the convoy of the head of the Kirkuk emergency police in Wasiti neighborhood downtown Kirkuk city. 7 people were injured in the explosion who were inside a mini bus in the area.

Salahuddin

- Around 7:30 am a parked car bomb detonated a police patrol in Dhulwiya town (about 50 miles north of Baghdad). The patrol car ignored the police directorate instructions of being close to the car bomb. 7 policemen were killed including 3 officers and 3 others were injured.

Diyala

- Mortars hit Al-Uthaim town (31 miles north of Baquba). Three family members were killed (a girl, her mother and aunt) as one mortar shell hit their house around 6 am in the morning. . .’