Bombs Kill 40, Wound Dozens; Al-Duri Calls for Continued Resistance; Gates Slams Militarization of Foreign Policy

Guerrillas launched a series of bombing campaigns in the eastern mixed province of Diyala and in the northern city of Mosul on Tuesday, killing at least 40 and wounding dozens. In Diyala, recruiting stations for security forces were hit, as potential recruits lined up. In Mosul, likewise, the targest were Iraqi security forces. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki had sent the new Iraqi army up to Mosul, where it is encountering heavy resistance in the form of bombings and sniping from Sunni Arab guerrillas, some of them apparently neo-Baathists. Diyala is violent and the government is saying that it will send troops there, too.

McClatchy reports that local Iraqis interpret the attacks as jockeying for position in the upcoming provincial elections. The election of legitimate Sunni-majority provincial governments could undermine a key propaganda point of the guerrillas, which is that Iraq’s government is a Shiite/Kurdish Iranian puppet that also is in Washington’s back pocket.

Former vice president of Iraq Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, called on Iraqi guerrillas to drive the US out of the country on Tuesday. Duri’s cell and other Baathists in the north have been one important source of Iraq’s violence, but the press tends to ignore the neo-Baath in favor of Muslim fundamentalists.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned against a militarization of American foreign policy and stressed the role of the civilian state department. Translation: The Bush Senior Realists think Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Doug Feith not only screwed up the Pentagon and almost destroyed the US armed forces but also imposed impossible burdens on it that other agencies should have borne.

Aljazeera English on the New Yorker caricature of rightwing US depictions of Obama:

This day in history, 1958: British Embassy burned in Baghdad, pro-British Prime Minister Nuri al Said killed.

Salah Hemeid explains the significance of the 1958 revolution, which Iraqis commemorated on the 15th.

From the USG Open Source Center:

‘Saudi Shiite Cleric Al-Nimr Supports Iran’s Nuclear Program, Assails US
“A UPI report from Riyadh: “A Saudi Shiite cleric: We stand with Iran; Iran has a right to strike US interests and destroy Israel”
Al-Quds al-Arabi (Internet Version-WWW)
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

Riyadh, UPI–Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr Baqir al-Nimr has defended Iran’s nuclear program, emphasizingthat should Iran come under attack, it would have the right to close the Straitof Hormuz, destroy the “Zionist entity,” and strike US bases in theMiddle East and Washington’s interests everywhere. He said: “We stand withIran, heart and soul, and with all our resources.” In his Friday sermon inthe Imam Al-Husayn Mosque in the town of Al-Awwamiyah, in eastern Saudi Arabia,which was posted on websites on Monday, he said: “Assuming, God forbid, that the United States dealt a strike against Iran, what right Iran would have torespond in reaction? Iran would have the right to close the Strait of Hormuz, destroy the Zionist entity, and strike the US bases and interests everywhere.”

Headded: “We stand with Iran, heart and soul, and with all our resources, bethey media organs or funds. This would not be in defense of Iran as a state,but in defense of Heaven’s values and of what is right. We fear no one, be they regimes, arrogant powers, or mercenary pens.” ‘

I think Nimr is rather more gung ho than the Iranians themselves. When you are a Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia, you need someone to blow off steam about, it seems.