Bombings in Karbala; US Plot against Maliki? Japanese say Sayonara to Iraq

Two bombs in the Shiite holy city of Karbala were detonated near the shrine of Imam Husayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The explosions killed 3 and wounded 15. Because of the extreme religious sensitivity of the Shiite shrines in Iraq, these bombings had security implications far beyond what is apparent on the surface.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Iraqi government continues to insist that US troops in Iraq will not have legal immunity from prosecution in Iraqi courts for criminal activity in Iraq.

A secret report by a Kurdish political party speculates that the US might kill or depose Iraqi Prime minister Nuri al-Maliki because of his insistence on US troops being out of Iraq by 2011. Note that speculation about what the US might do by a Kurdish party doesn’t tell you very much about what the US might do unless its leaders are awfully well connected in Washington and have been told these things by someone high up.

The The Awakening Council movement in the Sunni areas of Iraq is coming to an end, implies McClatchy. The Iraqi government will take over payments to them on October 1 and most will be given make-work desk jobs as bureaucrats. Only 20,000 of the nearly 100,000 irregulars will be absorbed into official Iraqi security forces, according to the government. The Awakening fighters are very suspicious that the government will not honor its pledges, and, indeed, that it may turn on them and prosecute them for the acts of terrorism many of them engaged in before joining the Awakening Councils. In fact, Iraqi government officials have threatened them with prosecution if they don’t stop making demands on the state. I can only imagine that the Awakening Council fighters are also afraid that if they are disarmed and given a desk job, they will become sitting duck for reprisals from the fundamentalist vigilantes on whom they had turned.

Japan is ending its small remaining military mission in Iraq, which has been extremely unpopular with the Japanese public. The Liberal Democratic Party is facing difficult elections, and its partner, the New Komeito Party, is strongly pacifist. This right-of-center, pro-peace party is supported by the Buddhist New Religious Movement, Soka Gakkai. How come Japanese Buddhists are pro-peace and so many American Christians are pro-war?

The Japanese pull-out is one of many planned by US allies this year, as the UN Security Council authorization for foreign troops in Iraq comes to an end in December.

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