Suicide Bomber Kills 11 in Baquba; Turks to Continue Strikes on Iraq

A female suicide bomber detonated her belt bomb on Wednesday near some Iraqi army humvees in front of a courthouse in Baquba, killing at least 11 persons and wounding 20. Five Iraqi soldiers were killed, including 2 Majors. Baquba, the capital of Diyala Province, is 35 miles northeast of Baghdad. It is riven by conflicts between Sunnis and Shiites and between Arabs and Kurds.

The Turkish parliament renewed the blanket permission it has given its army to attack Kurdish rebels inside northern Iraq. It is really quite extraordinary that what would ordinarily be viewed as acts of war go without remark almost everywhere but in the Kurdish press of northern Iraq.

Sunni Arab guerrillas are waging a campaign of killing against Iraqi Christians in Mosul.

The next National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq will likely say that the place is an ethnic and sectarian tinderbox that could explode at any moment.

Magnetized or ‘sticky’ bombs are being deployed against vehicles by Iraqi guerrillas with increasing frequency as a tool of assassination aimed at the middle managers of the Iraqi government as well as top officials.

Iraqi professionals are still fleeing the country in droves, according to Tina Susman of the LAT.

Straitened economic circumstances may place in doubt the US military budget of $694 billion a year or so, which is at World War II levels.

Iraq will likely hold provincial elections early in 2009. Several incumbent parties could lose power at the provincial level, though they would retain their position in parliament until the next polls for the federal legislature. One thing to watch is how the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq does in the Shiite south, where it now dominates most provinces. If it loses to the Sadr Movement, the latter’s leader Muqtada al-Sadr would be in a position to block the planned amalgamation of southern provinces into a Shiite super province.

Among the likely losers is the Sunni Arab fundamentalist party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, The IIP may lose big to the Awakening Councils, or pro-American militias. Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that the Al-Maliki government, which has assumed responsibility for most of these former guerrillas, is arresting more of the Awakening Council members.

The Federal Communnications Commission will investigate the ties of retired military analysts on cable and network television to the Pentagon, which used them as “force multimpliers”. Although the NYT blew the whistle on these links months ago, the television networks never even reported the allegations!

Mahmud Shahrudi, chief of the Iranian judiciary and himself of Iraqi origin, said Wednesday that Iraq does not need US troops on its soil, and that Iraq should not sign a Status of Forces Agreement with the US.

McClatchy reports other political violence in Iraq on on Tuesday and Wednesday:

‘ Baghdad

Around 7:30 a.m. a roadside bomb exploded in Baladiyat neighborhood in east Baghdad. No casualties were reported.

Two civilians were injured by a roadside bomb in Adhemiyah neighborhood in east Baghdad around 6:30 p.m.

Police found one unidentified body in Obeidi neighborhood.

Diyala

Around 11:45 a.m. a female suicide bomber blew herself up near the Diyala governorate building in downtown Baquba city north of Baghdad targeting security forces. Five Iraqi soldiers were killed including 2 high rank officers (2 Majors) in addition to a policeman and three civilians. Twenty people (16 civilians and 4 policemen were injured)

Nineveh

Three policemen were killed and six others were wounded by a roadside bomb in al Rashidiyah neighborhood in Mosul city on Wednesday afternoon.

Gunmen killed two Christian men on Tuesday evening in Mosul city.

Gunmen killed a Christian man on Wednesday morning in Mosul city.’

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