Deputy Oil Minister Wounded; Iraq Likely to tie down Next President

Guerrillas deployed a bomb to wound Iraq’s deputy oil minister on Monday morning.

Steven R. Hurst at AP correctly argues that if there is no Status of Forces Agreement between Iraq and the US by January 1, the resulting military and diplomatic mess could end up consuming the new president. For US troops to operate without an internationally accepted legal framework would expose them to prosecution for their military actions in Iraq.

The looming disaster is one reason that even the grossly incompetent Bush administration is at least considering a Plan B. That is to go back to the UN Security Council for an extension of its mandate for US and allied troops to act in Iraq.

Bob Dreyfuss at The Nation wonders whether, if Obama is elected, he will get US troops out of Iraq on a short timetable.

The Iraqi government, having taken over responsibility for the 100,000 members of the Sunni Arab Awakening Councils or ‘Sons of Iraq,’ plans to reduce fighters’ salaries from $300 a month (what the US had paid them) to only $250 a month. Informed observers predict that many of the Awakening members might well just resign. The big fear is that the councils could turn into anti-government Sunni guerrilla groups if Pm Nuri al-Maliki does no handle them well.

An Awakening tribal leader was killed by a bombing in Diyala Province on Sunday evening.

Al-Hayat writing in Arabic says that a political storm has broken out in Iraq over remarks by Kurdistan leader Massoud Barzani that Kurdistan might offer the US military bases if the Status of Forces Agreement with Iraq as a whole gets stalled.

The Iraqi government has pledged $900 thousand to help Christians displaced by political violence from Mosul.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Sunday:

‘ Baghdad

– A roadside bomb detonated near a bus station in Mashtal neighborhood (east Baghdad). Two people were injured.

– A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Bab Al-Muatham neighborhood (downtown Baghdad). No casualties were reported, but a police vehicle was damaged.

– A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Wihda district of Karrada neighborhood (downtown Baghdad). Two people were injured including a policeman.

– A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Fudhailiyah neighborhood (east Baghdad). One policeman was killed and three others were wounded.

– Police found 2 dead bodies in Baghdad neighborhoods today: one was found in Saidiyah in Karkh bank (south Baghdad) and one was found in Zayuna in Rusafa bank (east Baghdad).

Diyala

– Gunmen attacked a house in Mansouriyah in the town of Moqdadiyah (northeast of Baquba). The gunmen were wearing the Iraqi army uniform. They killed a woman and two of her daughters. Two other daughters were injured.

– A roadside bomb targeted a Sahwa leader in Buhriz (3 miles south of Baquba). The leader was killed with five others who were with him in his car (two women and three children).

Kirkuk

– A roadside bomb detonated in Hawija district (west of Kirkuk). Three people were injured.

– Gunmen kidnapped a girl of about to 14 years in Aysalana village in the Hawija district (west of Kirkuk).

– Gunmen wearing the Iraqi army uniform kidnapped three Kurdish truck drivers near the Sleiman Beck check point (south of Kirkuk).

– An adhesive bomb detonated under a civilian car in Kirkuk city. The driver of the car, who works in an Iraqi military base, was injured.

– Two children were killed and two others were injured by a deserted bomb as it detonated when they were playing nearby in Khadhra neighborhood in downtown Kirkuk city.’

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