az-Zaman reports that a CPA official* has forced the resignation of the governor and deputy govenor of Karbala province along with several members of the provincial council. No reason was given for the move. On Tuesday, a former Baath official was shot dead in Karbala.
There have been demonstrations against provincial councils and governors in Nasiriyah, Kut and Amara in recent weeks. Although the CPA maintains that their members were not appointed by the Coalition, it was the Coalition or its agents that gathered together hand-picked notables to elect the councils. So they are appointees of appointees. Many Iraqis feel that the councils are often corrupt and nepotistic. This distrust is one reason for which Iraqis generally rejected the idea of having the councils select a national interim parliament.
Meantime, extensive security arrangements are being made in the Shiite holy cities of Najaf and Karbala for the start of the Shiite mourning month of Muharram, coinciding with the beginning of March. Karbala residents are already complaining that the city’s infrastructure cannot handle the vast influx of Iranian pilgrims.
*The Arabic looks like “John Perry”, but since there are no vowels and there is no “p” in Arabic, I can’t be sure.