3 US Marines Killed, 2 Injured; 2 Police Officers Killed in Continued Iraq Violence on Tuesday
Guerrillas killed three U.S. Marines and wounded two others with a roadside bomb in southeast Baghdad on Tuesday, damaging their Humvee.
Also in Baghdad, guerrillas attacked a US patrol in the upscale Sunni Azamiyah district. They appear not to have hurt any US soldiers, but they killed a civilian bystander, according to an anonymous source in the Iraqi ministry of the interior,
In Mahmudiyah, 20 miles south of Baghdad, guerrillas attacked a police station. They killed one police officer and one civilian, reciting verses from the Koran before firing small arms and rpgs at the police station. This detail suggests that the guerrillas are radical Salafi Sunnis. Salafis are Sunni Muslims dedicated to going back to the practice of the “pious ancestors” (al-salaf al-salih), sort of like Protestants in Christianity. They want to slough off medieval practices and commentaries. Most are peaceful, but some Salafis have turned radical and take up arms, just as there were violent Lutheran peasant rebellions in early modern Europe.
In Kirkuk, guerrillas detonated a roadside bomb as a senior Kurdish policeman was passing. It killed one of his guards and wounded him. The police in Kirkuk are dominated by the Kurds, even though the city is 2/3s non-Kurdish (Turkmen and Arabs make up one third each of the city’s population.
In better news, guerrillas released three Turkish captives on Tuesday, saying that they had done so “for the sake of their Muslim brothers.” This phraseology reflects the anger among Muslims, Iraqi or otherwise, at the guerrillas in Iraq who have killed Muslims with bombings and attacks. Apparently these radical Islamist fighters feared that killing the Turks, as they had Americans and a Korean, would dry up support for them among the Muslim population. The current Turkish government is the second most pro-Islamic Turkey has had since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, though the army and most Turkish institutions remain dedicated to the secularist principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. It appears to have succeeded in appealing to the guerrillas on the basis of Islamic fellow feeling.