120 Dead in Bombings, Clashes in Iraq
4 US Troops Killed
Wire services report that 120 persons died in separate incidents in Iraq on Wednesday, the one-month anniversary of the “transfer of sovereignty” to the caretaker government of Iyad Allawi.
The NYT says that guerrillas detonated a truck bomb outside a police recruiting station in the eastern city of Baqubah, killing 70 and wounding 55. NPR reported that the mood in the city was condemnatory of the attack, and that many feel that the Iraqi police are not collaborators with the US but rather Iraqi patriots. But NPR uncharacteristically missed the point, which is that the guerrillas do not care with whom people sympathize. The key question is whether they will be afraid to go sign up to serve in Allawi’s police, and to cooperate with the caretaker government in general.
In the south-central city of Suwariyah, multinational forces and Iraqi police battled guerrillas, killing 35 of them. The guerrillas killed 7 Iraqi policemen. Rumors swirled that some of the guerrillas had come over from Iran, but the Polish military spokesman said he had no evidence of this. It would matter whether Suwariyah is mainly Sunni or Shiite, not something I was able to find out (the area south of Baghdad is mixed). Why don’t reporters ask these questions?
Guerrillas used roadside bombs to kill two US troops, and two others died in small arms fights in al-Anbar province. Their deaths raised the toll to 906 since the war began, according to AP.
Guerrillas killed two Pakistani hostages, saying that the Pakistani government was considering sending troops to Iraq (to guard the UN HQ, to be headed by a Pakistani diplomat).
The Guardian adds, “There were also shootings and clashes in the western city of Ramadi and the northern city of Kirkuk. Central Baghdad descended into chaos after a rocket hit a busy street, killing two people and wounding four, including three children.”
Guerrillas kidnapped three sons of the governor of al-Anbar Province, Abdul Karim Burghis al-Rawi, in Ramadi. The provincial governors have largely been chosen in a complicated process over which the Americans and British had a great deal of influence, and many guerrillas consider them puppets.
In an important Australian Broadcasting Co. interview, Anthony Cordesmann explains in some detail why Iraqi forces cannot deal with the guerrilla insurgency, lacking proper equipment and even communications. It is not a pretty picture.
According to Reuters, on Wednesday Iraq weapons inspector David Kay said that
U.S. officials should give up the “delusional hope” that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction so they can move forward with reform . . . “I think it’s most important that the president of the United States recognizes that in fact the weapons are not there,” Kay told reporters after speaking at The Government Security Expo and Conference. “It’s because until you do that you will not take this fundamental reorganization of the intel community on board,” he said. Officials such as acting CIA Director John McLaughlin “hold out the delusional hope that eventually you’ll find weapons,” Kay said.