35 Killed, Including 2 Americans
The Pakistan Times does among the best jobs of summarizing the horrific news from Iraq on Sunday.
*Allawi declares Martial Law for 2 months. Maybe it is just me, but is it really possible to have democratic elections coming off 2 months of martial law?
*A series of explosions ripped through Baghdad.
*Guerrillas took 3 police stations in Haditha and Haqlaniyah, killing 22 policemen. In some instances they stood them against the wall and just shot them.
*Guerrillas killed the aide to the governor of Diyala Province along with two members of the provincial governing council.
*Guerrillas in the Baghdad area launched 3 attacks on US military convoys, leaving 2 US soldiers dead and injuring 5 others. In Haifa street, locals reported that guerrillas had tossed grenades at police cars, setting them ablaze. Also in Baghdad, guerrillas set off a car bomb near the house of Adil Abdul Mahdi, the minister of finance and a leading member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq. He was not harmed, but the blast killed one bystander and wounded another.
*A car bomber detonated his payload near 2 British soldiers, seriously injuring them. A roadside bomb killed a British contractor.
*US forces bombed Fallujah heavily and advanced on the city, taking the hospital. Now that Fallujah is in the news again, it is worthwhile revisiting the acute reportage of Nir Rosen about that city last summer.
In addition, al-Zaman reports that Marines and Iraqi National Guardsmen raided the offices in Karbala of Ayatollah Mahmud al-Hasani, who has been agitating for a Shiite boycott of the forthcoming elections. In a recent knife fight, two of his partisans were badly wounded and a follower of Grand Ayatollah Sistani (who supports the elections) was killed. The Marines arrested several aides to al-Hasani and then blew up his headquarters.
The same source says that Grand Ayatollah Sistani had a meeting with leading Shiite politicians and hammered out a percentage share for them in the unified Shiite party list he has proposed. SCIRI would get 12 percent of the seats generated by this unified list, the Islamic Action Organization of Ayatollah al-Mudarrisi would get 10%; the Sadrists would get 10%; the Ibrahim Jaafari wing of al-Dawa would get 10%; The Islamic Dawa Iraq Organization under Abdul Karim al-Anizi would get 10%; and Ahmad Chalabi, Abdul Karim al-Muhammadawi and Muhammad Bahr al-Ulum would share 10%. The rest of the seats, about half, would go to independents–but the parties would have a role in nominating these independents. (I’d be very surprised if some of these parties actually agreed to such small percentages).
Sistani maintains that successful elections are a vital step on the way to independence (i.e. a means of getting the Americans back out of the country), and also has studied the electoral system set up by the Americans well enough to realize that a unified Shiite list has a better shance of capturing a majority in parliament. For this point, see Ed Wong of the NYT. See also Walter Pincus’s important article on the mechanics of the elections in WaPo.