Wave of Violence in Sunni North Leads at least 28 Dead
US Marines moved into most of Fallujah on Wednesday, though they were still meeting pockets of resistance.
The Fallujah fighting has killed fair numbers of Iraqi noncombatants, including Shaikh Abdul Wahhab al-Janabi of the respected Association of Muslim Scholars.
Armed clashes broke out in several northern Iraqi cities on Wednesday, leaving some 22 persons dead in Mosul, Baiji, and Tuz. Hundreds of persons mounted demonstrations against the Fallujah campaign in Tikrit and Huwaijah, as well, according to az-Zaman. The battles and demonstrations were provoked by the US assault on Fallujah.
Guerrillas threatened to assassinate Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and Minister of Defense Hazem Shaalan in retaliation for the attack. Allawi’s aged cousin and the man’s wife and daughter-in-law were abducted and guerrillas threaten to behead them if the Fallujah compaign is not stopped. In Iraqi society, PM Allawi is responsible for protecting his clan, including especially his first cousins, so this kidnapping makes him look weak and brings substantial shame on him.
The US Marines took most of Fallujah Wednesday, but still face pockets of resistance. If Samarra and other cities are any guide, those pockets of resistance could go on bedeviling the US for some time to come.
The intrepid Ed Wong of the NYT has more on the Sunni boycott of the elections. He reports that the Iraqi Islamic Party, which had earlier been absolutely committed to getting out the Sunni vote, is now wavering and saying their position will depend on the situation. The outbreak of demonstrations and violence throughout the Sunni Arab regions on Wednesday did not bode well for Sunni participation in the January elections.
Jim Lobe has more on the political implications of the Fallujah assault, both in Iraq and in Washington.
For some black satire on Fallujah, see Unconfirmed Sources which has some fun with my Weblog.
[Am at a conference and can’t blog much right now but will try to catch up the next couple of days.]