Dozens Killed in Iraq
Early Wednesday morning, a huge explosion rocked West Baghdad, flattening several houses and killing 28, including 7 policemen. Iraqi police were raiding the building, a suspected safe house for guerrilla forces, when it went up in flames (presumably because munitions stored there caught fire).
Dawn estimates the number of dead in Iraq violence on Tuesday at 42 (This was before the house exploded). Al-Zaman says 26 of them were Iraqi police or national guards. Sunni Arab guerrillas launched apparently coordinated attacks on police stations in the Sunni heartland. In Dijla alone, guerrillas killed 12 police. The Baathists and Salafi Muslim fundamentalists fighting the guerrilla war see police and national guards as collaborators with foreign occupation.
In recent days, several members of the Sadr Movement [Arabic] have been arrested, including one sweep of 15 in Hilla on Sunday. A spokesman for Muqtada al-Sadr warned that the arrests threaten to provoke unrest in Shiite areas on the even of the forthcoming elections.
Syria is denying giving aid to the Iraqi guerrillas. Personally, I don’t think it is plausible that Damascus is helping the Salafi Muslim fundamentalists, whom the Allawis (folk Shiites) in charge of the Syrian Baath fear and despise. Some Baath officials or officers might be helping some Iraqi Baath guerrillas. The Syrian Baath is no longer a coherent party, but rather has multiple cliques. But note that the Iraqi Baath and the Syrian Baath seldom got along, and Syria allied against Iraq in the Gulf War.
Georgie Ann Geyer gives evidence that the US military is in denial about how badly the fight against the Sunni Arab guerrillas is going. The US has no Iraqi police in Mosul, a city of a million, and there has been an expansion of the number of guerrilla cells thoughout the Sunni Arab heartland.