Baghdad Governor, 6 Bodyguards Assassinated
5 US Troops, 10 Iraqi Commandoes also Killed
The pro-American governor of Baghdad and his convoy were ambushed on Tuesday by gunmen, who managed to cut down the governor and six of his bodyguards in only the latest of a spate of killing of provincial governing officials. The head of the governing council of Baqubah was also killed recently, in a whole series of such assassinations, which included a female member of the governing council of Salahuddin. Where the assassination targeted only a member of the provincial governing council and not its head, these killings have often not even been well reported in the US press. But imagine if a group was systematically killing the secretaries of state of the 50 US states, and sometimes got a governor to boot.
Three of the US dead were from a roadside bomb in Baghdad, which also wounded 2. Two other US troops died in separate incidents.
Guerrillas targeted the Ministry of the Interior commando squad with a huge truck bomb, killing 10.
If things go on like this the real question won’t be whether you could hold elections but rather whether the members of the new government could be kept alive.
That is another problem with just having the US summarily pull out. The neo-Baath and Salafi guerrillas could and would just kill the members of the existing government, in preparation for making a Sunni Arab coup. That really would provoke a civil war.
What I can’t understand is why the governor of Baghdad did not have better security. You shouldn’t just be able to ambush and shoot an official of his stature. That six of his bodyguards were also killed doesn’t speak very highly of them, either, though it speaks more highly of them than it does of the bodyguards who survived. Why cannot the US provide security to Iraqi government officials? Isn’t that a priority? There are techniques that could be used to save these lives.
In other news , the Iraqi government formally requested that the Egyptian government encourage Iraqi Sunni Arabs to participate in the upcoming elections. Interim Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan is in Cairo for talks on this and other issues.
Since the neo-Baathists and Salafis who are leading the Iraqi Sunni Arab rebellion view the Mubarak government as a pharaonic dictatorship and servant of the United States, I very much doubt that Cairo has much influence with people in Mosul and Ramadi, on the face of it. But Shaalan is said by al-Hayat to also be inviting the Gulf Arab states to make the same appeal. I wonder if what Shaalan is really saying is that Egypt and the Arab Gulf should adopt Sunni Arab parties in Iraq as clients in the same way as Iran has some Shiite parties, to offset Tehran. This would require them to throw money and resources at specific personalities or groups.
Iran will not send full representation to the meeting of the foreign ministers of the six neighboring countries to Iraq scheduled for Thursday in Amman. It is miffed by the interview King Abdullah II gave to the Washington Post, where he forcefully accused Iranians of sending in a million stealth voters and trying to creat a Shiite crescent in the Near East that would stretch from Lebanon through Syria to Iraq and Iran.