3 US Soldiers Killed, Baquba Bombed
Guerrillas take advantage of Parliamentary Gridlock
AFP reports that on Thursday, in addition to the two bombings at the Ministry of the Interior, guerrilas car-bombed a police station in Baquba and killed 3 US soldiers.
‘ In Baquba, north of the capital, one person was killed and 18 wounded in a car bomb attack near a police station, a police officer said. Another policeman said it was a suicide attack. The attacks came just a day after a pair of suicide car bombs targeted Iraqi security forces in Baghdad, killing 10 and wounding dozens more. Two US soldiers also died Wednesday after being wounded by a homemade bomb while on patrol in Baghdad, the US army said. A third soldier was killed the same day in the south-central Babil province. ‘
Wire services also report, “In the north, insurgents blew up a natural gas pipeline between Kirkuk and Dibis, about 20 miles away. Officials said the blast would reduce gas production, but could not immediately say by how much.” Iyad Allawi, the interim prime minister, extended a state of emergency for another month, suspending some key civil liberties.
Jim Muir of the BBC warns that the guerrilla war has heated back up and the guerrillas are taking advantage of the difficulties the new parliament has had in forming a government. Highlights:
‘ There are fears that a prolonged delay could signal a loss of momentum and play into the hands of the insurgents in the make-or-break weeks that lie ahead. “The insurgency is already taking advantage of the paralysis in government,” a senior security official said. “If there is more delay in forming a new administration, I have no doubt that there will be bad repercussions – there already are, and it’s getting bigger every day.” . . .’
‘ One security analysis showed 727 insurgent attacks of one sort or another in February, with 627 people killed, including 42 members of the Multi-National Force, 213 Iraqi security personnel, and 329 civilians. Security officials believe that three-quarters of the attacks are carried out by networks loyal to the former Baathist regime, though they do not claim responsibility in their own name . . .’
Veteran NPR correspondent Deborah Amos reveals how difficult it has become to cover Iraq. She thinks the future may well lie with more extensive use of Iraqi stringers.
Fred Kaplan at Slate has some sensible comments on the upsides and downsides of democratization in the Middle East, and on the limits of Washington’s ability to shape it.