Assassination Attempt on Allawi
70 Bodies Recovered in Iraqi Massacres
Retired Gen. John Keane, back from a fact-finding trip to Iraq, told The Hill that he thinks the Iraqi guerrilla opposition is planning “spectacular” attacks to derail th political process in the country. His thesis was given some support by events on Wednesday.
A suicide bomber attempted but failed to assassinate outgoing prime minister, Iyad Allawi, on Wednesday, detonating his car bomb near Allawi’s convoy.
A booby-trapped tanker was detonated in Ramadi near a US army base, and a lively firefight between guerrillas and US forces ensued in the largely Sunni Arab city.
In the on-again, off-again saga of the Shiite hostages of Madaen, evidence surfaced Wednesday that the hostages had indeed been taken. The guerrillas who captured them appear to have executed them and dumped the bodies in the Tigris, according to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.
It seems likely that this tragedy in part implicates the heavy-handed response of Iraqi and US forces to the hostage crisis. They just dispatched troops to Madaen, which is always a good way to send the hostage-takers into a panic and get the hostages killed.
Also on Wednesday, guerrillas in the city of Haditha captured 19 National Guards and executed them in a soccer stadium.
Al-Zaman reports further attacks in Basra and Amara in the South.
Two US soldiers were killed Tuesday by a car bomb in southern Baghdad.
Over 400 Iranian young Revolutionary Guards signed up to commit suicide bombings against Americans in Iraq and against Israelis, at the urging of Ayatollah Husain Nuri Hamadani (al-Zaman). The group included 150 young women. This fatwa is despicable. Israeli civilians deserve to live in peace like everybody else. If the Revolutionary Guards had any courage, they’d fight soldiers face to face, not hide sneakily in cars with hidden bombs. The only good news in the whole affair is that almost no Iranian youth are any longer interested in what ayatollahs think. Give it 20 years and the mullas’ regime would likely just fade away for lack of interest among the public. But in the short term, you have a handful of monstrous fanatics warping the lives of those young people who will still listen to them.
Violence is “off the charts” in the Iraqi border town of Husayba (pop.: 100,000), says the USA Today. The guerrillas there have the support of the townspeople, and criminal gangs and jihadis move freely, keeping the Marines pinned down. I doubt the article’s optimism that things are different in Ramadi and elsewhere in the Sunni Arab heartland is actually warranted (see above).
AFP reports that, “The head of the Turkish army hit out at the United States Wednesday for failing to curb Turkish Kurdish rebels hiding in northern Iraq and warned that Iraqi Kurdish attempts to take control of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk could throw the entire region into turmoil.” General Hilmi Ozkok, the chief of general staff, launched a bitter attack on the US for failing to curb the PKK, the Marxist guerrilla movement, some members of which have taken refuge in northern Iraq. He also opposed sole Kurdish control of the oil city of Kirkuk, warning that if that city’s ethnic tensions flare up, it could throw the whole region into turmoil.
Bill Gertz of the Washington Times reports that US intelligence officials are afraid that Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is trying to get a “dirty bomb” (a conventional bomb laced with radioactive materials). I find this report hard to believe, and find the likelihood that Zarqawi could do it low. But I guess it is alarming that anyone is even talking about it. Iraqi guerrilla groups have begun speaking of the need to hit the United States on its own soil in revenge for Fallujah and other operations.