Guerrillas Kill 16 in Iraq
Associated Press reports that a ‘series of explosions shook the Iraqi capital Saturday. The deadliest was a roadside bomb that exploded near an Iraqi army convoy on the outskirts of Baghdad, killing nine soldiers and wounding 20 . . . The attack occurred near the Abu Ghraib prison . . .” Also, an explosion in Mosul left a cameraman dead among others.
Ellen Knickmeyer of the Washington Post reports, that the security situation is deteriorating in palpable ways. “In city after city . . . security forces who had signed up to secure Iraq and replace U.S. forces appear to have abandoned posts or taken refuge inside them for fear of attacks. ”We joined the police, and after this, the job became a way of committing suicide,” said Jasim Khadar Harki, a 28-year-old policeman in Mosul, where residents say patrols are dropping off noticeably, often appearing only in response to attacks. Tips from Mosul’s residents have dropped off as well, with residents doubtful that police can protect informants from retaliation.”
Al-Hayat reports that Shiite-Sunni tensions in Iraq are boiling over. The new governor of Najaf, Asad Abu Kalal, threatened the Sunni Arabs with reprisals, during the funeral Saturday for victims of an attack on congregatnts at a Shiite mosque in Baghdad on Friday. He demanded that the Association for Muslim Scholars (a hardline Sunni group that often functions as the political wing of the guerrilla movement) “dissociate itself from the criminals.” Th governor of Najaf is from the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Shiite, fairly hardline group long in exile in Iran.
Abu Kalal said, “We hold responsible the members of the Sunni branch . . . and demand that they issue statements and halt these criminal actions, so that we are not constrained to react . . .”
Ghazi al-Yawir, the Sunni vice president, formed a Sunni Arab committee to negotiate with prospective prime minister Ibrahim Jaafari. They are asking for 7 cabinet posts, at least one of them a powerful one like Defense.