50 Killed in Guerrilla Violence
Al-Hakim: Sectarian War Could Engulf Middle East
Al-Akhbar: Internationalize Iraq Crisis
Guerrilla violence killed at least 50 persons in Iraq on Sunday and left a similar number wounded, according to Al-Sharq al-Awsat. Among the killed was a US soldier killed by roadside bomb in Baghdad (two other US servicemen were wounded in the incident).
The biggest death toll came in Mosul. The casualties in the bombing of the police station mentioned here on Sunday rose to 12 dead, two of them civilians, with 8 wounded. Later, a suicide bomber killed 16 persons and wounded 7 — mostly civilians — in the parking lot of an Iraqi army base at the edges of Mosul. Yet another attacker with bomb belt blew himself up in Mosul’s Jumhuri Teaching Hospital, targeting a room used by police guards and killing 5 and wounding 8 of them, and wounding 4 civilians, as well.
Outside Sadiyah, an hour and a half’s drive north of Baghdad, guerrillas shot down 6 Iraqi soldiers at their base.
There were two bombings in Kirkuk, one of them using a booby-trapped dog, which left 6 persons injured.
Al-Hayat: Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) and of the United Iraqi Alliance that controls parliament, warned Sunday that “the launching of a sectarian war in Iraq would mean the outbreak of war in the entire region.” He called on Arabs and Muslims to “stand decisively against those who spread terror” to Iraq. His statement was distributed at a wake held for the victims of attacks last Wednesday and Thursday on the largely Shiite neighborhoods of Shu’lah and Karradah in Baghdad.
He said, “Zarqawi– the criminal and the wreaker of corruption in the land– and his helpers and supporter from among the sectarians, and the orphans of the dead-and-buried Saddam regime, and the excommunicators, have unveiled the ugliness of their visages more and more by targeting innocent civilians from among the Shiites.” He added, “These criminal groups have openly announced to the multitudes their sectarian war against the Shiites in Iraq, and have issued Islamic legal rulings declaring them excommunicated and unbelievers, saying that it is a duty to kill Muslims who follow the family of the Prophet, after having initially hidden for the previous span of time behind the pretext of confronting Occupation and those who collaborated with it.” He affirmed that the Iraqi people “will not be drawn into these criminal, terrorist plots, rather Sunni and Shiite organizations will strengthen their bonds.”
Then there is this item:
‘ Iraq’s Al-Hakim Praises Egyptian Grand Imam for Condemning Terrorist Attacks
MENA (MIDDLE EAST NEWS AGENCY)
Sunday, June 26, 2005 T19:03:23Z
BAGHDAD, June 26 (MENA) – Chairman of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) Abdel Aziz Al-Hakim hailed Sunday the stance of Al-Azhar Grand Imam Sheikh Mohammad Sayed Tantawi on Iraq.
Sheikh Tantawi had condemned attacks targeting innocent Iraqis, Hakim told a ceremony mourning those recently killed in a cluster of bombings in Al-Karada and Al-Shuala districts in Baghdad.
The SCIRI leader asked Muslim scholars and religious authorities to make public their stances on attacks against Iraqis.
He stressed that Iraqis need to unite in the face of terrorist attacks. ‘
Al-Hakim was glad for the denunciation of the killing of innocent Muslims by the Rector of al-Azhar, who is among the foremost religious authorities in the Sunni world. Tantawi has also forbidden Sunnis to excommunicate Shiites, i.e., to allege that they are not really Muslims. His statement calling on Muslims in Iraq to unite across the sectarian divide came after he had met with former interim PM Iyad Allawi.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that the provincial Governing Council of Maysan province, along with political parties and civil society organizations, has called for a boycott of British troops and a non-cooperation drive with regard to them. The non-cooperation movement comes in protest against what the GC calls the continued “excesses” of the British troops against inhabitants of the province. They cited home invasions, one of which cause a pregnant woman to miscarry, the incarceration of “a number of innocents,” and mistreatment of government bureaucrats from the circles of the minitry of trade. The governing council also lodged a complaint about these incidents with the national parliament. Maysan politics is dominated by the Sadr movement of nationalist Shiites, many of them influenced by Muqtada al-Sadr or by his rival, Muhammad Yaqubi.
Egypt’s government is afraid that the US will withdraw, leaving Iraq a mess in the Middle East that will blow back on other Arab states.
At the same time, the government-owned al-Akhbar in an editorial urged the United States to seek international help in Iraq in a way that it refused to do in the past. (This reference may be to the United Nations or the Arab League– it isn’t clear). Via FBIS:
‘ Cairo Paper Says Washington Should Ask for International Help in Iraq Editorial
The Difficult American Option in Iraq!”
Sunday, June 26, 2005 T21:52:23Z
“This is a fact proven by the rising number of Americans killed in Iraq, the continuing Iraqi bloodletting, the incessant explosions that claim tens of Iraqis every day, and the size of the terrifying destruction that has turned this Arab country into wrecks and ruins.
Perhaps the only way to come out of this fix is an admission by the United States of the dimensions of the Iraqi predicament and a very determined quest to involve the international community in searching for a solution–even if this solution meant Washington’s adoption of some difficult decisions it had not taken into consideration when it took this dangerous decision to invade Iraq.
(Description of Source: Cairo Al-Akhbar in Arabic — State-Owned Daily) ‘
George Hunsinger warns of a Thiry Years’ War on the part of the US in the Middle East.
I share al-Hakim’s fear that civil war in Iraq could ignite the entire eastern portion of the Middle East. He is a man of the region and attention should be paid to him on this. Likewise, I agree with the Egyptians that a precipitate US withdrawal would very likely spark the sectarian war that al-Hakim warned about. I also agree with the al-Akhbar editorial that it is time for the US to bring in the international community. The Egyptians know Iraq and know the region. The Americans, who have shown themselves incredibly ignorant of both, should listen carefully to what they are saying.