9 Dead in Crashes
Jaafari Pledges not to Contravene Islamic Law
A bomb wounded three on the road to the airport from Baghdad. The bombers had been gunning for a US military convoy. In Fallujah, a bomb destroyed a car. (-LBC)
Al-Hayat: The body of the governor of Anbar province, Nawaf Raja al-Mahallawi was discovered. He had been killed on Sunday during fighting between American forces and guerrillas. The same fighting had led to the deaths of 4 Arab guerrillas who had been holding him for the past few weeks. Reuters quotes a report suggesting that the fighting caused concrete in the building to collapse on him. Reading between the lines, it seems to me likely that al-Mahallawi was killed as the result of US military action against his captors, though it is not clear if they knew they were dealing with his kidnappers. That pro-American governors of provinces are still being kidnapped and killed at will suggests that President Bush may have been exaggerating slightly when he recently said that everything is going fine in Iraq.
Four US servicemen and an Iraqi officer, and four Italians died in two separate air crashes in Iraq on Tuesday. The Americans died in a plane crash, the Italians in a helicopter crash.
Wire services report, “Near Baquba, north of Baghdad, two Iraqi soldiers were killed and six wounded in an attack on their convoy, an Iraqi army officer said.”
al-Hayat, ash-Sharq al-Awsat: Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari outlined his legislative agenda to parliament on Tuesday. He pledged to cling to “Islamic principles” in crafting legislation. He also committed his government to building a non-sectarian, non-political military so as to gradually reduce the period of time it would be necessary for the multinational forces to remain in Iraq. He called for the melding of militias into the regular Iraqi military. He said a committee had been formed in parliament to follow the drafting of a constitution and stressed the importance of the participation of the Sunni Arabs in the political process.
He said, “The political program of the transitional government aims at building a democratic, federal and pluralist Iraq in the framework of respect for human rights and respect for public freedoms.” He said the government would work to “eliminate religious and political discrimination . . . and to respect the Islamic identity of the Iraqi people, taking into account that Islam is the religion of the state, such that no laws will be drafted that contravene its essential verities.” He said that the government would work for the “separation of powers, the preservation of the unity of Iraqi territory, and the resolution of the problems the former regime left behind with the countries of the world.”
Jaafari said he would only go to Iran for a visit when several outstanding issues had been resolved. (Tehran has already announced his visit for June). “Water and petroleum constitute one of the subjects of mutual importance, and we support anything that benefits the two countries.” Jaafari had also made a visit to Syria conditional on the resolution of several outstanding issues, among them border security. Jaafari pledged money for greater security, but made so many unfunded promises that he clearly cannot fulfill them.
Guy Dinmore of the Financial Times notes the upbeat rhetoric about Iraq from administration officials but adds
‘ In the more sombre assessment of others in the administration, however, the US has long lost its grip on Iraq’s political process. “We are losing control,” said one veteran Arabist in the administration who requested anonymity. He described the US embassy in Baghdad, without an ambassador for about six months, as “out of the loop” and not involved in significant decisions taken by the new transitional government dominated by the Shia Arab majority. Geoff Porter, analyst with the Eurasia Group consultancy, said US interests had been “stymied on most fronts”, with US officials frustrated with, and ignorant of, Iraq’s fractious politics. “There is an air of resignation, with people throwing up their hands that this will be a long-term process.” ‘
Saudi Arabia is worried about radicals from the kingdom who slipped into Iraq to fight the Americans, coming back to Saudi Arabia to destabilize it.
Michael Hill of the Baltimore Sun explores with unusual depth and perceptiveness the ways in which the Bush administration’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have benefitted Iran above all. He makes the important point that Iran is now the major regional power in the oil-rich Gulf region, and has strong allies in Kabul and Baghdad.
From the Iraqi Press via BBC World Monitoring for May 30:
“Al-Sabah al-Jadid publishes on page 2 an 80-word report on a recent meeting held by Muqtada al-Sadr with Civil Affairs Minister Ala Habib Kazim al-Safi to discuss the role of civic institutions in the political process, the need to denounce sectarianism, and the procedures of “eliminating corruption.” . . .
Al-Sabah al-Jadid publishes on page 8 a 400-word article calling for “evacuating” Mujahidin-e Khalq Organization from Iraq because it is a “terrorist organization that has committed atrocious crimes against Iraqis and had supported Saddam Husayn’s regime.” The article cites fatwas issued by a number of Shiite religious authorities “illegalizing the support to or transaction with this organization.” It also cites dissolved Governing Council’s decree on 9 December 2003 that stipulated the evacuation of this organization from Iraq . . .
Al-Mashriq publishes on the front page a 300-word report saying that the first dispute between President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Ja’fari has been made public, after the latter issued a decision to immediately release all Iranian detainees from Iraqi prisons irrespective of the charges they were facing . . .
Al-Ittijah al-Akhar on 28 May publishes on page 2 a 100-word report stating that occupation forces invaded the city of Hadithah and killed Shaykh Isma’il Abdallah al-A’araji, member of the Association of Muslim Scholars . . .
Al-Adalah carries on page 3 a 100-word report citing Al-Najaf Deputy Governor Abd-al-Husayn Abtan saying that the multinational forces have supplied Al-Najaf Police with 27 vehicles equipped with up-to-date equipment and arms. . .
For May 29:
“Al-Zaman publishes on page 2 a 240-word report citing the commander of the multinational forces in Karbala Governorate confirming that his forces have presented an official apology to the families of four victims who had been accidentally killed in the last two months . . .
Al-Manarah publishes on page 3 a 160-word report citing a spokesman for Basra Advisory Council as saying that the council has decided to dissolve four commando brigades in the governorate comprising approximately 4,000 officers. . .
Al-Mu’tamar publishes on the front page a 150-word report citing an important official in Al-Ramadi denying that an agreement between the US forces and Al-Ramadi tribes had been reached, but confirming that a meeting was held between them to lift the siege imposed on the city and open the roads. . . .
Al-Zaman publishes on page 5 a 500-word column by Rabah al-Ja’far, an Iraqi writer, strongly criticizing US forces for defiling the Al-Quds Mosque in Al-Ramadi and hundreds more throughout Iraq. The writer also criticizes the Iraqi officials who justify the misconduct of US forces and allege that mosques are being used by insurgents . . .
Al-Mashriq publishes on page 4 a 500-word report quoting Baghdad Mayor Ala al-Tamimi confirming that Baghdad Municipality has cancelled the contracts signed with cleaning companies, adding that it will start cleaning Baghdad streets directly through its departments.
Al-Mashriq publishes on page 4 a 700-word report saying that the severe shortage in drinking water is still a major concern, adding that the drinking water in some areas in Baghdad are polluted and have a bad smell. . .
Al-Mashriq publishes on page 4 a 100-word report saying that Al-Kut people have staged a peaceful demonstration demanding the Wasit Governorate Council to combat sectarianism, provide basic services and job opportunities to the people of the governorate. . . .