9 Dead in Tuz Khurmatu Bombing
Deputy Governor of Diyala Assassinated in Baqubah
Iraq looked more and more like a macabre horror film on Wednesday, as the Iraqi military announced that someone distributed poisoned watermelon to its troops at a Mosul checkpoint, killing one and making 12 others ill. This according to Deutsche Press Agentur via ash-Sharq al-Awsat. Likewise, 3 children were blown to smithereens in a mortar strike while playing in their yard. Guerrillas launched a rash of a a carbombings Thursday morning. At Baqubah at least 4 are dead, including the deputy governor of Diyala Province. In the city of Tuz Khurmatu a bomb killed 9 Iraqis and wounded 28. In Kirkuk, a carbombing killed two and wounded several others.
On Wednesday , AP reports, a suicide bomber detonated his payload at the main checkpoint for Baghdad International Airport around 9 am on Wednesday, leaving 15 Iraqis wounded and black smoke rising into the sky.
A mortar strike in southern Baghdad killed three children and their uncle. Guerrillas killed two policemen in west Baghdad in a drive-by shooting.
Carol J. Williams of the LA Times argues that the suicide bombings in Iraq are on a scale unprecedented in world history. She writes, “U.S. officials and Iraqi analysts say the insurgents’ resources are increasing on several fronts: money to buy cars and explosives, expertise in wiring car and human bombs, and intelligence leaks that help the insurgents target U.S. and Iraqi forces.” There is no shortage of volunteers for the fatal missions. There is some evidence of Iraqis undertaking suicide missions, as well as the foreign jihadis, and she cites such an anecdote.
The British military in southern Iraq is making plans to withdraw to bases and ultimately to depart the country. They hope to turn security over to Iraqi police and other security forces. The Financial Times is too genteel to say so, but for all practical purposes most security in southern Iraq has for some time been provided by the Badr Corps, the Dawa Party paramilitary, and the Sadrists of various stripes–i.e. by religious party militias. The British have long since acquiesced in this situation, and their just-announced plans simply underline that acquiescence. Given that they have had on the order of 10,000 troops in southern Iraq, and that the southern port city of Basra alone has a population of 1.3 million, they could hardly do otherwise.
Reuters reports that a recent spate of assassinations in Kirkuk are raising ethnic tensions in that powderkeg of a city. The article says that leaders from all three of the city’s major ethnic groups, Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen, have recently been assassinated:
An Arab tribal leader, Nayif al-Jubouri, was killed outside his home on Friday night . . . Jubouri’s family blamed the death on fellow Sunni Arabs because of his friendly ties to rival Kurdish parties. But Mohammed Khalil, the spokesman of an Arab bloc in the local council, said the killing may have been carried out by a militia linked to one of Iraq’s main Shi’ite parties. He said the Badr organisation . . . were opposed to Jubouri because he had ties with the People’s Mujahideen [Mojahedin-i Khalq or MEK], a group that wants to overthrow Iran’s government. The Badr organisation is linked to the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq . . .