At Least 19 Dead in Guerrilla Violence
Guerrillas detonated bombs near Balad, and in Samarra. Mortar rounds fell in Baghdad and there was a car bombing in the capital. A firefight took place in Tikrit. There were assassinations of important figures in Kirkuk, Baghdad and Basra.
The Washington Post has some more details on the bombing of the Sufi center near Balad north of Baghdad.
Sunni worshippers held a demonstration outside a major Sunni mosque in Baghdad to protest last Monday’s arrest of Muhsin Abdul Hamid by American troops. Abdul Hamid is the leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party. I saw the demonstration on television, and there were certainly more than 100 there, perhaps over 1,000. Al-Sharq al-Awsat estimates the protests at “several hundred”.
Shiite cleric Ali Abdul Husain was assassinated in Basra. Al-Zaman says that an internet site claimed responsibility for the killing for “the Armed Resistance.” It alleged that Abdul Husain was active in the political wing of the Badr Corps paramilitary (originally the paramilitary of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI). The site accused Abdul Husain of having been “the foremost proponent of the secession of the South.”
AP reports that most of the soldiers in the new Iraqi army are Shiites and that Sunni Arab recruits are in short suppy.
Al-Zaman says that its sources report that a small commemoration was held in Najaf on Thursday of the death date of Ayatollah Khomeini (d. 1989) of Iran. The Dawa Organization in Iraq, the Badr Organization, and the Iraqi Hizbullah (associated with SCIRI and not to be confused with either the Marsh Arab organization of the same name nor with the Lebanese party) also took part. The mourners expressed a desire to find a way to disinter Khomeini’s body and to bring it to Najaf for reburial. They recognized, however, that the security situation forestalls that possibility for the moment.
“Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr called on Iraqis to emulate the European Union and reject federalism, which he said would divide the country. Speaking on behalf of Sadr, Sheikh Salah al-Ubaidi told Muslim faithful in Kufa, south of Baghdad, that in Europe: “You can find a unified constitution underway, a unified currency and a united continental market despite the fact that they are different nations.” Although he did not run in January’s elections, Sadr recently re-emerged from the political shadows and is seeking to reinvent himself as the man who can pull his country back from the brink of chaos.”
Just to clarify for US viewers that the federalism of which Muqtada speaks is the very loose, weak vision of the Kurds and some others. Muqtada has for some time insisted on internal Iraqi unity in the face of calls for provincial or regional autonomy.