Mosque Attack Wounds 4
US Raids against al-Dhari, Muqtada
Sibernews reports, ‘A car bomb has exploded close to a Shia mosque in eastern Baghdad as people were emerging from Friday prayers, injuring at least two people [the Guardian reports 4 wounded]. The driver seems to have rammed a fuel lorry passing through the Kamaliya district, police sources said. ‘
The Guardian reports “a suicide bomber rammed an army convoy in northern Iraq wounding seven people.”
About 1000 Marines and some Iraqi troops fought in Operation Spear against suspected guerrillas and jihadi infiltrators in western Iraq (Anbar province) near the Syrian border. The campaign involved the dropping of 500-pound bombs. Local hospitals reported that 6 Iraqi corpses were brought in, including a woman. Previous such operations have had only a temporary and limited effect, because the Marines would attack and then later withdraw. The US does not have enough troops in Iraq effectively to secure Anbar Province (where there are only 10,000 for a population of nearly some 800,000, with long borders with Syria and Jordan).
The Association of Muslim Scholars, a hardline Sunni group, protested the operation and threatened a strike if it continued.
AP/ al-Hayat report that 20 armed guerrillas surrounded a mosque in Ramadi to privent a meeting of tribal chieftains, who had assembled to discuss cooperating with the central government and to explore the issue of the constitution.
The Guardian reports that Ramadi has been taken over by guerrillas, who terrorize the population and are importing armor-piercing weaponry to deal with the Americans.
al-Zaman reports that the Association of Muslim Scholars protested a US raid on the home of its leader, Shaikh Harith al-Dhari. It also denounced the similar raid on the information office of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in Baghdad. The AMS demanded in a communique that such raids be stopped, along with “arbitrary” arrests of Iraqis in general and of national symbols in particular. The raid on al-Dhari’s home took place Wednesday, while the Sadr office was searched on Thursday. The statement called upon the United Nations and international and regional organizations to intervene to stop what it called “terrorist and repressive practices against the principles of humanity.” It also called for an investigatory commission to examine the the conditions and realities in the prisons and holding cells.
ADN Kronos International reports that the Zarqawi terrorist network in Iraq has threatened to kill any Iraqis who cooperate with the US or the new Iraqi government. The threats came in response to the indications that tribal leaders and other notables in Mosul are willing to work against the guerrilla moveement as long as they and theirs are amnestied and promised a better deal with the central government.
Richard Whittle of the Dallas Morning News explores the likely consequences for Iraq of an early US military withdrawal there.
Turkey is concerned about the reports in the Washington Post earlier this week that Kurds have detained large numbers of innocent Turkmen from Kirkuk. The nationalist Turkish government sees itself as protector of the Iraqi Turkmen, who constitute about 3 percent of the Iraqi population.
Malaysia will offer some reconstruction aid to Iraq and Palestine.
Most Virginians are pretty conservative politically, but are also fiscal conservatives. When Roanoke newspaper editorials begin worrying about the impact of the $5 billion a month the US spends on Iraq in direct costs, and that it is not being acknowledged in Bush’s federal budget plans, then Bush is starting to get into some trouble. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives is gearing up to give Bush another extra payment for Iraq of $45 billion.
Al-Qaeda is bringing Arab suicide bombers into Afghanistan in hopes of creating the same sort of instability and hostile environment for the 20,000 US troops there as that tactic has produced in Iraq. This according to Rahim Wardak, the Defense Minister.