20 Dead in Guerrilla Violence
Sunnis Pull out of Constitution Drafting Committee
Guerrillas abducted two Algerian diplomats on Thursday, in a continuing campaign to isolate the new elected government internationally.
All the Sunni members of the Constitution-drafting committee have suspended their membership in the committee and are boycotting its meetings. They protest that the clerical Shiite head of the committee, Humam Hamoudi, keeps giving interviews in which he maintains that the constitution will be ready by August 1, when in fact the Sunnis do not even accept that first sentence of the current draft, which enshrines the principle of federalism. They also demand an international investigation of the killing of 3 Sunni members of the committee on Tuesday (the Sunni Dialogue Council darkly hints that the Shiite-dominated government was behind the assassinations). (+ -al-Hayat).
The Kurds presented the constitution drafting committee with a new map of their proposed state of Kurdistan, which expands its borders much south of previous prototypes. They are demanding that this map be incorporated into the new constitution.
Reuters reports the following casualties from the guerrilla war in Iraq on Thursday:
Seven Iraqis were killed and 11 were wounded in a suicide car bomb strike in Mahmudiya south of Baghdad on Thursday, an Interior Ministry source said.
Police said two Iraqi commandos were killed and 10 were wounded by a suicide car bomb strike on a checkpoint in the Dora neighbourhood of the capital.
A roadside bomb killed four Iraqi soldiers in Mahawil south of the capital, police said.
In Baquba north of Baghdad, police said militants had blown up a shrine holy to Shi’ites overnight, damaging its dome.
CNN adds the following incidents on Thursday and also from later Wednesday:
On Thursday guerrillas killed 8 persons and wounded 16 on Thursday morning in various attacks. Five of those killed were Iraqi soldiers. (This total includes the Dora attack mentioned above). Guerrillas shot dead 3 members of the Iraqi Reconstruction Committee of Qadisiyah Province.
On Wednesday, guerrillas ambushed a police patrol in Mosul, killing seven policemen and wounding one. In another Mosul attack, guerrillas wounded a police lieutenant colonel and injured his driver.
Residents of the largely Sunni Turkmen city of Tal Afar in Iraq’s north are streaming out of the city in fear that the US forces are about to launch an attack on it. CNN adds:
‘ Soldiers have been moving earth to construct a trench and a berm around Tal Afar, forcing traffic to go through rather than around security checkpoints. U.S. Army engineers in Mosul have recently completed a 64-kilometer dirt berm around that city to stem the flow of insurgents and weapons. McMaster said he believes recent arrests in Tal Afar and at the Syrian border have significantly disrupted the insurgency’s ability to operate. But he said insurgents and foreign fighters in parts of the city are continuing to terrorize the population.’
I just very much doubt that building a wall around Tal Afar and forcing everyone to go through US checkpoints is going to make a dent in the guerrilla movement. One notes that last weeekend was rather bloody. And, an attack on Tal Afar, Fallujah-style, will just ensure that they hate us for decades to come.
Tensions are simmering in Fallujah itself again according to Reuters, with guerrilla violence breaking out from time to time and deep local resentment of the largely Shiite Iraqi troops patrolling the city, whom residents code as “Iranians.”
Australia will not send more troops to Iraq to replace departing British soldiers, the Australian Defense Minister insists. Brian’s guest column on Tuesday here at Informed Comment had predicted as much.