Italians to Begin Withdrawal
Roadside Bomb Kills US Soldier in Iraq
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced Saturday morning that the three thousand Italian troops would begin pulling out of Iraq in September. Some 300 will leave that month. The Italians have been stationed at Nasiriyyah, a Shiite area in the south that has been relatively quiet since the Sadrist uprisings of spring and summer, 2004. Italian commanders appear to be thinking as British ones are, that the Shiite south in Iraq simply no longer needs foreign troops to see to its security. Instead, the new, majority-Shiite government and the elected provincial councils should be able to maintain order, even if they have to rely on party militias.
Although Berlusconi denied that the London bombings were a factor in the decision, the only possible explanation for his announcing the decision now is to calm the nerves of Italians, who have twice been threatened by jihadi groups over the presence of their troops in Iraq. The Italian public all along overwhelmingly opposed involvement in Bush’s illegal Iraq war. But involvement in the US-led Coalition has been made even more difficult by the US killing of Italian secret agent Nicola Calipari last spring, and by the recent controversy over the kidnapping just before the war of an Egyptian imam from Milan by the CIA.
Many members of Bush’s ad hoc coalition in Iraq are planning to leave Iraq by December, when the current United Nations authorization for their presence ends. It appears that by next year this time, the US will be in Iraq virtually alone, still in all likelihood facing the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement.
Reuters gives security incidents for Friday:
Guerrillas near Balad used a roadside bomb to kill one US soldier and wound three others.
Guerrillas in Baghdad attacked a water pipe yet again. This is the third time in three weeks, and each such attack has left several districts of the capital without running water for many days in the midst of a sweltering summer.
Three guerrillas were killed while trying to set a roadside bomb near Mahaweel south of Baghdad. Reuters adds:
‘ BASRA – The body of Basra University Arabic Language professor Karim Khamass was found a day after he was kidnapped on his way home from work, a police officer said.
BAQUBA – US forces arrested Hamid Selman sl-Sadoun, chief of the Benni Zeid tribe of Sunni Arabs, in the town of Kanan, near Baquba on Thursday, relatives said. ‘
Al-Sharq al-Awsat says that late on Thursday a Shiite cleric, Shaikh Hasan Atiyah al-Fadali, and his brother were killed at a Baghdad bridge.
Iraq historian Toby Dodge of the UK explains the Iraqi guerrilla movement to veteran journalist Rami Khoury. It consists of dozens of small groups and is in the majority directed by ex-Baathists.
Chalmers Johnson tells the heartrending tale of the destruction of much of Iraq’s history under the glazed eyes of the Bush administration’s criminally inept administration of the country.
The London Review of Books asks where the money went in Iraq.
The addition of Sunnis to the Constitution drafting committee appears to be causing tensions. FBIS translates the article from al-Ta’akhi:
‘ Iraq: Kurdish Deputy Unhappy About Sunni Contribution in Drafting Constitution Report: “Kurdish MP Abd-al-Khaliq Zangana: The Sunni members of the constitutional commission try to take us back to square one”, p 1
Thursday, July 7, 2005 T16:19:23Z
Journal Code: 9091 Language: ENGLISH Record Type: FULLTEXT
Document Type: FBIS Translated Excerpt
Abd-al-Khaliq Zangana, member of the Iraqi National Assembly said: We presented a picture about the six committees to the newly appointed Sunni Arab members, who paid attention and put forward some remarks.
In an interview to Al-Ta’akhi yesterday, Zangana added: The Sunni brothers participating (in the drafting of the constitution) try to take us back to square one during the discussions with them. In the first session with them they objected to some paragraphs that have been agreed upon in the draft constitution. However, we hope we could cooperate together in writing the constitution for the federal republic of Iraqi. But they objected to it and to naming it as the federal Iraq. But this point is no longer up to discussions as far as the Kurdish members are concerned as the subject has already been agreed on since 4 October 1992, so it is impossible to go backward or go back to a tyrannical regime. ‘
The United States and India have signed a 10-year military security pact that might facilitate the provision of Indian troops to peace-keeping efforts in places like Iraq. The Indian left is suspicious that the defense minister signed the pact under duress from Washington during a trip to the US capital, and worry that it appears to sign India up to US operations without a United Nations framework.