2 US Troops Killed
A roadside bomb in Samarra, about an hour’s drive north of Baghdad, killed two US soldiers and wounded three others late on Saturday evening.
It was announced on Saturday that the previous Thursday, guerrillas killed Private First Class Nils Thompson of the US military in MOSUL.
UPI reports that ethnic tensions in Kirkuk, which typically run high, are near the boiling point. Kurdish leaders are distributing property to returning Kurds who had been expelled by Saddam Hussein. But Turkmen (who are about a fourth of the city) maintain that the property being given to the returnees actually belongs to Turkmen who were expelled by Saddam. (Saddam had chased thousands of Kirkuk residents from a Kurdish or Turkmen background out of the city, and had brought in Arab settlers to “Arabize” the city, which he detached and made the capital of the “Generalized” or Ta`mim Province (by which he probably meant, “Arabized.”)
A major outbreak of ethnic violence in Kirkuk, among Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs, could plunge the region into war. There are only a few hundred US troops in the primarily Kurdish north of Iraq.
US ambassador in Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad warned the Shiite religious parties not to put discriminatory language into the Iraqi constitution toward women or minorities. But since the Shiite religious parties won the parliamentary election and have a majority in parliament, one supposes they may do as they please.
Iraq’s Kurds, especially Massoud Barzani, are delivering the same message as Khalilzad, insisting on a federal and secular Iraq ahead of Sunday’s political convocation to iron out remaining issues.
In contrast, on Saturday the Sunni Arab members of the constitution drafting committee rejected altogether the Kurdish demand for a loose federalism, saying that it cannot be implemented under conditions of foreign military occupation.
Improvised explosive devices have become among the major war tactics of the guerrilla movement, and they are using it effectively.
Syria objects to US Secretary of Defense blaming it for the turmoil in Iraq. Oh yeah, if Syria didn’t exist, Iraq under American military occupation would be a placid paradise.
Kuwait has ceased work on a steel barrier at the Kuwaiti-Iraqi border that had caused anti-Kuwaiti demonstrations by Iraqis who said it encroached on their property, until the dispute can be ironed out.
Deaths in the guerrilla war on Saturday according to Reuters:
In BAQUBA, northeast of Baghdad, guerrillas opened machine gun fire on a police checkpoint, killing one policeman and wounding another.
In BAGHDAD, guerrillas killed Khalid al-Sa`idi, an official in the Iraqi National Congress of Ahmad Chalabi, late on Friday. They also assassinated another person.
Also in the capital, a suicide bomber detonated his payload near a US military patrol, killing 3 Iraqis, two of them women.
US troops made a sweep near the Baghdad airport, arresting dozens.
In HADITHA in the west, US and Iraqi troops continued their offensive against the guerrillas. Local health officials report that 3 local civilians were killed when they were caught in the fighting, and 5 were wounded.
In Iskandariyah just south of Baghdad, guerrillas used a car bomb to kill two policemen and to wound seven others.
In BASRA in the far south, guerrillas used a roadside bomb to wound a British soldier.