Huge Bomb In Basra Kills 16 14 Bodies

Huge Bomb in Basra Kills 16
14 Bodies Discovered in Mahmudiyah

Guerrillas detonated an enormous bomb outside a restaurant in the southern port city of Basra on Thursday, killing 16 persons and wounding 21. Two children were killed in the attack. Basra has occasionally suffered from such guerrilla violence, which is carried out by Salafi Sunni extremists or by the Baath Party underground, but big bombings there have been comparatively rare. The largely Shiite populace keeps its eyes open for infiltrators, as do the Sadrist and Badr Corps militias.

Iraqi authorities discovered 14 bodies near Mahmudiyah. Such night-time killings, Mafia style, usually involve attacks by Sunni Arabs on Shiites or vice versa.

The US military continued its assault on the Turkmen city of Tal Afar, detaining 200 suspected guerrillas. The city of 200,000 is largely deserted, though some civilians have stayed behind and remain in severe danger. The US military has done things like call down 500 pound bombs on residential districts to get at suspected guerrillas. As we wonder where all the Katrina refugees will go, we should be wondering even harder where all the Tal Afar refugees will go.

There was also deadly violence in Tikrit and in Baghdad.

The United Nations cannot begin printing the Iraqi constitution for distribution to the Iraqi people until it gets a text “certified” by the Iraqi parliament. The parliament has never voted on the draft constitution, presented by its drafting committee on August 22. The text has subsequently been amended, though it is not clear by what legal process. The UN is insisting that if it is going to help print the document, it should be signed off on by more than a handful of politicians at the top.

The UN is also concerned about the dreadful human rights situation in the country.

The Americans will stop doing work on Iraqi water and power facilities because they have run out of money. LA Times money quote on this: ‘ “We can’t seem to get [the Iraq rebuilding] right. We see it in Katrina, the lack of leadership, the lack of coordination,” said Rep. Nita M. Lowey of New York, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee. ‘

US companies and even officials often operate in Iraq only because their private security guards keep them alive. Now the elected Iraqi government is considering expelling the private armies, or at least reining them in.

Iraq’s new constitution, with its approval of loose federalism, may make developing Iraq’s petroleum resources more difficult. Oil companies won’t like to have to negotiate with each local party, or to risk their investment if a dispute lands in an unsympathetic court.

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