Iraq War Generating Threats to New York
6 GIs Killed
22 Bodies Found
So much for the theory of ‘fighting them there so we don’t have to fight them here.’ (which has always struck me as monstrous and immoral). But anyway there is now at least some evidence that the war in Iraq is actually generating plots against the US homeland (i.e. against the New York City subway system). So maybe fighting wars over there is not actually making us safer here (as the London public has already decided).
The NYT recounts the killing of 6 Marines by guerrillas in western Iraq. In Basra, British forces arrested 12 Mahdi Army militiamen suspected of involvement in attacks on British troops, including some who were in the Basra police force. Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army is a small affair in Basra, probably just a few hundred fighters. The Sadr movement in the city has splintered into several groups, at least one of them led by Shaikh Ahmad Fartusi that appears to have broken with Muqtada. The largest, the Fadila (Virtue) Party, does not follow Muqtada, but rather Shaikh Muhammad Yaqubi. The Fadila has a significant presence on the Provincial Governing Council and at one point at least controlled it with some allies.
Wire services are also reporting that bodies of 22 Sunni Arabs who had earlier been abducted have shown up near the Iranian border. Such incidents are part of a sectarian underground civil war.
They are also saying that young Shiite nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr has given the green light to his followers to vote “yes” on the constitution in the upcoming referendum, despite his own misgivings about its loose federalism being bad for the unity of the country.
Guerrillas in Kirkuk detonated a car bomb, killing two policemen and wounding 8 others.
Ellen Knickmeyer of WaPo reports from Samawah in the southern Shiite province of Muthanna that the local population of some 500,000 is much more interested in electricity and clean water than in the constitutional referendum. She focuses on the importance of clans and clan leaders to the forthcoming vote and notes that they view the constitution favorably. I suspect she has missed the degree to which Samawah politics is affected by a modern party structure, of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, that intersects and may sometimes conflict with tribalism. She suggests that the mood in Muthanna is “pre-political”. I think the implication of archaism is probably a misreading of the situation. People in Muthanna are politically and socially mobilized as never before, it is just that the mobilization is mediated by clan and religion (this happens in the American South, too, and probably in Switzerland, and is not archaic).
Al-Hayat reports complaints by Iraqis in the “triangle of death” (mainly Babil province) between Hilla and Baghdad that the Ministry of the Interior has pulled back the Scorpion Brigade (police commandos) in the region, allowing the Sunni Arab guerrillas to regroup and begin hitting cities like Hilla again. No reason is given for the ministry’s alleged slackening in the area.
Former Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan has been indicted for massive fraud according to Al-Hayat. AFP reports,
Agence France Presse — English
October 7, 2005 Friday 1:04 PM GMT
HEADLINE: Arrest warrant issued for ex-Iraqi defence minister: report
DATELINE: DUBAI Oct 7
Iraq has issued an arrest warrant for former defence minister Hazem al-Shaalan, who is suspected of involvement in the alleged disappearance of more than one billion dollars from the ministry during his term, a newspaper reported Friday.
According to the Saudi-owned London daily Al-Hayat, Shalaan’s name appears on a list of about 20 people accused of administrative corruption in the defence ministry.
He is no longer living in Iraq and is reported to be in Jordan.
“Those (on the list) who are abroad could be brought back to Iraq with the assistance of Interpol,” the newspaper said, quoting “legal sources” in Baghdad. . . ‘
The US is woefully short of Arabic speakers, the Chicago Tribune reports. Only about 10,000 Americans are enrolled in Arabic classes, but the need is for many times that number.