5 Dead in Baghdad Blast
Sistani withdraws from Politics
The 77 refitted T-72 Soviet-era tanks offered to Iraq by Hungary have finally arrived, at Taji base. The tanks were due in September. But in a larger sense the tanks are years overdue. There can be no effective Iraqi military response to the guerrilla movement without a well-trained armor corps. That is how Saddam controlled Iraq. On the other hand, the specific Iraqi military unit that has the tanks will suddenly acquire enormous importance.
The company that refitted the tanks is attempting to sue, since it claims not to have been paid.
A car bomb in a Shiite area of Baghdad killed at least 5 persons and wounded forty on Saturday morning. The area was cleared and patrolled afterwards by the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr, according to the NYT.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat: Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani will decline to meet with politicians and party leaders before the December 15 elections, and is withdrawing from a political role. His spokesmen had earlier said that he would not endorse any party in this election. In January of 2004, he had urged voters to put the United Iraqi Alliance into power.
The FBIS roundup of the Iraqi Press for Nov. 12 says, “Al-Furat runs on the front page a 450-word report citing Al-Sistani’s aide Shaykh Abd-al-Mahdi al-Karbala’i criticizing the government for failing to provide public services. The report focuses on the joint press conference held by defence and interior ministers yesterday, 11 November, during which they announced the enforcement of the Counter Terrorism Act.”
Will blog more on Sunday.