Massacre in Kirkuk
Bush Suppressed CIA Report exonerating Saddam of al-Qaeda Ties
On Wednesday morning, a shaikh of the Dulaim tribe and 3 sons and a son-in-law were shot dead in West Baghdad. The Dulaim are mostly strong Sunnis and many Dulaim in Anbar province are part of the guerrilla movement.
AP reports that in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, guerrillas lured police to their deaths on Tuesday. One assassinated a police officer on a busy commercial thoroughfare. When other police rushed to the site, a suicide bomber detonated his payload, killing 21 persons and wounding 24. Half of the dead were police.
Deaths of three more GIs were announced, with two killed by small arms fire in Mosul while on patrol, and another killed on Monday in Habaniyah.
The ceremony held in Tikrit by American officials to turn a palace of Saddam back over to the Iraqi government was ruined by incoming rocket fire. The shells were duds, otherwise the lives of US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. Casey might have been placed in danger. As it was, they briefly had to take cover in the palace. When the enemy can strike at will this way at the highest representatives of the United States in Iraq, it is just further proof of how out of control the situation is.
President Jalal Talabani is trying to reach out to Sunni Arab guerrilla forces and may have gotten one leader to come in from the cold. Al-Hayat reports that the other big Kurdish leader, Masoud Barzani, is not happy with this outreach. Hard line Kurds and Shiites see the guerrillas as war criminals and Baathists or radical Salafis who should be fought to the death. Al-Hayat also says that its sources in Baghdad maintain that the United States officials in Iraq are not wild about Talabani’s overtures, either.
Big Oil is attempting to lock in highly favorable contracts on the development of new Iraqi fields that would have the effect of robbing the Iraqi public of billions.
Remember how National Security Council adviser Stephen Hadley lamented the inadequacy of US intelligence on Iraq before the war? Well it turns out that the CIA briefed Bush on September 21, 2001, that there was no operational cooperation between Saddam and al-Qaeda. Then Bush refused to give the brief to the Senate Intelligence Committee! And then Hadley blames the CIA for bad intelligence on Iraq before the war? This information was revealed by the National Journal. If I were the National Journal, I’d look into whether the CIA official who told Bush that is still in government employ. The Bush administration has been extremely vindictive toward any government official who bucked its pet projects.
Dr. Amal Kashif al-Ghita, a parliamentarian from Iraq, argues that the big problem facing the country is not sectarian splits but the growing divide between the wealthy and the poor. Although the American tradition of social analysis is often allergic to class analysis, it seems obvious that social class is driving some of the country’s conflicts. The battles in Najaf in spring of 2004 were between the urban poor (“the Mahdi Army”) and the shopkeeper and entrepreneur class of the pilgrimage city. The Najaf bourgeoisie was happy to have the Marines fight for its interests. They won the struggle for control of the pilgrimage trade, and are now engineering closer relations to Iran, among their primary clients (i.e. pilgrims). This struggle, however, is unlikely actually to be over, which is why you don’t see the Najaf wealthy clamoring for a US withdrawal. If Iraq falls further into poverty, social conflicts could well grow.
Here is a profile of Kristina Borjesson’s “Feet to the Fire,”, a profile of journalists and bloggers on the failures of the corporate media in the run-up to the Iraq War.