17 Dead in Guerrilla Violence
Fadhilah Defends Constitution
Robert worth of the NYT reports that some 17 persons were killed in guerrilla violence in Iraq on Sunday.
Guerrillas used an explosive device to kill the police chief of Kirkuk and two aides. The Sunni Arab fighters are resisting a take-over of the city by the Kurds, who dominate its police force.
Al-Zaman/AFP report that Baghdad is without electricity 20 hours a day. The guerrilla movement has waged a concerted campaign to starve the capital of fuel and power.
Al-Hayat reports that the Americans have given up attempting to dialogue with the Sunni Arab Resistance, preferring instead to deal with the tribes. This attempt has not gone well. The Americans paid $20 million to set up something called “tribal militias,” money that appears to have simply been embezzled.
Iraqi Accord Front member Shaikh Khalaf al-`Ulyan called on the US government to direct its efforts toward the Iraqi resistance groups, saying that it had been a huge error to focuse in Ramadi on tribal chieftains who in fact have no influence, and some of whom had not even been in Anbar province for years. Shaikh Farhan al-Sadid also emphasized that the Americans would get nowhere with security in Anbar until they talked directly to the armed resistance.
King Abdullah II of Jordan met Sunday with young Shiite nationalist leader Muqtada al-Sadr. King Abdullah II called on Iraqis to participate in the political process so as to safegurad the future and the territorial integrity of Iraq. He said that Iraq’s recovery and return to an active role in the region would benefit Jordan.
Muqtada al-Sadr thanked the king for the aid he had given to the people of Iraq, and for having defended the Prophet Muhammad when the king visited Washington, DC.
Muqtada said he had come to Jordan to meet his people and brethern and to strengthen ties between them and Iraq. He also wanted to represent the Jordanian public to his own constituencies back in Iraq.
Nadim Jabiri, a leader of the Shiite Virtue Party [Ar.] responded to the interview given Saturday to Aljazeera, in which Sadr rejected the new constitution because he feared it might break up Iraq. Jabiri’s party has 15 seats in the new parliament, nominally as part of the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance to which Sadr’s deputies also belong. But Virtue is uneasy within the UIA, and mostly opposed the selection of Ibrahim Jaafari as candidate for prime minister, something the Sadrists supported.
Jabiri said that the constitution had been accepted by 75 percent of Iraqis and therefore could not be rejected. He said, “Federalism is a fixed text in the constitution, and cannot be challenged.” He said that the constitution had been fashioned via consensus and that many of its articles were still subjects of contention. He said that it is not permissible to go back on a document with such broad support from the public. As for the possibility that the Sadrists might introduce a measure to abrogate the constitution in parliament, Jabiri replied that an agreement already exists among the various parties to amend a number of the constitution’s articles during the next four months. He said it was permissible for the Sadrists to work within that framework. He allowed that the political forces might settle on some limited amendments, but said that the principle of provincial confederacies could not be touched. But he said that since the confederacies were to be formed by provincial referendums, they could be forestalled by simply waging campaigns to convince people in the provinces not to take that step.
The elected provincial council of Maysan province in the South has cut off relations with the British military that polices the province in protest over the filmed beating of Iraqi youths there. Maysan is dominated by the Sadr Movement, which in any case is eager to see foreign troops out of the country. The Basra provincial council had already cut off the British, putting them in an increasingly difficult position. The central government wants the British troops to stay, but the provincial governments do not feel the same way about it.
The Associated Press reports on the continued fight in Ramadi and Anbar Province, which has lost 4 governors so far. One was assassinated, one resigned after an attack, and two had sons kidnapped. The central government building in Ramadi is a frequent target of attacks.