3 Mosques Attacked
Kurdish Envoy Sees Sistani about Jaafari
Mosque attacks continued in Iraq on Sunday, as sectarian violence refused to die down. There was guerrilla violence in Mosul, Baghdad, Baiji, Samarra and Ramadi.
Amnesty International maintains that tens of thousands of Iraqis have been detained without trial or even formal charges for months and sometimes years by the US military. This practice violated US and international law. The report also says that the US military continues to use torture techniques.
Some 73% of Americans believe that it is very likely or somewhat likely that there will be an ethnic or sectarian civil war in Iraq.
Gary Hart points out to Knight Ridder that if Iraq did erupt into a civil war with blood in the streets and close alleyway fighting, US troops could get caught in the crossfire. “We could lose our army,” he said. That is a dark vision– “A Thousand Mogadishus Now.”
The Arab Monitor suspects that the Kurdish attempt to oust Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari is related to their desire to grab Kirkuk, a plan with which Jaafari disagrees.
Al-Zaman reports [Ar.] that Ridha Jawad Taqi of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq said Sunday that although the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance was committed to its candidate, Ibrahim Jaafari, there were possible means of resolving the dispute over him with the other parties. One would be to take the issue of his candidacy for prime minister to the whole Iraqi parliament when it convenes next Sunday. (This step would certainly result in Jaafari being sacked, but it is not usual parliamentary procedure. For an American audience, it would be like having the minority Democrats decide who the Republican speaker of the house would be, when the Republicans were in a majority in the House.)
The envoy of President Jalal Talabani, Barham Salih, visited Najaf Sunday for consultations with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani and with the young clerical nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr. He tried to explain to them the reasons for which the Kurds wanted Jaafari dropped. Muqtada al-Sadr stood his ground, insisting that Jaafari had won an internal party vote.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat [“The Middle East”] reports the comments on Ibrahim Jaafari of Tariq al-Hashimi, the secretary-general of the Iraqi Islamic Party [part of the Sunni Arab religious coaltions, the Iraqi Accord Front]. Al-Hashimi spoke at a press conference in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday. Hashimi blamed Prime Minister Jaafari for the sectarian turmoil in Iraq. “His government is stained with political errors about which it is impossible to remain silent,” he said.
He added, “The National Accord Front met with oppression and massacres during the period that Jaafari headed the government. We paid the price as a result of our having kept distant from the Iraqi political arena. Now we are working to change the situation in Iraq for the better.” He said of Jaafari, “He knew about the security issue in Iraq and what was happening in that regard. Jaafari knew about all the decisions taken about the torture that was practiced in Iraqi prisons. For this reason and others, Jaafari is unsuited to form the next Iraqi government. The Front is considering, in coordination with the other Iraqi political blocs, putting forward an alternative candidate for someone to head the next Iraqi government.”
He said that the Iraqi Accord Front [Sunni Arab fundamentalists], the Kurdistan Alliance and the National Iraqi List [Iyad Allawi’s secularists] had conducted discussions. There is some thought to forming a “National Salvation Front.” He said it shouldn’t be read as a political coalition aimed at confronting other political blocs. For that reason, it would be open to allowing other groups to join. [This is probably a reference to hopes of detaching a Shiite bloc from the United Iraqi Alliance.]
Cole: What I cannot understand is why the Iraqi Accord Front thinks that the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) is less implicated in the “oppression” of Sunni Arabs or prison abuse that Ibrahim Jaafari. The likely prime minister if Jaafari steps aside is Adil Abdul Mahdi of SCIRI. It has been suggested that if SCIRI gets the prime minister post, it would be forced as a matter of political bargaining to give up the Ministry of the Interior, which it is accused of packing with members of its Badr Corps paramilitary. The Dawa Party that Jaafari leads does not have as big or important a militia. It is possible that the Sunnis are trying to maneuver SCIRI out of Interior, and Jaafari is just the sacrificial lamb here.
Veteran Iraq analyst Joost Hiltermann prescribes 4 steps to avoid the disintegration of Iraq.
Khalid Jarar discusses the dominance of religious Shiites in the security forces, his own false arrest, and the Sunni Arab brain drain from Iraq. Iraqis are now ten percent of the Jordanian resident population, a little less than the proportion of Latinos in the US . . .