39 Killed Sunni Arabs Demand War

39 Killed
Sunni Arabs demand War Reparations from US

At least 39 Iraqis were killed in guerrilla violence on Monday, the third anniversary of the US invasion. Guerrillas killed 10 policemen in separate bomb attacks, as well as hitting a cafe, killing 3 and wounding 23. There was also an attack on officials of the oil refinery at Beiji. A minibus carrying Shiite pilgrims was bombed, killing 4. But the massive gathering of devotees at Karbala went off safely.

Some 18 bodies were found, victims of night-time sectarian reprisals. One of the victims was a 13-year-old girl. It looks and smells like a civil war, folks.

Wire services report fighting between US forces and guerrillas in Ramadi.

Al-Zaman says that the Association of Muslim Scholars (hard line Sunni clerics) issued a communique on the third anniversary of the war, saying, “The American plan has failed” and warning Iraqi forces that they “should not fool themselves that they are battling terrorists who have arrived from abroad.”

The text says, “Everyone must realize that the American plan has failed in Iraq. We demand not just the withdrawal of Occupation troops in accordance with a timetable agrred upon with the United Nations but also that reparations be paid for the losses attendant on this attack.”

Al-Zaman/ AFP reports that Kurds celebrating Now-Ruz on the new year’s day of the vernal equinox, and the Shiites in Karbala, both seemed uninterested in commemorating the anniversary.

The negotiations about the new government have been postponed for one week because of the Kurdish Now-Ruz (New Year’s Day) and the Shiite Arba’in, the fortieth day commemoration of the death of Imam Husayn, the grandson of the prophet.

Al-Zaman reports that Shiite clerical leader Abdul Aziz al-Hakim is agitating again for provincial confederacies in the Shiite south. He instisted it wouldn’t break up the country. He also advocates unleashing the Badr Corps (the Iran-trained paramilitary of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq) against the Sunni Islami radicals.

Those who see the Kurdish regions of Iraq as havens of relative peace and prosperity seldom reckon with its less savory characteristics. The regional government often functions as a police state.

Pretty much everyone agrees by now that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld must go, that he has been incompetent and egoistic and callous. But no one ever brings up the question of whether the situation in Iraq can get any better as long as Rumsfeld is in office. He makes Pentagon policy. He makes bad, even catastrophic policy. Ergo, Rumsfeld in office equals looming disaster.

The Sunni Arab guerrillas, according to ABC, are media savvy and fighting a “mosaic war.”

Chris Allbritton explores whether the Iraqi police are infiltrated with death squads and making things worse, not better.

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