More Bombs Kill 11, Wound 40
Muqtada Damns Rumsfeld
There was more violence on Monday in Baghdad, according to AP:
‘ Bomb blasts in Baghdad and north of the capital – many of them targeting Iraqi police patrols – killed at least 11 more people Monday and wounded more than 40. They included a U.S. soldier killed in a roadside bombing in east Baghdad, the military said. A U.S. Marine was reported killed Sunday in the western insurgent-plagued province of Anbar. ‘
Angry Shiites in Sadr City appear to have strung up 4 Sunni Arabs and hung them from lamp posts, after the attacks on Sunday.
The governor of largely Sunni Arab Salahuddin Province barely escaped assassination on Monday.
Young Shiite nationalist leader Muqtada al-Sadr said Monday that Iraq is in a state of civil war. He responded to guerrilla provocations against Sadr City, with bombings and mortars having killed over 50 persons there Sunday, by ordering his Mahdi Militia not to engage in reprisals.
Like many Iraqi and Arab observers, Muqtada was shocked when US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said last week that the US military would not intervene in an Iraqi civil war, leaving that to Iraqi forces.
‘ “May God damn you,” Sadr said of Rumsfeld. “You said in the past that civil war would break out if you were to withdraw, and now you say that in case of civil war you won’t interfere.” ‘
Cole: I have to admit, it is hard to see what use it is to have US soldiers in Iraq if they won’t be deployed in a genuine national emergency.
Al-Hayat reports [Ar.] that Sunni Arab leaders Adnan Dulaimi and Salih Mutlak have begun speaking of a convergence of interests between them and the United States. Al-Hayat say its sources tell it that the US now feels that aligning with the Sunni Arabs against the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance is a way of offsetting Iranian influence in Iraqi affairs.
Mutlak said he was sure that the Americans are serious this time, and would seek a government of national unity.
The British are withdrawing 800 troops from Iraq. They had about 8,000 there, so this is ten percent. Although the Blair government is being careful not to depict the drawdown as the beginning of a complete British withdrawal, that seems the only possible interpretation. Although it is being implied that Iraqi army troops can pick up the slack, that seems highly unlikely. Iraqi troops stationed in the south where the British are, are probably overwhelmingly Shiites, with local loyalties. The police are even more highly infiltrated.
Given how close Iraq came to civil war in late February, the British are probably eager to get their soldiers out of there. If there were a bloodbath, there is some danger that they would just be massacred. Even a well-armed force of 8000 could not stand against millions.
The memos of John Sawers from April-July of 2003 in Baghdad show the alarm of the British at what seemed to them the chaotic American administration of Iraq.