Several US Soldiers Killed
AP reports several incidents of sectarian violence on Friday, including concerted attacks on Shiite pilgrims heading to the holy city of Karbala. Al-Zaman says that by next Tuesday there will be 3 million Shiite pilgrims in Karbala for the 40th day mourning rites after the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Prophet’s grandson, Husayn. Protecting 3 million people will be no easy task, though the original Ashura rites themselves went off without major incident 40 days ago. Some past such processions have been bombed by guerrillas.
The violence included the killing of a US soldier at Samarra and a bombing at Miqdadiyah that may have killed several US troops and wounded more.
It turns out that “Operation Swarmer” was just a routine search and destroy mission. It doesn’t in fact appear to have involved massive bombings, and has met no significant resistance, with a few guerrillas apprehended in villages around Samarra.
Al-Zaman reports that Nadim al-Jabiri and his Virtue (Fadila) Party oppose Abdul Aziz al-Hakim’s attempt to bring Iranians into dialogue with the US over Iraqi affairs.
You will see a lot of propaganda about the situation in Iraq, some of it put out by English-speaking Republican journalists or bloggers who visit the country (mainly safe Kurdistan). But Nir Rosen, an Arabic-speaking journalist who goes about unembedded in Iraq, has given us the real deal– firsthand reporting on the sectarian violence and tensions in Iraq, based on Arabic-language conversations with real Iraqis.