21 Killed, Dozens Wounded
Jaafari refuses to Resign
The Iraq Civil War ground on Tuesday. Guerrilla violence killed 21 in Iraq on Tuesday, including 10 who died in a car bombing in Shiite East Baghdad. Two employees of the UAE embassy were killed. A car bomb in al-Habibiyah wounded 25. In addition, 18 corpses have been found since Monday night. They don’t seem to have been counted in the 21 total of newly killed, so the real toll for the day of known deaths is nearly 40.
Update Adil Abdul Mahdi of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) called Wednesday for his rival Ibrahim Jaafari to step down. He said Jaafari had had his chance last year, and that he lacks the full support of the United Iraqi Alliance, the coalition of Shiite fundamentalist parties to which SCIRI also belongs. But Abdul Mahdi’s argument makes no sense. Who could have run an efficient government last year in Iraq, with a civil war building and governmental institutions gutted and no army? Moreover, Abdul Mahdi had less support in the UIA than Jaafari, which is why Jaafari is the candidate. As for security, it is Abdul Mahdi’s party that is implicated in the scandals at the Ministry of the Interior over death squads and militia infiltration, not Jaafari’s Dawa Party.
Ibrahim Jaafari is refusing to resign as candidate for prime minister, despite US and Kurdish pressure. He maintains he was elected fair and square by his party. Hard to argue with.
Kurdish politician and president of Iraq Jalal Talabani threatened Tuesday to take the issue of who will be prime minister to the whole parliament. The present candidate, Ibrahim Jaafari, was put forward by the largest bloc, the religious Shiites, but has had trouble forming a government and is opposed by a substantial number of parliamentarians. In the constitution, the largest bloc is supposed to elect a candidate, and then the parliament is to elect a president by a 2/3s majority, and the president is supposed to appoint the candidate of the largest bloc as prime minister on the condition that he can form a government and get 51%. Talabani seems to be threatening to do things out of sequence somehow. Probably it is unconstitutional, but Iraq is such a mess, that wouldn’t be most people’s primary concern.
Large numbers of displaced Shiite families are moving to the southern city of Najaf, but they are not getting enough aid there. This will cause trouble.
Kurds have formed a united government in the north. It seems more and more likely that Kurdistan will go its own way. Politicians need to find an equitable solution to sharing of Kirkuk oil wealth and of the province itself, before the whole situation explodes and causes a regional war.
‘ The four diplomats said on Tuesday that intelligence chiefs from Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and non-Arab Turkey held a series of meetings over the last few weeks to assess the situation in Iraq and work out plans to avoid any regional backlash that may result from sectarian conflict in Iraq. The diplomats in several Middle Eastern capitals, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Iran and Syria have been excluded from the talks. “They are part of the problem, not of the solution,” said one diplomat whose country is involved in the talks. ‘
Cole: Sorry folks, you can’t actually do anything useful about this problem if you don’t involve Syria and Iran.
US-Iran talks will begin Saturday. The original idea was to wait until an Iraqi government was formed, but who knows when that will be?
CSM notes that solid majorities in the US and the UK have turned against the war in Iraq.
Turkey’s worst nightmare is that the Iraqi Kurdistan confederacy will inspire Turkish Kurds to want an autonomous zone. It is alleged to be happening. There will be trouble over this.