Guerrillas Kill 25
Sistani supports Gradual US Withdrawal
Bombings and assassinations left some 25 persons dead in Iraq on Saturday, including 17 who just showed up in the street dead, with some showing signs of torture.
70 GIs have been killed in Iraq in the past month, and over 2400 have been killed since the war began.
Turkish military action against the Kurdish Workers’ Party along the border with Iraq has heated up, with Turkish mortars falling on the Iraqi city of Zakho, according to this report. That’s what we needed, more mortars falling on an Iraqi city from yet another quarter.
The curfew has been lifted in Baqubah, allowing the city to slump back toward semi-normalcy (Baqubah is a dangerous place). It was the site of an unusually large attack on checkpoints by 100 guerrillas.
Trudy Rubin, who knows a thing or two about Shi’ite politics from firsthand interviews, profiles the new PM-designate, Nouri al-Maliki.
The Iraqi Accord Front [Ar.], according to al-Hayat, has suggested the creation of a new ministerial position, the ministry of state for Arab foreign affairs. The sggestion comes as an attempt to end the deadlock over apportioning cabinet posts. The Sunni Arabs want the foreign ministry, held in the outgoing government by the Kurds, who won’t give it up. The Sunni Arabs say you should have a Sunni Arab to deal with the Arab League states.
Adil Abdul Mahdi, one of two vice presidents, went to see Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani,and he says that the ayatollah said that he agreed with the idea of ending the US troop presence in Iraq gradually.
The Bush administration used to boast that Iraqis were more optimistic about their future than Americans. I’m afraid his policies have led to a surge in pessimism in both places. A new poll in Iraq shows that a majority of Iraqis thinks their economy is bad and getting worse. 3/4s say that security is bad.
For a wounded soldier with brain damage to later get a bill from the Bush administration for the cost of the weapon he left in Iraq’s sands is just about the worse thing I have ever heard.
The LA Times reports that “An American initiative to use private security companies to protect Iraq’s oil and power infrastructure collapsed amid reports of possible fraud, missing weapons and destroyed documents . . .”
Nearly half of the Japanese are afraid that events are moving toward a war with North Korea or China. I hope they are wrong. The US would get involved i such a thing, but doessn’t currently have an army available for it.