Iraq VP Warns Bush against Iran Attack
Ramadi Fighting Leads to Evacuation of One District
Adil Abdul Mahdi, whom the Americans wanted for the prime minister of Iraq, warned Washington Friday not to attack Iran. “We will not allow anyone to attack anyone,” He said. (Since Iraqi politicians can’t keep bombs from going off all around them, this comment is somewhat grandiose). Abdul Mahdi is one of two vice presidents in Iraq, a largely ceremonial post. He is a member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, which was hosted by Iran from 1982 through 2003. Its leaders are generall close to the hard line clerics of Iran, but they have also made a fairly close marriage of convenience with the US Pentagon.
Reuters reports guerrilla violence in Iraq on Friday, including three killed in Falluja and a US soldier killed north of Baghdad.
The NYT reports that US military deaths have spiked to their highest level in 5 months. It also reports more on the battle for Baqubah. Apparently the guerrillas consider western Diyala province with a fertlie plain that opens onto the capital, to be analogous to Panjshir Valley north of Kabul, the control of which usually had implications for control of the capital.
Al-Zaman reports that there was renewed fighting between guerrillas and Marines in Ramadi on Friday. The US military forced an entire downtown city quarter to evacuate, so they could make it their HQ inside the city, apparently in preparation for moving against the guerrillas. I am pessimistic that the Marines are ever going to subdue the guerrillas in Ramadi, without just destroying it the way they did Fallujah (which still isn’t safe). These search and destroy missions and displacement of populations just anger the locals and drive them into the arms of the guerrillas.
Well, so much for “fly-paper” or “fighting them over there” or attacking Iraq to end terror. The US government is now admitting that the Bush war in Iraq is generating anti-Western Terrorism. So far Madrid and London have been hit over it, and that is only the beginning. The jihadis getting training fighting Marines in Iraq will be a threat for decades, all over the world.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number 2 man in al-Qaeda, whom Bush and Cheney have left at liberty to taunt us after it planned and arranged for the implementation of 9/11, is at it again. He tells the radical Muslims that the guerrillas have broken America’s back in Iraq. He also calls for the overthrow of Perverz Musharraf, the General-President of Pakistan.
Al-Zawahiri lies when he tries to take credit for 800 suicide bombings in Iraq. He had nothing to do with them. But his claim will be widely believed in the region, and an image of al-Qaeda as resurgent is being created. Such an image itself endangers US national security. Meanwhile, I don’t see Bush going to Congress to ask for a special appropriate to get Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri. It doesn’t seem very important to him, compared with his unconnected drive to reduce the small city of Fallujah to rubble.
Al-Zaman reports insider speculation on negotiations over the shape of the new government. Since Iyad Allawi got no high posts (his list only got 9% of seats in Parliament), he is making a play for head of the national security council, a body envisaged to work like the one in Pakistan, constraining the civilian prime minister on security issues. There is some resistance to Allawi filling this post, among the Shiite religious deputies and among the Sunni hard liners of the Iraqi Accord Front. Al-Zaman says that the United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite) is increasingly tending toward claiming the ministries of petroleum and of finance, and relinquishing the ministry of the interior, which they say has caused them so many headaches. (I cannot imagine that this report, sourced to Sami al-Askari, who is said to be close to PM designate Nouri al-Maliki, is true.)