Shiite Mosque Bombed
Weapons from Bosnia flood Iraq
Zarqawi’s Emirate of Baghdad
I presume that these casualties were announced late in the day, and are in addition to the 41 killed in sectarian violence on Tuesday, according to AP. If I am right, that is nearly 60 dead. Again.
Guerrillas killed 11 with a bomb in the courtyard of a Shiite mosque. They are trying to provoke all-out Sunni-Shiite civil war, and are getting what they wished for.
See, this is what is wrong with privatizing the Pentagon. The BBC reports that the US gave a contract to a small private firm to import weapons for the Iraqi security forces. It brought in massive amounts of weapons from Bosnia. But the procurement process was complex and involved– you guessed it– subcontractors, and the weapons are hard to trace. It is very likely that a lot ended up in the hands of the guerrillas. What irony. A mania for the private sector has helped turn Iraq into Bosnian using Bosnian weapons. In this Iraq scandal, everywhere you dig you find bodies.
Dexter Filkins reports from Baghdad on militias and death squads, including the Sunni 16th Brigade in Dawra, which became a pro-guerrilla death squad. (This was a legacy of the Allawi government appointed by Paul Bremer and the UN, which had some serious neo-Baathist facsists in the security positions).
Al-Hayat reports that [Ar.] the Salafi Jihadis have established a Taliban-like mini-state in West Baghdad, paralleled by a Shiite militia-ruled region of East Baghdad. The Sunni Arab extremists assassinate young men who walk around clean-shaven, and they pass around leaflets declaring that they will enforce Islamic canon law (sharia) in that neighborhood. They have established the Emirate of Baghdad in Dora and Amiriyah districts, and it is alleged that Zarqawi is there and has appointed viceroys over each. Radical Sunnis fleeing other areas of the Sunni Arab heartland have come to those districts of Baghdad in large numbers. An eyewitness told al-Hayat that in one of these Salafi-Jihadi neighborhoods, an unveiled girl was kidnapped on the street, then later returned to her home with her head shaven. A broadsheet then circulating saying that it was necessary to deal with unveiled girls in this way on the first offense, but later on they should be killed. Men have also been shot down for being clean-shaven or wearing the wrong clothing.
Al-Zaman says that [Ar.] guerrilla leaders inside and outside Iraq have decided to cease using telephones, including satellite phones, and to stop using the internet.
Oh, great. Now the only people who get successfully monitored by the NSA will be teenaged girls in the San Fernando Valley.
Mrs. Talabani, Iraq’s first lady, says that unemployment makes young Iraqi men vulnerable to being recruited by the guerrillas. This is true of a lot of them. But many young men would be guerrillas anyway, because they feel their country is under foreign occupation.
The UN says that human rights are being severely undermined by the political violence in Iraq.
Dr. Rice called for Iran to play a positive role in Iraq on Tuesday. Now that is talking like a diplomat. More of that, please.
New Petroleum Minister Husain Shahristani is taking on the Kurds about their tendency to deal directly with foreign oil companies about prospecting for oil in Kurdistan, without so much as letting Baghdad know. The Kurdistan confederacy is behaving more and more like a sovereign nation, using Baghdad as a mere fig leaf. It has its own army, won’t allow federal troops on its soil, reserves the right to reject federal legislation, issues visas, and by-passes Baghdad in its economic dealings abroad.
The Jordanians caught an Iraqi member of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s Salafi Jihadi organization, who confessed to his terrorist activities in Iraq. There is increasing and alarming evidence that the Zarqawi organization is putting down deep grass roots among Sunni Arab Iraqis themselves, rather than remaining or being coded as foreign.
Another dissection of the failures of the Neocons, this time by Harold Meyerson. He writes that Krisol said, ‘”There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America,” he told National Public Radio listeners in the war’s opening weeks, “that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s been almost no evidence of that at all,” he continued. “Iraq’s always been very secular.” ‘ Oh, yeah, Kristol is a big Iraq expert who can avoid “pop sociology.” Bill Kristol should have read my co-edited book of 1986, “Shi’ism and Social Protest,” if he thought the Iraqi Shiites were not interested in establishing an Islamic state. Hanna Batatu could have given him some information on the Dawa Party and the Badr Corps, which are now more or less in control of Iraq, thanks to Kristol. Kristol, by the way, once argued that the US should have 1.2 million troops available solely for foreign occupations, and that 400,000 each should be allotted to occupy Iraq, Iran and North Korea. And this looney tunes, smug man has the ear of the wealthy and powerful in our country!
Saudi Arabia is facing the dilemma of whether and how to get involved in the Iraq crisis, according to the intrepid Megan Stack of the LA Times. My advice to them is to find a way to work together with Iran to reduce Sunni-Shiite tensions both in Iraq and in the Gulf. Khomeinism has a strong pan-Islamic streak, and the ayatollahs in Tehran would not slap away an outstretched hand from Riyadh. Make this a proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia in Iraq, and everyone loses.