40 Killed, 90 Wounded in String of Bombings
Al-Hakim Pushes for US-Iran Talks
Bombings and other civil war violence took the lives of some 43 persons in Iraq on Saturday. There were 7 bombings in Baghdad. One car bomb aimed at an Iraqi security forces checkpoint in al-Alawiyah district in the center of Baghdad killed 11 persons, one a police officer, and wounded 15 others. A later car bomb blew up an Iraqi police checkpoint just southwest of the capital, a Shiite area, killing 12 and wounding 38. Also, another car bomb was detonated near an office of the political movement of clerical Shiite nationalist Muqtada al-Sadr, killing 5 and wounding 6 others. Reuters has further details. The report in The Age adds, “In the town of Mahmudiya just south of the capital, a car bomb targeting an Iraqi army checkpoint killed seven people.”
I take no pleasure in being right, but it is obvious that killing Zarqawi had no effect whatsoever on the course of the Iraqi Civil War.
Much less Iraq, it turns out that things are pretty parlous for employees at the fortress-like US embassy in Iraq. The positive spin Bush’s handlers tried to project during his visit was being belied by his own embassy cable traffic, according to WaPo.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the clerical Iraqi leader of the largest bloc in parliament, is in Tehran for talks and still pushing for direct Iranian-US negotiations on Iraq. IRNA reports:
“Given the achievement of the Iraqi nation in formation of a government based on the Constitution, a new phase has started in Iraq,” he added.
Hakim said that Iran’s government has continuously confronted Saddam Hussain’s regime and incurred great loss in this regard, adding that the Iraqi people will always keep this in mind.
“After Saddam’s downfall, Iran has continued to support the Iraqi nation and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was the first official to visit Iraq after formation of its new government,” he added.
He stressed that his country’s government and nation are willing to have strong ties with Iran, adding that this is due to Iran’s clear stance, their common borders and the power of Iran in the region.”
Update: Iran replied to al-Hakim,, “No way!”
Meanwhile, Nermin Mufti does not think it is a good sign that al-Hakim continues to push for two regional confederacies in southern, Shiite, Iraq, on the Kurdistan model.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat says that al-Hakim is upset at al-Maliki for the latter’s plan of rehabilitating some high Sunni Arab former officers.
Iran accused American troops of being a source of significant turmoil in Iraq.