Maliki condemns Haditha Massacre
26 Dead in Violence
56 percent of Americans say that going to war against Iraq in 2003 was the wrong thing to do. And, nearly half say that the US should now either get all troops out or begin withdrawing troops. In fact, nearly 30 percent say all troops should be brought home.
Political violence, including mortar attacks on south Baghdad, left 16 dead on Thursday.
PM Nuri al-Maliki condemned the Haditha massacre and demanded that compensation be paid to the families.
The massacre was also given as a reason, by a radical guerrilla group “Brigades of Husayn,” for which it would kill all Iraqi “collaborators” with Coalition troops in the country.
Al-Hayat reports that [Ar.] there is a dispute between Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Basra notables. He appointed a security council for the province that his spokesman says has wide prerogatives, including the authority to dismiss officials. The Basra notables of the governing council dispute these prerogatives. (Apparently they consider the committee extra-legal or extra-constitutional). The Basra notables put forward an alternative plan for returning security to the city, including: 1. Dealing with British troop excesses; 2. opening the door of investment; 3. combatting smuggling rings; 4. ending administrative interference among local institutions. The security committee contains persons linked to the parties and militias that have contributed to the breakdown of order in the city, which has reduced Basrans’ confidence in it.
I am told via an email from a Basrawi that the Iraqi 10th Division trooops have put up checkpoints in Basra and are stopping cars with no license plates, and that this action is producing a positive impression on the public.
The US military sees Ramadi as a site of increased activity by the Salafi Jihadis, whom people are incorrectly calling “al-Qaeda” for propaganda purposes. These are Sunni Arab revivalists. While the most prominent such group, that of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had originally been mainly foreign, there is evidence of significant Iraqi conversion to it. Ramadi has been a center of opposition to the US presence for over two years, and I am not sure what the mix is, in the resistance movement there, of local Arab tribal groups, Sunni Arab urban nationalists, neo-Baath military men, and Salafi Jihadis. But since the city is clearly dominated by political forces opposed to the US and the new Iraqi government, I’m not sure exactly what the significance is of a slightly elevated influence from the Salafi Jihadis.
Continued high unemployment is one cause of discontent in Iraq.
The high rate of civilian death, some of it at the hands of the US military, is also making Iraqis upset.