70 Iraqis Killed on Tuesday
Massive Bombing at Kufa
I thought I’d check in with Iraq news, for which I don’t have as much time because I’m following Lebanon. Bad idea. Very bad scene.
Already mid-morning on Wednesday, Reuters was reporting these incidents:
‘ BAGHDAD – Five civilians were killed and 22 wounded, including three policemen, when a car bomb and two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession near central Baghdad’s Technology University, police said.
KIRKUK – Four people were killed and 16 wounded by a bomb planted near the entrance of a cafe in the northern oil city of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – Gunmen shot dead Major General Fakhir Abdul Mohsen, a legal adviser in the Interior Ministry, as he left his house in the western Mansour district of the capital, police said. ‘
The three bombings on Wednesday morning are dwarfed by the events of the two previous days.
Guerrillas attempting to provoke an escalation in the Iraqi civil war bombed laborers in Kufa on Tuesday, killing 59 and wounding 134. The guerrillas lured the Shiite workers at a crowded market into a minivan with promises of employment and then detonated it. Kufa is a stronghold of Muqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army, and is in the vicinity of revered Shiite shrines, so this attack was extremely provocative with regard to sectarian sentiments.
Reuters reports that in the aftermath:
‘ Protesters gathered around the blackened mangle of vehicles. Blood-stained clothes lay amid the debris. “We want the Mehdi Army to protect us. We want Moqtada’s army to protect us,” screamed a woman dressed in a black abaya gown. Others chanted to the police: “You are traitors!” “You are not doing your job!” “American agents!” ‘
It would not have been good to be a Sunni Arab in Kufa on Tuesday. Maybe not to be an American there, either. I don’t get the sense that people in Kufa like us very much.
Al-Hayat says that the Iraqi clans or “tribes,” vast kinship networks with some political cohesion, are being drawn into the sectarian war, which may thus add a tribal and volatile element to the struggle. The persons massacred in Mahmudiyah on Sunday were mostly Shiites, and their relatives and clansmen have been flooding into the city and vowing tribal revenge. The tribes are notorious for long-lived feuds, and apparently they are increasingly convinced that the Iraqi government is feuding with them.
Reuters says that another 14 dead bodies were found in Mahmudiyah on Tuesday, in the wake of the market massacre early Monday. It also reports other scattered violent incidents that reveal a country in profound crisis.
Guerrilla violence killed 2 US troops on Monday and Tuesday.
Borzou Daragahi reports that the killing of 130 people in two days in faith-based massacres in Mahmudiyah and Kufa has, in the view of many Iraqi observers, pushed the country indisputably into civil war. Some 6,000 Iraqi civilians were killed in May and June.
Earlier hopes that the Kurdish peshmerga paramilitary might be deployed in Baghdad to help restore order have been dashed. The Kurdish leadership has taken a look at the idea and decided to pass.
Turkey is threatening to send troops into northern Iraq if the Kurdish PKK terrorist organization does not stop hitting Anatolia from bases in Iraq.
On being an imperial defeatist, at Salon.com.