Over a Dozen Dead in Civil War Violence
Khafaji denounces Maliki for Visit to Bush
Guerrillas detonated a car bomb in Kirkuk on Saturday, killing four persons and wounding 15. There have been lots of bombings in the volatile multi-ethnic oil city recently, and some worry about a sectarian war breaking out there.
Turkish troops reportedly made a brief incursion into Iraq on Friday in search of members of the PKK guerrilla group.
In other violence, the US military announced that four Marines had been killed in al-Anbar province on Thursday. A grenade attack wounded 12 laborers in Baghdad. A senior officer in the Iraqi border patrol was assassinated in Karbala. Several persons were wounded in an attack in Fallujah. There was a firefight between the US/Iraqi police and the Mahdi Army in Diwaniyah, which left 7 policemen wounded. No word of Mahdi Army casualties if any. My guess is that if the Mahdi Army really wants Diwaniyah there isn’t that much anyone can do about it in the medium term. Reuters has other details of the ongoing civil war attacks.
And, guerrillas destroyed a small Shiite shrine in Diyala province.
‘ Unknown gunmen on Saturday killed two people, wounded two others and kidnapped two more in separate incidents in the volatile Diyala province in northeast Baghdad. ‘
The Sadrist Shaikh Khafaji denounced, in his Friday prayer sermon, the visit of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to the US. He also tied the Lebanon war to the war in Iraq. Jeffrey Fleishman writes, ‘ Nouri al-Maliki’s trip to Washington this week as a betrayal of Islam and a humiliation to his people at the hands of U.S. and Israeli aggressors. Sheik Khafaji intertwined the bloodshed in Iraq and Lebanon, calling it a design by Christians and Jews to defeat the Muslim world. ‘
Meanwhile, on Friday Abdul Aziz al-Hakim finally admitted the need to disband the sectarian militias in Iraq. But he also demanded that the US turn security duties over to the Iraqi government immediately. The main force that might deal with security instead? Sectarian militias, one of which, the Badr Corps, al-Hakim oversees.
Mixed neighborhoods in Baghdad are being ethnically cleansed, as Sunnis flee Shiite districts and vice versa.
Frank Rich, one of our most perceptive intellectuals, points to the odd downplaying of Iraq news what with the advent of the Israel-Lebanon crisis. But Rich is being a little unfair. If they tried to cover two important issues like Iraq and Israel-Lebanon, the television news producers would ask, how could they fit in the missing white women and the small town murder mysteries?
First there is large scale social violence. And then the banks start going under and being robbed at will. Then the economy collapses. I saw it happen to Lebanon in the late 1970s. It is happening in Iraq now, according to James Glanz of the NYT.
An Australian general, Major General Maurie McNarn, played a “red card” during the 2003 US attack on Iraq, vetoing massive bombing raids that would unnecessarily kill innocent civilians. See folks, there really is a distinction between making war and committing gross war crimes, and some professional military men know what it is and stand by it. I fear Tommy Franks and some other US officers were not among them.
McNarn reveals that George W. Bush himself vetoed involving the United Nations in Iraq in summer of 2003: ‘”The UN can’t manage a damn thing,” Mr Bush told Mr Downer, recalling his visit to Kosovo, where the President found the UN personnel to be “a bunch of drunks”. ‘ Hmmm. Can’t manage a damn thing and a bunch of drunks. Sound like anyone we know? Can you say, Reflection fallacy?