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91.7% of Iraqis Say “US Troops Out”
30 Dead, Dozens Wounded in Civil War Violence

On Sunday morning in Iraq, guerrillas deployed a car bomb to blow up the offices of the al-Sabah newspaper in the Waziriyah District of Baghdad, killing at least 2 persons and wounding at least 20. Sabah was originally set up by the Americans as a newspaper friendly to the new regime.

Question of the week: Would you rather have $1075 or the war in Iraq?

91.7 percent of Iraqis oppose the presence of US troops in their country–a nearly 20 percent increase since 2004. A big majority thinks the US is in their country for the oil.

7 dead bodies showed up in the streets in various parts of northern Iraq Saturday, including in Tikrit and near Kirkuk.

Reuters reports civil war violence in Iraq for Saturday. Policemen were assassinated in Mosul and in Samarra. Reuters reports 20 dead in the political violence, but does not include the 7 mentioned by the Pakistan Times. Lots of other deaths were also no doubt not reported by either one. Among the major incidents:

‘ ISKANDARIA – A car bomb outside a Shi’ite mosque in the town of Iskandaria south of Baghdad killed three people and wounded 17, police said. . .

BAQUBA – Gunmen in the town of Baquba 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad attacked a Shi’ite family, killing two women and two children and wounding 11. . . [Late reports say 6 were killed and 13 wounded – al-Sharq al-Awsat.]

KIRKUK – Four Kurdish civilians were killed in a drive -by shooting as they were travelling southwest of the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, police said. . . .

BASRA – Gunmen killed a woman translator and wounded another as they left a British military base in the southern city of Basra, police said. . . Gunmen killed three civilians in Basra, police said. [Also a military intelligence operative who was working near the Iranian border showed up dead – al-Sharq al-Awsat].

TIKRIT – Gunmen in the predominantly Sunni town of Tikrit stormed a bakery on Friday and killed three Shi’ite workers and wounded two, police said. ‘

Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that [Ar.] the Basra Provincial Governing Council [PGC] has passed a law allowing it to imprison any journalist who reports violence in the province without checking with the PGC first–even if he or she was reporting something they witnessed with their own eyes. The law contravenes the Iraqi national constitution, which guarantees freedom of the press.

Iraqi tribal chieftains met Saturday in a preparatory conference for a planned meet on national reconciliation. The clan leaders mostly have rural constituents and are no longer very powerful in Iraqi society. Although some are mixed Sunni-Shiite, mostly one or the other branch of Islam massively predominates in the tribe. The power has long ago shifted to urban political leaders. The tribal chieftains are not, moreover, very organized, and nor are their followers. My guess is that the Sunni Shaikhs have been invited to informally stand proxy for the Sunni guerrilla leadership.

Shaikh Abd al-Razzaq al-Wiqa` said in a speech to the group, “Abolishing the law of Debaathification, recognizing the Iraqi Resistance, distinguishing between it and terrorism, and building a national army far from being characterized by sectarian quotas– these are the significant prerequisites for national reconciliation.”

This Sunni point of view is not without merit, but hell will freeze over before Massoud Barzani (the Kurdish leader), Abdul Aziz al-Hakim (leader of the Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq) and Muqtada al-Sadr will sign onto it.

Taysir al-Mashhadani, the Sunni female member of parliament from Baquba who was kidnapped by a Shiite militia, has been released. Typically such releases come after a ransom has been paid.

The Kurdistan powder keg.

Turkey continues air raids against PKK positions in northern Iraq. The Turks have invoked the example set by Israel’s bombing of Lebanon.

Ed Wong of the NYT also sees Kurdistan as a cautionary tale against the rush to partition Iraq.

The draft constitution for the Kurdistan Regional Confederacy identifies Kirkuk as an integral part of the federal region. A lot of Turkomans and Arabs in Kirkuk are not going to like this, and they have patrons in Turkey and southern Iraq.

California educator gets into trouble for TWT– Thinking While Teaching.

That Richard Armitage was the first to mention Valerie Plame’s status as a CIA operative to Novak is not very interesting. What is interesting is the ay that Traitor Rove and Traitor Libby immediately figured out that such a leak should be spread around for partisan political purposes.

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