35 Bodies Found Executed in Baghdad, Kut
10 Coalition Troops dead in 2 Days
AP and Reuters report that 33 bodies, most showing signs of torture, were found in the streets of Baghdad on Monday. The victims were likely victims of reprisal killings from the opposite branch of Islam. Another two bodies were found in the southern Shiite city of Kut.
Iraqi security forces said that they killed 14 Sunni Arab guerrillas planning to attack pilgrims to the sacred Shiite city of Karbala.
12 Coalition troops have been announced killed in the past two days. SBS writes:
‘ Meanwhile at least 10 US and two British troops have died in Iraq in a two-day period, most of them killed in rebel attacks.
The latest deaths brought the US military’s losses in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion to 2,651, according to an AFP count based on Pentagon figures.
The British military also said that two of its soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack near the main southern city of Basra on Monday, while a third was seriously wounded.
The latest British casualties brought the military’s losses in Iraq since the invasion to 117, a military spokesman said. ‘
Al-Hayat reports [Ar.] that Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, himself a Kurd, defended on Monday the decree issued by Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani forbidding the flying of the Iraqi flag in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Senior Iraqi ministers are planning a trip to Iran. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki may follow them, according to the Iranian press. But al-Sharq al-Awsat says that he denies it.
Meanwhile, in the US, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami told Barbara Slavin that the US should stay in Iraq until the new (Shiite-dominated) government is stronger.
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani called Monday on the Iraqi Pilgrimage Board to employ upright criteria in choosing Iraqis to go on pilgrimage. He urged that the major political parties and religious movements not be given quotas.
(Goodies in Iraq tend to be distributed by political party, in a sort of spoils system. Sistani is saying that that is not the right way to choose pilgrims.
Bush’s refusal to rethink his Iraq strategy may have an unexpected side effect– of uniting the Democrats.
I know that it sounds absurd to talk about Democrats uniting. But if W. could unify the Iraqi Sunnis–who are notorious for their feuds and infighting– he can unify the Democrats.