5 US Troops Killed, 25 Injured
A suicide bomber in Baghdad killed 2 US troops and wounded 25, 3 of them seriously. 16 were hospitalized but not in serious condition. 5 US troops have been killed since Wednesday. AP adds: “Also in Baghdad, one soldier died from wounds early Thursday after his unit came under attack by small arms fire. Another soldier died after his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad. A soldier attached to the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division died from wounds received Wednesday by enemy fire near Mosul.”
12 bodies were found in Baghdad on Thursday, bringing the two-day total to 100. This time some Shiites were among the victims. Reuters adds, “A car bomb struck a police patrol outside an orphanage near the busy Karrada district of central Baghdad, killing nine people and wounding 26. Another, outside a photography studio in the northwest of the city, killed one and wounded 13.”
Sunni fundamentalist MP Adnan Dulaimi warned that death squads could destroy Iraqi politics altogether if the killings continue.
Reuters reported further trouble in Diwaniyah: “In Diwaniya, south of the capital where Shi’ite militia and U.S.-backed Iraqi forces fought a battle two weeks ago, U.S. troops raided a local headquarters of followers of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. One man was killed and 10 wounded in subsequent disturbances. A daytime curfew was imposed.” More details are here.
Guerrillas murdered two more journalists in Iraq on Thursday.
Gunmen assassinated the leader of the Al-Bu Muhammad tribe, Shaikh Abdullah Khalaf Ibrahim al-`Izzi, days after he called for Saddam Hussein to be released from captivity. He had also called for an end to sanctions on Baathists, dissolution of the militias, and an end to the foreign military presence. His tribe is located south of Kirkuk in a mixed Arab and Turkoman area.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports that a new security plan has begun to be implemented in the troubled southern port city of Basra. An official from the provincial administration, which is controlled by the Fadhila or Virtue Party (a Sadrist offshoot led by Shaikh Muhammad Yaqubi) told journalists the plan would be implemented by the three-party security committee. This committee had been created by the Iraqi cabinet the Coalition forces, and it divides Basra province into 14 units. The Iraqi army will take responsibility for the city proper, while other forces will have responsibility for the northern part of the province.
The plan calls for incarceration of anyone committing violence or criminal acts, or opposing the British military. It also involves confiscating weapons. The British military announced Thursday that it had found a major cache of bomb-making materials apparently intended to be used in the al-Qurna district to the north of the city.
Prime Minister Maliki deployed the Iraqi 10th Army Division in Basra earlier in the summer in an attempt to tamp down growing militia violence, but it has not apparently had much success.
Al-Zaman reports that representatives of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani of Najaf are engaged in talks with Shaikh Mahmud Sarkhi al-Hasani of Karbala about sharing with him some of the proceeds from the pilgrimage traffic to the Shrine of Imam Husayn in Karbala.
Imam Husayn was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, who was killed by the Umayyad armies in 680 AD as he led an uprising against that empire. His shrine is among the holiest objects of pilgrimage for Shiites throughout the world, and pilgrims coming to Karbala make donations to the shrine and buy things from shops around it. A good deal of this money goes to the leading clerics. Abdul Mahdi al-Karbala’i, Sistani’s agent in Karbala, is General Secretary of the Husayn Shrine Board, which oversees these funds.
Al-Karbala’i was apparently instructed by Sistani to share a small portion of these shrine proceeds with al-Hasani as a way of convincing him to stop making trouble.
Al-Hasani’s followers clashed with Karbala security forces recently. Al-Zaman’s sources say that they are being transported at night in trucks out to the desert between Najaf and Karbala to do military drills, carrying medium and light weapons.
War in Iraq or War on Terror? A revealing debate among Iowa’s senators, with Tom Harkin expressing confidence that the Bush administration tactic of trying to scare the American public will not work again.
Nick Turse on misfits in the US military at Tomdispatch.com.