50 Bodies Found
Baghdad Ditch called Impractical
Brain injuries are the signature debility of wounded Iraq War vets.
A third soldier is missing and presumed dead in a late-Thursday suicide bombing that had killed 2 and was said to wound 25. It now turns out that actualy 30 were wounded.
Also late Thursday, another US soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in northwest Baghdad.
Another 50 bodies were found in Baghdad on Friday. They had been tortured and shot in the head. They are typically victims of sectarian death squads (Shiites killing Sunnis, Sunnis killing Shiites). The killers appear to be aiming at ethnically cleansing some mixed districts in Baghdad, though in some instances they may be taking revenge for the deaths caused by one side to the other.
Car bombings were impeded but not stopped on Friday by a ban on vehicular traffic. This tactic stops most attacks on Friday prayers congregations, which are inflammatory. But Al-Sharq al-Awsat points out that the down side is the end of the institution of the Friday market. It saids that even on ordinary weekdays, many shops are closed and those that are open close up at 2 pm for security reasons. Baghdad used to have lively evening shopping and even a nightlife at cafes.
Al-Hayat reports that 45 of the bodies were found in the Karkh district, a Sunni area of the capital, while 15 were discovered in Rusafah, which has a Shiite majority. The distribution points to the sectarian character of the killings. One official at the morgue said that of the bodies brought in on Wednesday, most were recovered by next of kin and that they were pretty evenly divided between Sunnis and Shiites. Baghdad health authorities said that a majority of the bodies were reclaimed by families. But some number stayed at the morgue, whether because they were disfigured beyond recognition, or because their relatives had fled the area, or because their relatives were afraid to go to the morgue for fear of further reprisals.
A police official said that these bodies thrown in the street were unrelated to the death squads that used to dress up in ministry of interior or police uniforms and kidnap members of the opposite branch of Islam. He said that there had been no complaints of persons dressed as police being involved in these killings. An anonymous officials charged that the militias and gangs used to rent cars belonging to the ministry of the interior for $500 per car, from police officers or from ministry chauffeurs. Sometimes police or army units actually took part in the death squads. The crack down on the circulation of police cars has aided attempts to end this problem.
Al-Hayat said that the large numbers of bodies discovered this week raised doubts about the current security program. Preachers at the Friday prayers raised the issue. Shaikh Mahmud al-Sumaidaie, imam of the Umm al-Qura mosque, said that the Occupation daily comes out with lies about its inability to restore order, at the same time (he alleged) that it was supporting “forces opposed to the people” that kill its children within sight and hearing of its troops, and just a stone’s throw from its tanks.
. . . MOSUL – A car bomb targeting a U.S. military convoy exploded in the outskirts of the northern city of Mosul, wounding nine civilians, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – One person was killed and five others were wounded in clashes between gunmen and residents in al -Fadhl area, north-central Baghdad, police said.
MUSSAYAB – A police convoy was struck by a roadside bomb late on Thursday in the town of Mussayab, about 60 km (40 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. Three policemen were wounded in the attack, they said.
MUSSAYAB – The body of an unidentified man, with a missing head and amputated legs, was retrieved on Thursday from a river in Mussayab, police said. . .
DHI QAR PROVINCE – Dhi Qar’s police killed two members of the Mehdi Army militias who were attempting to launch mortar rounds at an Italian military base in Dhi Qar, south of Baghdad, police sources said. They said the two men were killed in clashes with police.
[Deleted comment about Abu Naji base because a reader said it was inaccurate.]
The US and the Iraqi government are going to block off all but 28 roads into Baghdad, ensuring that all incoming traffic is properly searched. The blocked roads will be cut off in part by a ditch that is planned to encircle the city. I don’t know if Harun al-Rashid had a moat built around the original round city of Baghdad. I think it was more secure back then.
Al-Hayat said that Baghdad security experts believed that the trench plan was impractical and could not be implemented. They said that political efforts alongside military ones would be more effective than a trench. They said the trench would stretch through agricultural and tribal land, and that people would just build informal bridges over it.