70 Dead, Bombings in Ramadi, Tal Afar
Virtue Party Proposes Provinces as Regions
Kofi Annan says that Iraq is sliding into sectarian civil war. He called for urgent action, warning, ” . . . if current patterns of alienation and violence persist much longer, there is a grave danger that the Iraqi state will break down, possibly in the midst of a full-scale civil war.”
He said that despite elections, ‘ it was “heartbreaking” that “the everyday life of Iraqi people is dominated by the constant threat of sectarian violence and civil strife”. ‘
Saudi Arabia is afraid that the Iraq violence will spill over onto the neighbors in the region.
The US military handed operational control for central Salahuddin Province, north of Baghdad, over to the 4th Iraqi Division. (The new Iraq has 10 divisions, only one of them lightly armored). This news item just mystifies me. Samarra is in Salahuddin and has been a consistent center of the guerrilla movement. In fact, guerrillas virtually blew up the country when they attacked the Askariyah Shrine there in February. Likewise, Tikrit is there. A Dyncorp security man was killed there by sniper fire on Sunday. Salahuddin is largely Sunni Arab and just is not in control. So how could the Iraqi 4th Division hope to handle it? Is this just an announcement that the Americans have given up on Salahuddin? Is it a sign that Sunni federal troops will be put in charge of it, in hopes of mollifying the guerrillas? Is it actually meaningless and the US military is still more or less in control?
Al-Hayat says that the new command structure does not apply to the huge US military base in Salahuddin.
Reuters reports 70 dead in civil war violence in Iraq on Monday. Combined with deaths reported by AP, the actual total is over 80.
Late reports said that a big bombing in the northern Turkmen city of Tal Afar killed 20 and wounded 17.
A suicide bombing at a police recruitment station in Ramadi killed 13 and wounded 10.
AP says that perpetually troubled Baqubah also saw 12 persons die in shootings and other violence. (Reuters only reported 4 of these).
14 bodies were found in Baghdad, and 4 were found in Mosul (the ones up north were all women, one tortured.)
4 persons were killed in the Shiite holy city of Karbala. What is that about? They don’t have Sunnis or Kurds, so they are killing each other?
In Basra, the police officer in charge of security was assassinated.
al-Zaman reports that parliamentary leaders continued to meet Monday in an attempt to resolve the impasse over passing legislation on the formation of provincial confederacies. The whole parliament is supposed to take it up Tuesday.
An MP from the Fadhila (Virtue) Party said that his party had put forward a plan whereby each province would have the prerogatives of a federated region, as a way of ending the stalemate. Karim al-Yaqubi, spokesman for the party, said that the plan had the advantage of not promoting sectarianism. It would give each province the opportunity to manage its own affairs, and give people the feeling that its provinces belong to its residents. (The plan excludes Kurdistan, which already groups 3 provinces into a single administrative framework).
The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq continued to insist on its own plan, for an 8-province confederacy in the Shiite South.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki put forward a peace plan for Diwaniyah. It has been accepted by the Sadr Movement, which had clashed with the provincial government. It requires that no party appear in public armed and that attacks on American troops in the residential districts cease.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat says [Ar.] that the 32 Sadrist members of parliament have gone on strike to protest a US raid on the guards of female MP Zaynab Karim Juburi. Four of her bodyguards were arrested and the weapons of her security team were confiscated. The Sadrist MPs are demanding that the four bodyguards be released.