Brother of Iraqi VP Killed
4 US Troops Killed
57 Bodies found in Baghdad
Reuters reports that 4 US GIs were announced killed by Iraqi guerrillas on Monday. Since the beginning of October, guerrillas have killed 33 US soldiers and Marines.
Gunmen dressed in police uniforms killed the brother of Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi on Monday. The Sunni Arab community interpreted the assassination of Lt. Gen. Amer al-Hashimi, and adviser to the Ministry of Defense, as the work of a Shiite death squad. He was the third of the vice president’s siblings to be killed this year. Sadrist Shiites in parliament have accused al-Hashimi and his Iraqi Islamic Party of having links to the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement.
Al-Hayat reports [Ar.] that the assassination has raised the tension level in al-Anbar province, where the Iraqi Islamic Party has a great deal of support. There, it competes with “al-Qaeda in Iraq,” which accuses it of collaborating with the Americans.
Some are saying that the assassination and the bad feelings among Sunnis may be the nail in the coffin of PM al-Maliki’s hopes for a national reconciliation program.
Sabrina Tavernise of the NYT writes:
‘ A bomb in a parked car exploded at nightfall on Monday in a crowded market area in Shaab, a predominantly Shiite neighborhood, killing at least 13 and wounding 46, a police official said. It was the first large bombing in the capital in almost a month, and brought the number of Iraqis killed in violence on Monday to 18. In addition, Iraqi authorities said they found 57 bodies in eastern and western Baghdad. ‘
The Sunni Arab guerrilla movement has found it difficult to carry off the big, spectacular bombings while under pressure from the US military’s “Battle for Baghdad,” but it seems to be adapting.
Reuters reports other political violence, including a car bombing at Tal Afar.
Aljazeera is broacasting a call from the 1920 Revolution Brigades calling on Iraqis to support them in their struggle against American occupation and against what they called sectarian death squads. (I fear the 1920 Revolution Brigades are themselves a sectarian death squad.)
Aljazeera also showed Iraqi vice premier Salam al-Zawba`i (Sunni Arab) condemning the militia elements in the Interior Ministry (i.e. the Shiite Badr Corps of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq). He said that the Iraqi government needs to stop asking the militias to disband and should rather order them to disband.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat [Ar.] quotes Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki as saying that the days are past when order can be imposed by tanks and conspiracies.
Everyone is amazed at the relative passivity of the Iraqi govenment. But you wonder if part of it is that Iraqis were traumatized by Saddam’s massive crimes, and fear becoming like Saddam more than they fear disorder.
This article about Iraqi ambassador to the US Samir Sumaidaie and the petroleum industry in Houston will not get much play in the US press. But in my view, this is what it is all about, folks.
Conflicting reports are still emerging about the poisoning of hundreds of Iraqi policemen at the Numaniyah base. Some Iraqi government sources are saying that it was probably a deliberate poisoning, that some have died, and that 4 mess hall workers have been arrested. The provincial governor of Wasit denies that anyone died and denies that the poisoning was deliberate. There appears to have been a riot among the policemen in protest, during which they stoned the car of their commanding officer. One theory being floated is that the food workers used cheap old meat and skimmed from the quartermaster budget. You wonder if the truth will ever be known. One thing is for sure, the incident is eloquent one way or another of broken institutions.
WaPo says that the US military is playingWhack A Mole in Iraq, and that as they move troops from al-Anbar to Baghdad, the guerrillas are becoming more active in al-Anbar. The article quotes an officer who points out that rotating troops in and out of al-Anbar areas every 45 days is bad counter-insurgency technique. So if they know this, why do they keep doing it?