Iraqi Guerrillas Kill 4 US GIs
al-Hakim Supports Regional Confederacies
(Don’t miss the second part of my interview with Rajiv Chandrasekaran on Iraq, below.)
The US military announced the deaths of 4 GIs in Iraq on Tuesday. AP reports, “A Baghdad-based soldier died at about 2:15 a.m. (2315 GMT) from wounds received when his patrol was struck by a roadside bomb in central Baghdad, the military said. Earlier, the miltary said a sailor and two Marines were killed during combat in the insurgent stronghold of Anbar province in fighting on Monday.”
Reuters reports on other political violence on Tuesday:
‘ BAGHDAD – A carbomb killed two people and wounded 11 in the Hurriya district of northwestern Baghdad . . .
BAGHDAD – Clashes erupted between gunmen and police in Baghdad’s southern Zaafaraniya district, killing two civilians and wounding eight others . . .
BAGHDAD – A bomb inside an ice-cream shop killed one person and wounded seven others in Baghdad’s central Sadriya district . . .
FALLUJA – U.S. troops pulled over a fire truck and killed four Iraqi firefighters in a case of mistaken identity on Monday after a report that a fire truck had been hijacked in western Falluja . . .
KIRKUK – Two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession in the northern oil city of Kirkuk . . .
KIRKUK – A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi army patrol killed two soldiers and wounded another one in central Kirkuk . . . ‘
The US GI who went missing Monday has still not been found. Al-Hayat is reporting that he is an Iraqi-American. Reuters says: “A U.S. soldier missing on Monday was kidnapped by gunmen while visiting a relative’s house in Baghdad outside the fortified Green Zone compound, the U.S. military said on Tuesday.”
Al-Hayat reports that the US military [Ar.] has launched a major operation to assert itself in downtown Baghdad. The London daily writes that the stated reason for the reoccupation of the area by US troops is their search for the missing US soldier. “But the operation appeared bigger than that by far.”
Iraqi Shiite cleric Abdul Aziz al-Hakim defended provincial confederacies in his sermon on the occasion of the breaking of the Ramadan fast. He is the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and of the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance, the largest bloc in parliament. He led the charge to ram through a law 2 weeks ago permitting the Shiites of the south, after 18 months, to merge their southern provinces into a regional confederacy. He said that opponents of the plan for loose federalism are implicitly supporting a return to a dictatorial central government.
The US ambassador in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, is demanding that the Mahdi Army, loyal to young nationalist Shiite cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr, be disbanded and decommissioned. Al-Sadr appears increasingly to have lost control of the militia, as he has become identified with the mainstream political institutions.
Tom Engelhardt on Bush’s war on images.