36 Killed in Iraqi Civil War
Britain may Leave Iraq
British troops could withdraw from Basra by this spring. It is widely felt that the 7200 remaining troops are trapped in the south and probably cannot expect to achieve a great deal more in the way of providing security to the area. Late this coming spring, Prime Minister Tony Blair will step down in favor of his successor, Gordon Brown, who will face the Tories in 2009. Brown will not want the Iraq albatross around his neck.
The Iraqi government will talk to leaders of the Sunni Arab guerrilla movements next week, according to the London Times.
Vice President Dick Cheney will stop in Saudi Arabia Saturday for talks. In conjunction with Bush’s planned meeting with PM Nuri al-Maliki next Thursday in Amman, these movements suggest building momentum for a new direction in Iraq, the contours of which are still unknown.
Guerrillas killed 3 Marines in al-Anbar Province on Wednesday.
Reuters reports that it could identify another 33 of the persons killed in political violence in Iraq on Wednesday. Major incidents:
‘ MOSUL – Police said they recovered 14 bodies, including three women in different areas of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad. (A mostly Sunni Arab area with Kurds and Turkmen in the north). . .
NEAR RAMADI – Police found the bodies of three people near Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – Two roadside bombs exploded in quick succession, wounding two policemen when they went to retrieve the bodies of three people in Haifa street in central Baghdad, police said.
NEAR MUQDADIYA – A car bomb near an Iraqi army checkpoint and an attack by gunmen killed four people . . and wounded three civilians, near the town of Muqdadiya . . .
ISKANDARIYA – A roadside bomb planted near members of the Facility Protection Services (FPS) killed seven and wounded another on Tuesday in Iskandariya, 40 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. . .
BAQUBA – Gunmen attacked a police patrol and killed three policemen in the religiously mixed city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.’
Al-Sharq al-Awsat / Reuters report that Sheikh Harith al-Dhari, leader of the [Sunni] Association of Muslim Scholars, has said that the current Iraqi government is a plot aiming at partition of the country and the purging of the opposition. The ealier summons to al-Dhari for an investigation of his views by an Iraqi court has apparently lapsed in the wake of international outrage.
Iraqi Vice President Tariq Hashimi met Wednesday in Baghdad with Iranian ambassador Hassan Kazemi Qomi. Hashimi: “Tareq al-Hashemi said Iran plays a valuable security role in the region, so we must strengthen our ties with Tehran in all fields.” He also called for closer ties between Iran and Iraq.
Hashimi is a fundamentalist Sunni, and generally his party is suspicious of Iran and Shiite Islam, which predominates in that country. So this lovefest is unexpected. I suspect it is a sign that the Americans do plan to negotiate with Iran about Iraq. Such a plan would require the approval of at least some Sunni Arabs. Hashimi was invited to Iran and says he will go.
President Jalal Talabani, a Kurdish Sunni, will go to Tehran on November 25 for bilateral talks.