Kissinger Says no Victory Possible;
Bombings in Baghdad, Hilla Kill 74;
Chaos in Baquba
Bush’s visit to Indonesia, the most populous Muslim country, has elicited protests. In 2000, 75 percent of Indonesians thought well of the United States. Now, only 30% do, according to polling.
Henry Kissinger now thinks the Iraq War is unwinnable and that the goal of a stable democratic pro-American state is unlikely to be achieved.
A Pentagon review sees three options in Iraq— Go big, go long and go home. The generals seem to favor a combination of the first (increasing troop levels temporarily) and second (getting down to 60,000 US troops but stepping up the training of the Iraqi army). I’d suggest instead a phased withdrawal in a relatively short time frame. A long-term presence of 60,000 US troops just provokes Iraqis and inflames the situation.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that Syria’s foreign minister, visiting Baghdad, called for the US to set a timetable for withdrawal of its troops from Iraq. He discussed with Hoshyar Zebari, his counterpart, the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Syria and Iraq, which were cut off in 1982.
Guerrillas kidnapped Iraq’s deputy minister of Health on Sunday. The Ministry of Health is a Sadrist stronghold, with many employees following young Shiite nationalist cleric, Muqtada al-Sadr.
Guerrillas opened fire on season workers returning to Baghdad from orchards in the east of Baquba, killing 8.
Authorities said that on Saturday guerrillas had attacked a police checkpoint (killing two policemen and wounding two others) and opened fire on residents after pulling them from their homes or automobiles.
Police had declared a one-day curfew after attacks in the city on Saturday, but guerrillas still controlled several city quarters.
The police said that in a separate incident, guerrillas loyal to Muqtada al-Sadr set fire to numerous shops in the market in revenge for attacks on their own offices in the city.
On Sunday morning the curfew was lifted but the main street was closed off. The guerrillas still had 4 districts, and they attacked another police checkpoint.
Al-Zaman’s correspondent says that Baquba is living through a parlous security situation. Police patrols disappear from the principal streets early in the day and various armed groups thereafter have enormous sway. A policeman who declined to be named said that no day passes but dozens of persons are killed, whether from gunfire, bombs, or being assassinated. This has been going on for months.
Note that no newspaper or wire service is reporting “dozens” of daily deaths in Baquba. That so many are being missed lends credence to the higher estimates for deaths of the Lancet study.
There were several assassinations in Fallujah, including one attributed to a Marine sniper.
Guerrillas in Basra fired a katyusha rocket at a residence in the southern Abi al-Khasib section of Basra next to al-Jahiz School.
Baghdad and Hilla were hit by a wave of suicide bombings that left at least 74 dead and dozens others wounded.
Iraqi authorities said that bombers detonated three car bombs in Mashtal in the southeast of Baghdad, killing at least 10 and wounding 54. The toll will likely rise.
Another bomb in southeast Baghdad aimed at a police patrol killed 3 civilians and wounded 3 policemen.
Guerrillas kidnapped a judge, Muzaffar al-Ubaidi, from his home in al-Khadra, West Baghdad.
Reuters reports that on Sunday:
‘ HILLA – At least 17 [al-Zaman says 22] people were killed and 49 wounded when a suicide bomber exploded his vehicle among day labourers waiting to be hired in Hilla, 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb wounded six people in Baghdad’s southern Saidiya district, an Interior Ministry source said. ‘
Al-Hayat says that a Sunni Arab guerrilla cell claimed that it carried out the Hilla bombing in revenge for the kidnapping last Tuesday of Sunni employees from the ministry of higher education.