Bombings Kill 54 Downtown Baghdad

Bombings Kill 54 Downtown Baghdad
Saudi Clerics Mobilize against Shiites

Guerrillas detonated two enormous bombs at Tayaran Square in central Baghdad, killing 54 persons and wounding 106. The bombers targeted day laborers who had gathered looking for work.

Those at the Pentagon who want to tackle unemployment and the bad economy have it backwards. First you need security. Then you can have a growing economy.

Guerrillas killed three more US GIs. A hard landing of a US military helicopter wounded 18, 9 of them lightly.

Reuters reports political violence on Monday. Some 78 deaths were identified by news organizations, out of the probably 500 killed around the country. Major incidents included:

‘ BAGHDAD – Five people were killed and at least seven wounded when mortar rounds landed on a restaurant in Dora in southern Baghdad . . .

BAGHDAD – Gunmen wearing Iraqi army uniforms ambushed a security vehicle and stole $1 million in cash, police and Interior Ministry sources said. Four private security guards were kidnapped in the daylight robbery. . .

BAGHDAD – A car bomb exploded in a parking lot of Mahmoun University in Baghdad, killing one person and wounding four others, including two policemen. . .

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb went off in Palestine Street in western Baghdad, killing one person and wounding six, police said. . .

BALAD – Eight farmers were kidnapped on the road between Dujail and Tikrit north of Baghdad . . .

NEAR BAQUBA – Gunmen opened fire at a family, killing three of its members and wounding three others while driving near Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. . .

MOSUL – Gunmen killed four brothers driving in their car in Mosul, police said. . . . ‘

Saudi clerics have called for Sunnis worldwide to mobilize against Iraqi Shiites.

Reuters reports that sectarian violence in Iraq has raised Sunni-Shiite tensions in Lebanon.

Children in Iraq are suffering horribly from the ongoing civil war.

Bush met Monday with Neoconservative Elliot Cohen and a handful of retired generals who oppose any reduction in US troop levels in Iraq. Giving this small random group a high-profile hearing contradicts the basic principle that when someone gets you into a mess, you stop following their advice.

Iraqi political leaders are trying to find a way to isolate Muqtada al-Sadr in parliament, according to NYT.

Mark Danner writing for NYRB reviews the sad story of how it all went wrong in Iraq. He is very clear on the unresolved question of how the Iraqi army got dissolved and deep debaathification was pursued. Then secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld denied having made the decision. Danner thinks it came from Paul Wolfowitz or Douglas Feith, the number 2 and 3 men at the Department of Defense at that time. Given the tight links between Feith and the Israeli Likud Party and the Israeli military, one has to wonder whether the Israeli Right had input into these fateful decisions, which have the lives of nearly 3000 GIs and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. The role of the American Enterprise Institute and the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, both of them Neocon Central, would also bear looking into. Certainly, the decisions were not in the interest of the United States.

Former British defense secretary Geoffrey Hoon says that he and Tony Blair weighed in against dissolving the Iraqi Army and deep debaathification. He should please be more specific about with whom he was arguing.

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