Bombings in Sadr City, Kirkuk– Dozens Dead
Al-Hakim Criticizes Bush on Irbil Raid
Militiamen in Basra used a roadside bomb to kill two Coalition, probably British troops. Reuters reports other political violence.
Shiite cleric and leader of the United Iraqi Alliance in parliament, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim condemned the US raid on an Iranian consulate (the application paperwork had been filed with Kurdistan authorities). He complained that it was an affront to Iraqi sovereignty and expressed the wish that it not happen again. The US had also arrested Iranians in a raid on al-Hakim’s own compound. Al-Hakim had been feted at the White House in early December and is among Bush’s major allies in Iraq, but obviously he is playing both ends against the middle with his Iranian connections alongside his American ones.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports in Arabic on an interview with old-time Sunni Arab nationalist politician Adnan Pachachi from Abu Dhabi. The old-time politician argued that US troops should be replaced by an Arab and Islamic force under UN military control, since the Americans are an occupation force and the Sunni Arab guerrillas will never accept them. Pachachi also urged that a new government be formed around Nuri al-Maliki.
In the US, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton criticized Bush’s “surge” strategy of escalating the war, and called for a cap on the number of US troops in Iraq.