Sadrist Deputy Health Minister Arrested
Day of Carnage with Over 100 killed.
AP reports that the Sadrist deputy Health Minister, Hakim al-Zamili, detained on Thursday was handcuffed by US troops accompanying a Special Operations unit of the Iraqi army that was vetted by the US. When the Sadr Movement joined the Shiite coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance, in fall of 2005, it was clear that they would get seats in parliament (they have 32) and cabinet posts. They preferred the “service” ministries, such as health, so that they could get street credit for government clinics and other good works. It is alleged that the Sadrists have used their control of the Ministry of Health to further the activities of their Mahdi Army militia, and that al-Zamili was a major figure in this activity.
AP also says that 4 Marines were reported killed in al-Anbar Province, and that 104 Iraqis were killed in political violence on Thursday.
Reuters reports political violence in Iraq on Thursday. 16 bodies were found in the norther city of Mosul. Another 20 were found in Baghdad.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that a guerrilla with huge car bomb in the southern Shiite city of Kut killed 20 persons and wounded at least 45.
Al-Hayat also says that US officers met on Thursday with clan elders and Sadrist leaders in largely Shiite Sadr City [East Baghdad]in an attempt to find a way for the extra US troops to enter Sadr City peacefully. The US rejected the suggested that popular committees participate in sweeps and arrests. The talks were aimed at defusing tensions between the Mahdi Army and the US military and avoiding a confrontation.
The deputy governor (Ibrahim Hasan) of Diyala province to the east and northeast of Baghdad admitted that Sunni Arab religious radicals were in control of many of the province’s cities and towns, and that the Iraqi government has almost no presence in the cities of Baquba and Muqdadiyah. He said that the security situation was very bad, and called on American and Iraqi military forces to intervene immediately to save the people from ethnic cleansing operations. He is said to want Diyala province added into the new security plan (which concentrates on Baghdad and al-Anbar province.
The Provincial Council had fired the old governor of Diyala and expelled 1500 policemen and army soldiers after gunmen from “al-Qaeda” occupied the governor’s mansion.
Tom Engelhardt weighs in with a warning on the building conflict between the US and Iran.
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