6 US GIs Killed
Sunnis Reject Petroleum Bill
Reuters reports guerrilla violence on Friday. The killing of 6 US GIs was announced. Iraqi security forces in Basra supported by British troops tried to arrest a Mahdi Army commander as he was coming out of a mosque, and killed him and two of his bodyguards. Guerrillas in Baghdad damaged another important bridge.
McClatchy reports that 20 bodies were found in Baghdad on Friday. In addition, “2 civilians were killed and 7 were injured when a mortar shell hit Al Mail neighborhood south west Baghdad . . .” and “1 civilian was killed and 8 wounded when a mortar shell hit Abo Disheer neighborhood south Baghdad . . .” A car bomb in Muqdadiya east of Baquba in Diyala injured 4 policemen and 6 civilians.
Sawt al-Iraq reports in Arabic that member of parliament Husain al-Falluji of the Iraqi Accord Front [Sunni fundamentalist] said Friday that the IAF would never approve the new petroleum law until the constitution is first amended. He said that the party has made a firm decision in this regard.
The Friday prayers sermons, both Shiite and Sunni, complained that the Iraqi government still has no handle on security. Sayyid Husayn al-Safi of Karbala complained that this inability “derives from the [government] not enjoying wide prerogatives in its security missions.” [That is, he is blaming the Americans for not letting al-Maliki do what needs to be done.]
Shaikh Husayn Tu`ayma of the Khalisiya Seminary demanded a timetable for the withdrawal of US troops and their replacement by international forces.
Shaikh Mahmud al-Sumaidaie [Sunni] urged the government to throw its weight behind establishing security, since lack of stability will undermine the government and throw the entire region into turmoil. He said that the government had had difficulty moving forward on this issue because the prerogatives of the American military trumped those of the Iraqi.
Abdullah Gul, the Turkish Foreign Minister, attempted to pull Turkey back from the brink on Friday. After a great deal of saber rattling this week by the prime minister, Tayyip Recep Erdogan and by Turkish generals, Gul said that the government had not asked parliament to authorize a strike into Iraqi Kurdistan. The latter is harboring some 5,000 guerrillas of the violent PPK [Kurdish Workers’ Party], who occasionally blow up things in Turkey [and are suspected in a bombing of downtown Ankara this week). Turkish leaders have increasingly said that they will engage in hot pursuit of Kurdish extremists, over the border into Iraq, if they think it necessary.