Guerrillas Ambush, Kill 10 US GIs
Over 100 Iraqis Killed or Found Dead
Muqtada condemns Iran for Talking to US
As best I can piece it together, Sunni Arab guerrillas in Iraq ran a sophisticated sting on US troops in Diyala province on Memorial Day, killing 8 GIs. First, they shot down a helicopter with small arms fire. Two servicemen died in the crash. The guerrillas knew that a rescue team would come out to the site. So they planted a roadside bomb that killed the rescuers. And, they knew that yet another rescue team would come out to see what happened to the first. So they planted roadside bombs and destroyed the second team, as well. Altogether 6 rescuers were blown up in this way. The guerrillas run this routine on Iraqi police and troops in the capital all the time. As US troops increasingly take on policing duties, they become vulnerable to the same operations that have wrought such mayhem on Iraqi security forces.
Also in Diyala, 21 bodies were found in the streets of Baquba, the capital of the province, according to Reuters.
Reuters reports that 2 other GIs were killed in a Baghdad roadside bombing. Two other, much bigger blasts then shook the downtown and the southwest, killing 44 persons between them:
‘ BAGHDAD – At least 23 people were killed and 68 others wounded when a powerful bomb in a parked bus exploded in central Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – At least 18 people were killed and 41 wounded when a car bomb exploded in a busy market of a mainly Shi’ite neighbourhood in southwestern Baghdad, police said. ‘
Al-Zaman says that the bombs in the Shiite neighborhood actually targeted a Shiite religious edifice (Husayniya) (in the Amil district) and so was less random than it seems on the surface.
This is the second religious building to be hit in the past two days, with the Sufi shrine of Abdul Qadir Gilani suffering damage on Monday. Every day, Iraq’s landmarks are more pockmarked and less whole, as if a leprosy were eating away at its features.
Al-Zaman also sniffs that this surge business doesn’t seem to be working very well if you can get all this mayhem in a single day still.
Then some other shadowy group ran a sophisticated sting on some high-powered British security guards at the Ministry of Finance (that kind of kidnapping is always in part an inside job– someone at the ministry tipped the 40 gunmen to the presence of Britons in the ministry). I guess I just can’t entirely understand how 40 guerrillas drive around downtown Baghdad, surround government ministries, and kidnap people from them. The Ministry had government police and guards. It just seems to me that this kind of thing cannot happen unless the Iraqi government security forces are in on it or wink at it.
I just want to express my admiration for the thoroughness and even-handedness of this Times of London (via Australian News) article on the kidnapping of the 5 Britons from the Finance Ministry on Tuesday. It is incredible that reporters in Baghdad can still gather news at all, much less this comprehensively.
Over two hundred civilian foreigners have been kidapped in the past 4 years, and over 60 of them were killed. It is my impression that most of those who survived were often secretly ransomed by family members (something the USG discourages because the ransom is essentially a contribution to the guerrilla war effort).
Al-Hayat reports that young Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held a meeting with the governors of the southern, Shiite provinces. He agreed with them to form joint committees made up of Mahdi Army militiamen and police and army troops to prevent clashes between them. Muqtada also rejected the talks held on Monday between the US and Iran, criticizing Tehran for this “Iranian acceptance of an American-British-Jewish Mandate” over Iraq. (He used the word ‘intidab,’ a reference to the colonies or Mandates established by European Powers in the Middle East after they had defeated the Ottoman Empire in WW I. The League of Nations philosophy was that the Europeans should use this opportunity to grow the Middle Easterners up so that they could establish their own governments. The Middle Easterners mostly felt that they didn’t need the help.)
Muqtada said, “It is most regrettable that generally they [the Iranians] are inadvertently or deliberately forgetting, in such negotiations, to demand that the Occupier depart.” He said implicit Iranian acceptance of the Anglo-American-Jewish “mandate” is “completely rejected, and there is no excuse for it at all.” He said that the lack of an official Iraqi government partner in the Iran-US talks denied them “the cover of legitimacy and of Law.” He said that both the people and the religious authority were unhappy with the talks.
The respected editor of the weekly “Hawadith” in Kirkuk was assassinated in that city.
Tom Engelhardt on the mammoth US embassy in Baghdad and its significance.