Bombs Rip Kadhimiya;
4 US GIs Killed;
Sunni Guerrillas Announce Truce with Each Other
Two coordinated car bombs hit the Shiite Kadhimiya district of north Baghdad on Wednesday. A third bomb was found and disarmed before it could go off. The explosions killed 7 and wounded 27. They took place uncomfortably close to the shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, the 7th Imam or divinely- inspired descendant of the Prophet Muhammad according to the Shiites. We have already seen, with the golden dome in Samarra, how much carnage the bombing of a major shrine can kick off. I just hope someone has put extra security around the shrine in Kadhimiya. Otherwise Front 2 (see above) will get hot. For the combination of Mafia, militia and clerical governance of Kadhimiya, which is in the Sunni area west of the Tigris, is described in detail by the intrepid Ed Wong and Damien Cave of the NYT.
Al-Zaman [The Times of Baghdad] reports in Arabic that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is accusing the Arab capitals of supporting a revolution against him.
McClatchy also reports on the Great Barber Massacre in Basra and environs, where 9 barbers have been assassinated since Sunday. Barbers in Iraq have attracted the ire of Muslim fundamentalists, who maintain that believing men must wear beards and that a morals police should enforce this divine decree. (In fact, the Qur’an prescribes no set appearance for men.)
The US military announced Wednesday that Iraqi guerrillas had killed 4 US GIs. 2 were killed in Diyala and one in Beiji north of Baghdad, all three by Sunni Arabs. The fourth was hit by a roadside bomb in Shiite Sadr City, so a radical faction of the Mahdi Army may be responsible there.
Two Salafi Sunni Arab groups, the Army of Islam and the Islamic State of Iraq, have been feuding and clashing in recent weeks, much to the delight of the US. They announced on Wednesday, however, that they had concluded a formal truce among themselves. This rapprochement suggests how dangerous it is for the US to depend on Sunni Arabs fighting each other; their faction-fighting is often temporary and does not amount to all that much.
Iraqi oil workers in the southern port city of Basra have gone on strike to protest provisions in the petroleum bill before parliament that may encourage the privatization of the state-owned Iraqi petroleum company and may give too much power and concessions away to Western Big Oil. On Wednesday, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sent the Iraqi military in to arrest striking oil workers. Al-Maliki has not deployed the army effectively against armed guerrillas. But against unarmed oil workers? Sure!