Sunni Minister Arrested for Alleged Hit;
Khamenei Pledges Security Cooperation to Talabani
Iraqi troops sought on Tuesday to arrest a serving cabinet minister in the Iraqi government on charges of having ordered a hit on a sitting parliamentarian! Culture Minister As`ad Kamal al-Hashimi was fingered by two guerrillas in US captivity as the one who ordered them to attempt to kill Mithal al-Alusi and his two sons (he escaped; his sons died). The Sunni Arab Iraqi Accord Front rallied to al-Hashimi’s defense, and he denied the charges in a telephone interview on Aljazeera. Al-Hayat reports that al-Hashimi was later arrested by Iraqi security forces while attempting to flee the country.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat reports in Arabic that Adnan Dulaymi’s Congress of the Iraqi People, a Sunni fundamentalist party that forms part of the Iraqi Accord Front, issued a statement warning “the government vehemently against the stupidity of playing with fire in continuing the policy of lying so as to marginalize Sunni officials and politicians.” It further “threatens to expose the high officials, ministers and members of parliament, even Shiite religious authorities, who are involved in crimes of extermination, including killings, kidnappings, and ethnic cleansings of Sunnis.” The party said it had documentary proof of these crimes and would not stand with folded hands as sectarian measures were taken by the government.
Remember that plan floated yesterday to make a “moderate” coalition of Da`wa, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the Kurdistan Alliance, and the Sunni bloc? I don’t think that is very likely at this point.
21 bodies were found in the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday, and there were scattered assassinations and bombings. Reuters adds, “Clashes between insurgents and police left one policemen dead and three wounded in the town of Madaen, just south of Baghdad, police said.”
McClatchy on the death of a tribal sheikh who sought an alliance with the United States against the Salafi Jihadis.
Key Republican senators are losing patience with the “surge” and urging an accelerated US exit on Bush. They are calling it “Plan E.”
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is in Tehran for talks with Iranian leaders. Supreme Jurisprudent Ali Khamenei implausibly blamed the US for all Iraq’s problems, posing as a guarantor of stability. The Iranian Mehr News Agency reports:
‘ Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei told Iraqi President Jalal Talabani here on Tuesday that Iran is ready to provide any kind of assistance to the Iraqi government to help it establish security.
“The Americans oppose the development of relations between Iran and Iraq and are trying to disrupt them,” Ayatollah Khamenei added. However, Iran and Iraq should “stand against” this move, he advised.
He said it is absolutely necessary to reinforce unity among the Iraqi people, especially among the country’s political and cultural elites.
The intelligence services of the U.S., the Zionist regime, and certain other countries that are allied with them are the main culprits behind the security problems and crimes in Iraq, the Leader stated. . .
Talabani said Iraq believes the expansion of relations with Iran is a necessity and will pursue the matter very seriously, despite the opposition of the enemies. And Iraq will not halt its efforts to expand relations with Iran under foreign pressure, the Iraqi president added. . . ‘
Did Talabani just call the Bush administration, which opposes close ties between Iraq and Iran, an “enemy”?
Iraqis used to love fried river fish, but are afraid to eat anything caught in the Tigris nowadays, since there are so many dead bodies floating in the river.