80 Dead In Kirkuk Bombings Lat Reports

Dozens Massacred in Diyala
80 Dead in Kirkuk Bombings

Sunni Arab gunmen massacred dozens of Shiite villagers near Muqdadiya in Diyala province the night of Monday into Tuesday morning, according to a police source. Also on Tuesday, “In Baghdad, the deadliest bombing occurred when a suicide driver detonated his vehicle near an Iraqi army patrol in Zayouna, a mostly Shiite area of eastern Baghdad, killing 10 people, including six civilians, police said. Police said 11 people, including seven civilians, were wounded.”

The LAT reports on the three bombings that roiled the northern city of Kirkuk on Monday and which its interviewees blamed on “al-Qaeda.”

I am horrified at the loss of innocent life, and hate to see the incident used for politics. I would be very suspicious of assigning blame to “al-Qaeda” for this one. The bombs hit the party offices of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan in Kirkuk as well as (Kurdish) policemen. The Kurds are trying to annex oil-rich Kirkuk province to their Kurdistan provincial confederacy. Turkmen and Arabs do not want to be annexed. Turkey does not want to see it annexed.

There are lots of social forces that would like to hit the PUK over this issue, not just “al-Qaeda.” The Kurds know that blaming the bombing on that organization (does anyone in Iraq really have Bin Laden`s phone number?) will gain them the sympathy of clueless Americans for their planned annexation. Everyone in the US now complains about the way we were spun by corrupt financier Ahmad Chalabi. But it is seldom appreciated how much Kurdish leaders like Jalal Talabani and Hoshyar Zebari were involved in feeding the US loads of bull about Iraq. Their ultimate goal is partition of the country, and they are manipulating Washington toward that end.

Kirkuk has been growing in instability for some time. It will be even hotter later this year when there is a referendum on its future, which the Kurds will win. This bombing is the writing on the wall.

Altogether on Monday alone some 96 were killed and 205 wounded the bombings and mortar attacks in Kirkuk and Baghdad.

The Sadr Bloc, with 32 seats in the 275 seat parliament will end its boycott of parliamentary sessions, a spokesman said. But since the Sadrists oppose most of Bush`s “benchmark” legislation, their return does not materially enhance the prospect of parliament getting something done soon. And, anyway, I understood that the MPs will go on recess for August.

The Sunni Arab bloc is still boycotting parliament over the dismissal of Mahmud al-Mashhadani (a Sunni) as speaker of the house.

KBR, formerly a division of Halliburton, has received $20 bn. in mostly no-bid US government contracts for work in Iraq. Dick Cheney is the former head of Halliburton. Recently KBR tried to charge $110 mn for work on bases that no longer exist.

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