Alan Greenspan confirms that he urged the Bush administration to take out Saddam on grounds of petroleum security for the US, and says one official told him, ‘unfortunately we can’t talk about oil.’ Long-time readers know that I think restructuring the architecture of US energy security was among the major motives for the Iraq War. This thesis does not contradict the Mearsheimer-Walt theory that the Israel lobby and Israeli security formed a major impetus to the war, since US and Israeli interests in energy security overlap. It is just circumstantial, but I see a nexus in the American Enterprise Institute of Exxon-Mobil money and former officials and Neoconservative intellectuals, both with the ear of Dick Cheney.
A lot of violence was reported around in Iraq on Sunday in the wire services. It is worth going and looking at the Reuters and McClatchy roundups, just so that one is not lulled into thinking that the security situation is all cleared up. This is still a no man’s land, with guerrilla hijacking vehicles with people still in them (a child was kidnapped this way in Kirkuk), with bombs and mortars going off, and with vicious firefights between private armies, all with overtones of a set of creeping ethnic civil wars. Although some reports talked of 30 killed, I count many nearly twice that, and of course only a fraction of deaths are reported.
‘ – 5 civilians killed and 22 injured in a café in the centre of the town of Tuz Khurmatu, to the south of Kirkuk as a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest detonated himself at 11:15 this morning. The suicide bomber was riding a bicycle and detonated as he reached the café; the numbers given are a primary estimation. The explosion also caused the destruction of nearby houses and shops. . .
Security personnel of a Convoy Escort Team of a Private Security Company [working for the US State Department] opened fire, killing 9 civilians and injuring 15 in Nisoor Sq, central Baghdad, at 12:30 this afternoon, said Iraqi Police. . .
Reuters reports more civil war violence in Iraq for Sunday. I see patterns here. There were two major attacks in Diyala northeast of Baghdad, one killing 14 and wounding 7, and the kidnapping of 8 persons in an ambulance hijacking in the provincial capital. In the Sunni Arab center of Samarra there was a mortar attack with casualties. There were several major bombings in Sunni Arab parts of Baghdad itself, and two district council members were assassinated, surely a sign that someone is attempting to displace municipal leaders. Some sort of major altercation broke out between a US private security company and guerrillas in the capital. In the north, there were bombings in Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmato and Tal Afar, and a Kurdish fundamentalist preacher was killed in largely Sunni Arab Mosul. Underneath these details, you can see the slow war for control of Baghdad between Shiite Arab and Sunni Arab guerrillas unfold, with the US forces largely irrelevant to it (the Shiites are winning the capital). You can see Sunni-Shiite or Sunni-Sunni violence an hour and a half northeast of the capital in Diyala province. Then in the north the ethnic battle for Kirkuk and its hinterlands continues. You can see ethnic and political violence in the north, with Kurds killed in four cities, probably by guerrillas of other ethnicities. Details:
‘ MUQDADIYA – Suspected al Qaeda in Iraq militants killed 14 people and wounded seven in the predominantly Sunni Arab town of Muqdadiya [Diyala Province], 90 km (50 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. . .
BAQUBA – Gunmen hijacked an ambulance carrying eight people in the city of Baquba [Diyala], 65 km (40 miles) north[east] of Baghdad, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – Twelve bodies were found in various parts of Baghdad in the past 24 hours, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – A car bomb killed five people and wounded six in Mansour district in western Baghdad, police said. A separate roadside bomb killed one person and wounded two, also in Mansour, police said. .
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded three in al-Harthiya district of western Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – Gunmen killed a member of the Municipality of Bayaa district of southern Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – Gunmen killed a member of the Municipality of Doura district of southern Baghdad, a hospital source said. . .
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb killed one person and wounded two near al-Shaab National Stadium in central Baghdad, police said. . . .
KIRKUK – A roadside bomb exploded near the convoy of a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK), wounding a guard and a pedestrian in the city of Kirkuk, police said. . .
MOSUL – A Sunni mosque preacher who belonged to the Kurdish Islamic Union was shot dead in northwestern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
[Tal Afar] – At least two policemen were wounded by a roadside bomb in the centre of the town of Tal Afar, 420 km (260 miles) northwest of Baghdad, police said.
SAMARRA – Several mortar rounds landed in a residential district, killing two people, including a child, and wounded four on Saturday night in the city of Samarra, 100 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. . .
NEAR HILLA – Shi’ite militias attacked a Shi’ite tribe, killing two men and wounding three in a town near the city of Hilla, 100 km (60 miles) south of Baghdad, police said. . .
At the Global Affairs group blog: Farideh Farhi on willingness to compromise on Iran’s part and Gershon Shafir on Israeli PM Olmert’s unwillingness to compromise and Mahmoud Abbas’s fatal weakness.
At the Napoleon’s Egypt blog: an account of the naval defeat inflicted on the French by the British.