Attacks Increase in Iraq Militants Recruit Displaced Young Men

The number of attacks in Iraq has increased in recent days, frustrating US military commanders who were hoping a corner had been turned and that violence would steadily be reduced. See below for Wednesday’s violence.

Internally displaced Iraqis are finding it increasingly difficult to settle in another province, since provincial authorities do not want the financial burden of caring for them. The BBC quotes veteran Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul Ahad as warning that the displaced are a fertile recruiting pool for the guerrilla groups. “The insurgents in west Baghdad tell me that the hardest fighters are the Sunnis who have been kicked out of their homes by the Shia,” Mr Abdul Ahad told the BBC.

The US State Department is considering banning the use of private security guards in Iraq, though one scheme would involve just hiring the guards as US government employees. The privatization of war fighting, a major step back to the 18th century favored by the Bush administration as a way of throwing money to its friends, has the disadvantage of roiling diplomatic relations.

The US Marine Corps is lobbying to be redeployed from Iraq to Afghanistan. They feel that they could provide the bulk of the forces needed in the latter country, allowing a more unified command structure. They probably also feel that the Afghanistan enterprise might just have a future.

Prominent military analyst Anthony Cordesmann is warning against even a soft partition of Iraq, on the grounds that it would weaken the federal government and set the stage for a bloodbath. (See next entry for Iraqi reactions).

Barack Obama is denouncing the Senate vote in favor of the Kyl-Lieberman resolution condemning Iran, saying that it could lay the groundwork for Bush-Cheney to take the US to war against that country. He is critical of Hillary Clinton for voting for it.

Reuters reports civil war violence for Wednesday. Major incidents:

‘ TIKRIT – Six people were killed and 10 wounded when a car bomb exploded near the convoy of Colonel Jassim Hussein Mohammed, the chief of security of Salahuddin province, in the city of Tikrit, 175 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, a joint U.S. and Iraqi security centre said.

ZAAB – A suicide truck bomber killed one Iraqi soldier and wounded five others, including two civilians, in an attack on an Iraqi army base in the town of Zaab, 70 km (45 miles) southwest of Kirkuk, a police official said. Another police official reported seven casualties but no fatalities.

TAL AFAR – A Katyusha rocket landed on a house in the northern town of Tal Afar, killing five members of the same family and wounding five others, police said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb targeting a U.S. patrol wounded three civilians in the Karrada district of central Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol wounded two policemen and two civilians in eastern Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – Gunmen opened fire on a minibus, killing one person and wounding six, in the Saidiya district of southern Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb wounded two people in Baghdad’s Karrada district, police said.

BAGHDAD – One civilian was killed and six wounded by a roadside bomb targeting a U.S. patrol in Baghdad’s Karrada district, police said.

BAGHDAD – One person was killed and five wounded when gunmen attacked a small bus carrying civil servants in the Bayaa district of southwestern Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and another person were killed when an explosives-rigged minibus targeted a KDP office near the city of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, Mosul’s deputy governor Khesro Goran said. Sixteen people were wounded.

DIWANIYA – Gunmen killed two policemen in separate incidents in the city of Diwaniya, 180 km (110 miles) south of Baghdad, police said.

DIWANIYA – Three mortar rounds which landed in and around a girls’ primary school in Diwaniya wounded 11 girls, three teachers and a man, police said.

At our Global Affairs blog, “Burma Fades from View.”

At the Napoleon’s Egypt blog, a letter from the Eastern Orthodox patriarch of Constantinople [Istanbul] condemning the French invasion of Egypt, which had been a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans allied with the Eastern Orthodox Russian Empire in a bid to gather the allies necessary to expel the French. This letter underlines how the French invasion was not a ‘clash of civilizations,’ since the French typically condemned Christianity and a major Christian leader condemned their invasion of a largely Muslim country.

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