AP reports that US generals in Iraq are talking about the move to northern Iraq of the most violent Sunni religious guerrillas (the US calls them al-Qaeda and some of them style themselves that way, though it is misleading).
The article says that Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling said from a base outside Tikrit north of Baghdad, that 1,830 roadside bombs were placed in his region in June, compared with 900 last month.
900 roadside bombs in one region of Iraq a month doesn’t strike me as something to get all giddy about.
Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, has recovered from cancer and is leaving his treatment, in Iran, to return to Iraq. A leader in a loose sense of the United Iraqi Alliance– the Shiite fundamentalist coalition that is the largest group in parliament. Hakim met with the UN special envoy, Steffan de Mistura to Iraq on Monday.
Speaking of the UN, Mistura said Monday that he would work for better cooperation on Iraq among the country’s neighbors. He’ll have his work cut out for him, Since Cheney has been trying to set the Arabs against the Iranians, apparently unaware that this move might cause a regional proxy war that would endanger the US.
Al-Hakim’s son, Ammar, is profiled by the CSM’s Sam Dagher. Money grafs:
‘ Ammar al-Hakim is presiding over an Iraqi Shiite building boom. His austere Shaheed al-Mihrab Foundation has raised 400 mosques in Iraq since 2003. It’s building the largest seminary here in the holy city of Najaf and opening a chain of schools. And it now has 95 offices throughout the country.
What’s more, Mr. Hakim’s foundation is winning over adherents to his party – the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) – through all-expenses-paid mass marriages along with cash payments and gifts for the newlyweds, free education and stipends at his new schools, and an array of other charitable projects such as caring for orphans and displaced families.
All of this is being done to promote ISCI’s core vision: a federation of nine provinces where conservative Shiite Islam would reign.
While opponents say that such a federation among central and southern provinces would only hasten the breakup of Iraq and create a ministate where Iran would hold great sway, Hakim and his party are making great gains.
For them, the plan would bolster security for Shiites and benefit the stability of the country as a whole. And, most significant, they are winning much support ahead of a national referendum on the issue by April 2008, as prescribed by the Constitution.’
In some provinces, such as Diwaniya, ISCI’s paramilitary, the Badr Corps, forms the backbone of the police. The Diwaniya police have been fighting a fierce battle against the Mahdi Army (JAM) of cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
An official of the Kurdistan Regional Authority in northern Iraq warned that if the Turkish military raids into the region to crack down on the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), the move would destablize northern Iraq.
Reuters reports on civil war violence in Iraq. Major incidents:
‘MOSUL – One policeman was killed and two wounded in a drive-by shooting at a police checkpoint in Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. . .
BAIJI – A parked car bomb wounded five people, including two children, when it exploded near the house of a policeman in the oil refinery city of Baiji, 180 km (110 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
NEAR BAQUBA – Gunmen attacked a police station, killing three policemen in a village north of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – An unspecified number [it is said to be 30-40] of foreign security guards [working for the Dubai-based Almco company] were arrested by Iraqi security forces after a shooting in central Baghdad’s Karrada district, security spokesman Brigadier-General Qassim Moussawi said. A convoy of four four-wheel drives was passing through a square on the edge of Karrada when a woman crossing the road was shot. The guards were arrested at a nearby checkpoint [none was American] . . .
BAGHDAD – Three bodies were found in different areas of Baghdad on Monday, police said.
BAGHDAD – A car bomb wounded five people in the Bayaa district of southwestern Baghdad, police said.
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb wounded two people on Palestine Street in northeastern Baghdad, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – One person was killed and seven were wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near a small bus in Baladiyat district in eastern Baghdad, police said.
SUWAYRA – Police retrieved the bodies of two men bearing signs of torture from the Tigris river on Sunday in the town of Suwayra, south of Baghdad, police said. . .
BASRA – Six members of the same family were killed when a Katyusha rocket hit their house in the oil hub of Basra, 550 km (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, police said. Three of the dead were children. ‘
See John Brown at Tomdispatch.com on how unsuited the Bush administration is to running a foreign empire.
It is a good thing that the State Department will not after all dragoon diplomats into going to Iraq. CG argues that health benefits for diplomats wounded while on duty are inadequate and arbitrarily applied.
Israel is pledging to freeze its settlements on the largely Palestinian West Bank.
At the Napoleon’s Egypt Blog, Bonaparte’s Arabic proclamation to the Egyptians and more accounts of the defeat of the French fleet.