Bombings were back on the front page in Iraq on Saturday, with significant attacks carried out on Thursday evening and Friday.
At Muqdadiya in Diyala province, a female suicide bomber blew up a meeting of the local ‘Awakening Council’ or tribal levies willing to ally with the Americans against the radical Islamic State of Iraq. She killed at least 16 and wounded 27. Leila Fadel at McClatchy says she was aggrieved mother whose son fought on behalf of the Islamic State of Iraq and who had been killed by tribesmen of the Awakening Council (actually this council appears to have been members of the 1920 Revolution Brigade, a Sunni Muslim guerrilla group that has targeted US troops).
At al-Mansuriya, also in Diyala, a bit later on Friday, a car bomber drove into a military checkpoint, killing 10 persons and wounding 8. Among the wounded were soldiers and members of a local Awakening Group.
On Thursday evening guerrillas in Mosul had killed an Awakening leader, Jabir Jarba, and five of his subordinates with gunfire.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a fundamentalist Shiite, dislikes the Sunni Awakening Councils, which have for the most part not shown themelves willing to ally with the new government. This according to Leila Fadel at McClatchy. She says the PM is actively putting roadblocks before the power and influence of the tribal levies in some areas of west Baghdad.
Among the more important Sunni Arab guerrilla groups still fighting the US is the neo-Baathists around Izzat Ibrahim Duri. The NYT reports,
‘ Elsewhere, the Iraqi police near Mr. Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit said they raided a hide-out that belonged to Mr. Hussein’s former vice president, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, who has eluded capture for nearly five years. Documents retrieved during the raid indicated that Mr. Douri had been there recently, the police said. The documents detailed ties to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, a predominantly Iraqi group that American intelligence says has foreign leadership. They also laid out Iraqi police targets and included the blueprints of Iraqi military bases, the police said. The authorities said they also found the attack plan for a Mosul jailbreak that occurred in May, when five prisoners accused of terrorism escaped and two guards were killed. Weapons, including mortars, were also found. Mr. Douri sits at the top of the Iraqi government’s most-wanted list, and is accused by Washington of heading and financing terrorist operations here.
Duri’s organization is one reason it was wrong all along to blame most of the political violence in Iraq on the Salafi Jihadis (or what the Bush administration insists on calling ‘al-Qaeda’). Ex-Baathi and Baathi nationalists make up a good deal of the guerrilla movement. They sometimes cooperate with the Salafi Jihadis, but they are a different kettle of fish.
The State Department inspector general
for Iraq has resigned. He was accused of blocking investigations of sweetheart contracts given to security and other firms.
See Farideh Farhi’s further essay on reading the US National Intelligence Estimate in Iran. Philip Cunningham at the same site contemplates contemporary China.
At the Napoleon’s Egypt blog, a whole slew of fascinating new letters by officers on the ground there.
The most recent three essays, on Iran and proliferation at Tomdispatch.com. They were very influential for me.