Police Chief of Hilla Killed; And, 40 Women Killed in Basra

Guerrillas deployed a roadside bomb to kill the police chief of Hilla, a largely Shiite city south of Baghdad.

AP reports that “Religious vigilantes have killed at least 40 women this year in the southern Iraqi city of Basra because of how they dressed, their mutilated bodies found with notes warning against “violating Islamic teachings . . .”

One of the problems with how the US press tends to cover Iraq is that they often leave out the Shiite south because there are few US troops down there, apparently assuming that it is relatively stable. Not.

Ned Parker of the LA Times writes that Iraq has not been so much pacified as Balkanized. He observes,

In the south, Shiite militias are at war for the lucrative oil resources in the Basra region. To the west, in Anbar province, Sunni tribes that once fought U.S. forces now help police the streets and control the highways to Jordan and Syria. In the north, Arabs, Kurds and Turkmens are locked in a battle for the regions around Kirkuk and Mosul. In Baghdad, blast walls partition neighborhoods policed by Sunni paramilitary groups and Shiite militias. ‘

Iraq is increasingly a failed state, ruled locally by ethnic or sectarian militias . ..

AFP reports on the bitterness of the Iraq Baath over having been fired from their jobs and on how, ironically, they view a proposed new law that would reinstate them as a ‘death sentence.”

The NYT says that ordinary Kurds are caught in the middle of the struggle for the oil province of Kirkuk, which the Kurds in Irbil are eager to annex to the ‘Kurdistan Regional Authority.’

Syria is sinking in a sea of Iraqi refugees. Neither Syria nor the Iraqis have the resources to deal with this problem. The US Congress has a responsibility to help.

Reuters reports civil war violence in Iraq on Sunday. Excerpts:

‘ HILLA – A roadside bomb killed the police chief of Iraq’s Babel province and five of his guards on Sunday, police said.

BAIJI – A suicide car bomb targeted an Iraqi army checkpoint, killing two soldiers and wounding seven others in western Baiji, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, the Iraqi army said.

BAGHDAD – Iraqi soldiers killed nine gunmen and detained 49 others during military operations across Iraq, the Defense Ministry said on Saturday.

BAGHDAD – Three bodies were found in different areas of Baghdad on Saturday, police said. . .’

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