The detention by US troops of the bodyguards and son of Adnan Dulaimi, the leader of the largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament on Thursday night has now led to a walk-out of the 44 members of the Iraqi Accord Front. MP Abdul Karim Samarraie said that he attempted to go to Dulaimi’s house, but was prevented from seeing him. Dulaimi maintains that he is under house arrest. The IAF deputies, representing Sunni fundamentalist currents, then walked out of parliament, saying they’ll come back when Dulaimi is at liberty to attend. The Sunni Arab speaker of the House, Mahmoud al-Mashhadani, joined those who departed. Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that al-Mashhadani objected that US officers in Iraq do not have the prerogative of arresting a member of parliament without being ordered to do so by the Iraqi prime minister. (Parliamentarians have diplomatic immunity unless shown to have committed crimes).
Among Bush’s benchmarks for the Iraqi government had been reconciliation between Shiites and Sunnis. Since that benchmark was announced, the Sunni Arab parties in parliament have withdrawn from the government of PM Nuri al-Maliki (a Shiite from the fundamentalist Da’wa Party). And for the moment, at least, they are now boycotting parliament itself. Iraq’s government has long been collapsing in slow time.
Leila Fadel reports for McClatchy that Prime Minister al-Maliki is also worried about the US program of hiring and arming Iraqi Sunnis to fight radical Sunni Muslims (Salafi Jihadis), fearing that ultimately these Sunni Awakening Councils will become well armed and trained militias in their own right, which might attack or obstruct the Shiite government. Already in the mixed Diyala province, the tactic has not worked as well as in almost The entirely Sunni al-Anbar Province.
Al-Hayat also reports that the Secretary General of the Association of Muslim Scholars, Harith al-Dhari, has addressed a letter to the tribal sheikhs warning them against responding to American overtures. His letter likens the Americans to Satan in the garden of Eden, tempting Adam by pretending to be his friend. Al-Dhari, against whom a warrant has been issued for inciting violence, lives abroad, in Amman and Cairo. He opposes the Islamic State of Iraq and all groups styling themselves “al-Qaeda” in Iraq, but also opposes the US occupation.
Meanwhile, the Turkish military launched air strikes and artillery barrages against positions of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group in eastern Anatolia. The Turkish government said it also pounded PKK positions inside Iraqi Kurdistan. Al-Hayat, writing in Arabic, went so far as to say that Turkish special operations forces, supported by helicopters, actually got their boots on the ground in Iraq. The PKK denied it, but since the incursion makes the terror group look weak, it would have a motive for lying.
The Sunni extremist Islamic State of Iraq organization in Diyala Province attacked a Shiite village northeast of Baghdad and killed 13 civilians, also setting houses afire. Diyala is the site of an uncoventional civil war between Sunnis and Shiites; Kurdish expansionists also have an eye on some of Diyala’s territory.
Damien Cave of the NYT reports from Baghdad that Iraq is among the 3 most corrupt societies on earth, with large-scale theft of public property, graft and bribery a daily fact of life. He writes:
‘ “Everyone is stealing from the state,” said Adel Adel al-Subihawi, a prominent Shiite tribal leader in Sadr City, throwing up his hands in disgust. “It’s a very large meal, and everyone wants to eat.” . . . there is a growing sense that, even as security has improved, Iraq has slipped to new depths of lawlessness.
And the extent of the theft is staggering. Some American officials estimate that as much as a third of what they spend on Iraqi contracts and grants ends up unaccounted for or stolen, with a portion going to Shiite or Sunni militias. In addition, Iraq’s top anticorruption official estimated this fall — before resigning and fleeing the country after 31 of his agency’s employees were killed over a three-year period — that $18 billion in Iraqi government money had been lost to various stealing schemes since 2004. ‘
Reuters reports political violence on Saturday. Major incidents:
‘ BAGHDAD – One U.S. soldier was killed and three wounded when a roadside bomb exploded near their patrol in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said.
BAGHDAD – Five bodies were found in different areas of Baghdad on Saturday, police said. . .
BAGHDAD – A bomb left in a taxi wounded the driver and another person in the New Baghdad district of the capital, police said.
BAGHDAD – A roadside bomb wounded three police commandos when it targeted their patrol in the Shaab district of northern Baghdad, police said. . .
MOSUL – Gunmen killed a policeman in front of his house in eastern Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.
MOSUL – Three bodies were found in different areas of Mosul, police said.
GHALBIYA – Four tribal sheikhs were wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Ghalbiya near Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said. The attack targeted the convoy of the Khalis police chief but he was unhurt. . .
BAQUBA – One U.S. soldier was killed by a roadside bomb which struck his patrol near the city of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, on Friday, the U.S. military said.
SALMAN PAK – A suicide attack killed one civilian and wounded five others in Salman Pak, 45 km (25 miles) south of Baghdad, police said . . . ‘