Two Bombings Kill 36 in N. Iraq Iraq Threatens S. Korea on Oil Exports

Guerrillas in the oil refinery town of Bayji killed at least 26 persons and wounded 80 others with a suicide truck bombing. In Diyala province to the southeast, a suicide bomber killed 10 persons and wounded 5 others in the provincial capital of Baqubah. A day earlier in Diyala Province, gunment kidnapped 14 Shiites from a bus. (Scroll down).

In Hilla on Monday, some 2,000 persons held a rally to protest the appointment of Major General Fadhil Raddad as provincial police chief. His predecessor, Maj. Gen. Qais al-Ma’muri, was blown up on Dec. 9. Al-Ma’umuri had gotten along well with the Sadr Movement and the Mahdi Army. But critics charge that Raddad is a member of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, and obviously fear that he will be less even-handed in dealing with the Mahdi Army. This conflict over the police chief is another manifestation of the competition between ISCI and the Sadrists– a competition which could eventually generate violence.

The Iraqi government is threatening To stop crude oil sales to South Korea, where they account for 5 percent of petroleum imports. The Baghdad government is angry that a Korean firm is in talks with the Kurdistan Regional Government, exploring a bid to do exploration and development in Iraqi Kurdistan without securing permission first from the Federal government.

Conn Hallinan takes issue with the triumphal narrative of the ‘success of the surge’ in the US press, suggesting that the US isn’t that powerful there and still has to deal with warlords with shifting allegiances, and that the Sunni-Shiite civil war is in a lull rather than being over with. The article appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus.

Other political violence on Tuesday, according to Reuters:

‘ MOSUL – The governor of Nineveh Province, Duraid Kashmula, escaped unharmed from a roadside bomb attack near his convoy in the provincial capital Mosul . . . north of Baghdad, Kashmula told Reuters. His driver and one of his guards were wounded in the attack.

BAQUBA – Militants blew up a police station, killing two policemen in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – U.S. forces killed a total of 13 militants and detained 27 others on Monday and Tuesday during operations targeting al-Qaeda in central and northern Iraq, the U.S. military said.

DHULUIYA – Police recovered a body with gunshot wounds from the Tigris river on Monday in Dhuluiya, 70 km (45 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

DHULUIYA – Gunmen kidnapped a man driving a car in eastern Dhuluiya, on Monday, police said. ‘

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