Baquba Raid Roils Sunni-Shiite Relations; Al-Maliki to Disband Awakening Councils

The raid by a special forces operation on the governor’s HQ in Diyala province is being denounced as a rogue operation by the US military. Sunni figures have recently been targeted, raising suspicions that the Badr Corps paramilitary of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq was cleaning house, and suspected someone in the provincial government of having links to the Sunni Arab guerrilla movement.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that PM Nuri al-Maliki’s office is denying that there is any special forces unit reporting directly to the prime minister. Sunni parties, including the Iraqi Islamic Party [Muslim Brotherhood] of Iraqi vice president Tariq al-Hashimi raised suspicions that the raid on the governor’s office in Baquba was al-Maliki’s direct responsibility. Al-Maliki’s spokesman admitted that there was a special unit dedicated to fighting terrorism, but said its line of command was within the regular military. Meanwhile, the ministry of defense insisted that the “Good Omens” military campaign of the Iraqi army against guerrilla groups in Diyala province would continue unabated and had scored successes.

Ibrahim Hasan Bajlan, the head of the Diyala provincial council, said that the raid on the governor’s mansion, the killing of his secretary, and the arrest of a council member constituted an infringement against the legal legitimacy of the elected council.

Sam Parker of USIP guest blogs on what he thinks is really going on in Baquba. A conflict between the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (dominant Shiite fundamentalist party) and the Sunni Awakening Councils is part of it, he argues.

Qasim Ata, spokesman for the “Imposition of the Law” campaign in Baghdad, said Wednesday that Muthanna, the younger son of Adnan Dulaimi, a leader of the Sunni fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front, had been arrested for involvement in murders and the ethnic cleansing of the al-Adl district of central Baghdad (i.e. of expelling Shiites from it).The Iraqi Accord Front said that the arrest threatened ethnic reconciliation efforts. Qasim said that the security forces making the arrest had done so on the basis of intelligence, and had not realized that the arrestee was Dulaimi’s son.

McClatchy reports that the al-Maliki government is determined to disband the Sunni Arab Awakening Councils by November, and plans to arrest those who decline to give up their arms. The al-Maliki government views the councils as seedy guerrilla elements that must not be allowed to remained armed and cannot be trusted to join Iraqi security forces. The US created and pays for these Sunni Arab militias, which it used against the Qutbist vigilantes (radical fundamentalists). Some think that Iraq has another civil war in the offing.

The LAT looks at how female suicide bombers are recruited by the fundamentalist radicals.

The FT argues that Iraqi political divisions are preventing the oil industry there from getting back on track.

In contrast, Iraqi officials say that the global oil majors are greedy and are contributing to a humanitarian crisis with their unreasonable demands.

Lebanese PM Fuad Siniora visited Baghdad and got a favorable deal on Iraqi oil.

NYC has to pay $2 mn. for falsely arresting antiwar activists in spring of 2003, though the deal does not provide for any admission of guilt by city officials.

Posted in Uncategorized | No Responses | Print |