Strange things happen in Iraq. On Tuesday, an unidentified Iraqi government security force, or at least people wearing such uniforms, attacked the Diyala provincial governor’s headquarters, killed his secretary, and arrested a member of the Diyala Provincial Assembly. The local police fought back, and four were wounded. The attacking unit is said to be a special forces group that typically works closely with the US Army. One suspects that al-Maliki decided that some guerrilla activities are being run out of the governor’s office.
The US denies knowing anything about it all. And al-Maliki has ordered an investigation (doesn’t he know what his own troops are up to?)
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora is visiting Baghdad. Seniora will seek Iraqi petroleum for Lebanon at discounted prices. Behind the scenes, look for him to seek help from PM Nuri al-Maliki in dealing with the Shiite Hizbullah in Lebanon. Al-Maliki’s Da’wa Party was important in forming Hizbullah and still has political contacts with it.
Another of Sunni Arab politician Adnan Dulaimi’s sons has been arrested by US troops. Dulaimi’s brand of Sunni fundamentalist politics (he is a leader of the Iraqi Accord Front) is suspected by some in Iraq of spilling over into sympathy for or activities on behalf of the 1920 Brigades, a Sunni Arab guerrilla group (some members, but not all of whom, have joined Awakening Councils).
Jane Arraf on the looming battle over the US-funded Sunni Arab “Awakening Councils”, which many officials in the al-Maliki government think were a very bad idea.
Iraq will sign a $1.2 bn. service contract with China, for work on a small field that produces 90,000 barrels a day (Iraq produces on the order of 2.4 million barrels a day). The deal declines to offer China a share in profits, confining it to fees paid for work done. That the Iraqi oil ministry is playing this kind of hard ball has caused several Western oil majors to pull out of talks on such short term contracts, which are not very profitable and are mainly undertaking to make good relations with the host country.
The downside for Iraq of having oil.
McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Tuesday:
Four gunmen men in a white sedan opened fire upon a checkpoint manned by National Police on Mohammed al-Qassim highway, central Baghdad at 1 p.m. killing one policeman, injuring three. The gunmen have been captured and taken into custody.
A parked car bomb targeted a Peshmerga patrol serving as Iraqi Army in the town of Tilkeif at 3 p.m. injuring five people including two Peshmerga and three civilians.
A father (55) and son (20) were killed by light arms fire from a police patrol near the village of Daibaka, between Kirkuk and Erbil late Monday. The police are still investigating the incident.
Police found 20 decomposed bodies buried in an orchard in Abu Tuma village, al-Khalis 15 km to the north of Baquba at 3.30 p.m.’