A US raid on a suspected guerrilla safe house left 11 members of a family dead on Sunday, including three women and three children. The US military insists that the dead men were members of “al-Qaeda” and that the house was full of arms, and that, indeed, some of the destruction was caused by a secondary explosion. Iraqis seem to be denying the US charges.
The main political significance of the dead women and children is that they certainly will be thought relevant by at least the Sunni Arabs in parliament to the status of forces agreement being hammered out between Prime Minister al-Maliki and the Bush administration.
A bomb attack on a British convoy in Basra on Sunday wounded an Iraqi civilian.
One of the reasons the US military prefers to follow the Geneva Conventions, which forbid torture, is that when America tortures it encourages its enemies who capture GIs to torture them. It is therefore sad to know that Bush, Cheney, Rice and Rumsfeld ordered that prisoners be tortured and that “the parents of Spc. Byron Wayne Fouty believe he was tortured by his captors . . .” Fouty was from Texas.
Egyptian foreign minister Ahmad Aoul Gheit made a surprise visit to Baghdad on Sunday and talked about reopening the Egyptian embassy. The last Egyptian diplomat sent there was killed. For his part, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak roiled relations with Iraq by saying that Arab Shiites are more loyal to Iran than to their own countries. But Egypt needs energy and Iraq has a lot of oil, and Cairo is inching back toward a correct relationship with Baghdad.
Turkey, facing a terrorism threat from radical Kurdish separatists based in Iraq, asks the US and Iraq to control Iraqi borders.
Internally displaced Iraqis are being pressured to return to the former domiciles, with aid being withdrawn and tents taken down by the government. This despite the changed political geography of Iraq in the wake of the 2006-2007 massive ethnic cleansing, which has left many Sunni areas without Shiites and vice versa. Shiites cannot return to towns such as Habbaniya because they would stand out like a sore thumb. Anyway, many of them have been personally threatened by name by militias of the other sect, and will not go back as long as they think those militiamen who menaced them are still active and armed.There is no more effective threat than one backed up by thousands of previous murders.
Tina Susman of the LAT reports that more Iraqis are still fleeing the country than are returning, and that the brain drain of professionals is still extensive..
Iraq is rebuilding the Askariya Shrine in Samarra, the destruction of which kicked off the Shiite campaign of ethnic cleasning of Sunnis. Some hope the rebuilt shrine will improve Sunni-Shiite relations.
. . .Gunmen killed four men and injured six in a drive by shooting that targeted a funeral in Al Zinjili area in Mosul. One of the deceased was Iraqi army officer.
– Police found three bodies in Wahda neighborhood in Mosul. The three men were kidnapped yesterday.
– Gunmen attacked a police patrol in central Mosul injuring two policemen.
– Gunmen attacked Hussein Al Hamad village near Khan Bani Saad area, about 18 miles south of Baquba, killing three citizens and destroying five houses.
– Police found one dead body of a Kurd young man near a bridge one day after his kidnapping.’