74% of US Voters Hold Iraq an Important Issue; Security Agreement in Doubt; Syria Closes US Embassy for a Day

Three quarters of American voters say that the Iraq War is a very important or extremely important issue for them. I talk around the country on Iraq and I also find widespread concern about and interest in the subject. A smart television news program that gave renewed attention to Iraq instead of ignoring it would likely be rewarded with a ratings spike.

It is dawning on the Bush administration that it will not likely get a security agreement with the Iraqi government by January 1. In the absence of such an agreement or an extension of the UN Security Council mandate, US troop actions in Iraq could be considered war crimes in international law.

Syria temporarily closed down the US embassy in Damascus ahead of a large demonstration that the government feared might turn violent. Syria has also announced that it will reduce its troop presence on the border with Iraq. That is, Damascus is reducing its policing of the fundamentalist vigilantes who infiltrate Iraq from Syria, as a protest against the US attack on a Syrian village that left 8 dead. Washington officials have said that they had moved against an important smuggler of the fundamentalist vigilantes into Iraq.

An Iraqi opposition parliamentarian has alleged that the Iraqi government maintains 420 secret detention centers where large numbers of prisoners are held with no legal protections.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the Sadr Movement says that 20,000 of its members are being kept in prison with no due process.

McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Thursday.

‘ Baghdad

– A roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Fudhailiyah neighborhood (east Baghdad). Five people were injured including two policemen.

– A roadside bomb targeted an American patrol in Tobchi (Al-Salam) neighborhood (northwest Baghdad) .One civilian was killed and five others were wounded. No US casualties reported, police said. The U.S. military said that one person suffered minor injuries and no one was killed.

– Police found one dead body in Ur neighborhood (east Baghdad) today.


– Gunmen opened fire on Sahwa members in Swghaa village near Buhriz (3 miles south of Baquba). Three Sahwa members were wounded.


– A car bomb targeted a police patrol in Abu Ajeel village (3 miles east of Tikrit). One policeman was injured. ‘

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