Three bombings in Baghdad on Monday left some 20 persons dead and many others injured. One bomb targeted a mini-bus with female Iraqi government employees on it. A woman suicide bomber detonated her payload in a crowd just outside the Green Zone. Although the Western press tried to tie these bombings to the vote on Wednesday on the security agreement with the US, such bombings are still commonplace in the capital, and are mostly carried out by Sunni Arabs
Although some commentators used the bombings to raise the question of whether it is safe yet for the US towithdraw, I don’t see it. The bombings happened despite US military personnel being in the country.
The security agreement to be voted on Wednesday will affect the fate of 16,500 Iraqi prisoneers still in US custody. The agreement stipulates that the US may no longer hold Iraqis without charges and indefinitely. The US only has actual documented evidence against a few hundred prisoners, but considers some 5,000 highly dangerous. Military prosecutors are now working on these cases overtime.
The LAT says that the quick release by the Iraqi government of an Iranian national arrested by the US military in Iraq shows Iran’s clout with the Iraqi government.
The LAT also speculates about the impact of the security agreement on Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has asserted himself as a strongman in the past 8 months. He may have an even freer hand were the US to leave.
It is being alleged that the US kept a file on the private life of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, a serious violation of an informal agreement of the British and US governments not to spy on one another. The US was allegedly also listening in to the pillow talk of Iraqi interim president Ghazi al-Yawar. (Al-Yawar was wooing Nasrin Barwari, an interim cabinet minister whom he later married as a second wife). You have to wonder how much cooperation Bush extracted with these spy techniques applied to foreign leaders.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that lines have hardened among Iraqi parties in the question of whether they will vote for or against the security agreement in parliament on Wednesday. The United Iraqi Alliance (Shiite fundamentalist) has redoubled its backing. But the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front continues to have reservations, while the Sadr Movement is die-hard against it. The Sadrists are predicting that the votes are there to defeat the agreement.
‘ McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Monday.
– Around 7:30 a.m. a magnetic bomb detonated under a bus for Ministry of Trade employees carrying 18 passengers – 17 female employees and a child. Fourteen passengers were killed, including the child. Three women and the bus driver were wounded, police and witnesses said.
– Around 8:30 a.m. a female suicide bomber detonated near the checkpoint three outside the International Zone where the U.S. embassy and Iraqi government buildings are located. Iraqi police say five people were killed – three civilians and two Iraqi soldiers – and 2 others were wounded. The U.S. military confirmed one death, the Iraqi soldier, and eight injuries.
– Around 11 a.m. a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in Sinaa street near the Technology University in the Karrada neighborhood (east Baghdad). One person was killed and five others were wounded, including three policemen.
– A mortar hit Meda’in town ( south of Baghdad). Six people were wounded.
– Gunmen killed three brothers in Thiaba village of Muqdadiyah town (east of Baquba) around 11 a m.
– A sniper killed a policeman in Borsa neighborhood in Mosul city.
– Gunmen opened fire on policemen in Intisar neighborhood in Mosul city. One policeman was injured.’