Guerrilla attacks killed 10 persons and wounded dozens on Sunday.
Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that the al-Maliki government will in coming months show the draft security agreement it has negotiated with the Bush administration to the main blocs in parliament to gauge whether they will accept the amendments it has wrung from Washington. A source in the ruling (Shiite fundamentalist) United Iraqi Alliance told al-Hayat that there are no prospects for further negotiation with the U.S., and that the political parties in parliament will have to accept or reject it.
Ali al-Adib, a parliamentarian from the Da’wa Party who is close to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, underlined that the current draft of the agreement allows either side to request a revision of the timetable for the withdrawal of US troops (currently set for 2011 at the latest). That is, if Barack Obama wants to get troops out by 2010, as he has said, he is not bound by this agreement.
An unnamed, highly placed source in Baghdad said that US Secretary of State Condi Rice may visit the Iraqi capital to explain the US position and to urge passage of the security agreement.
VP Tariq al-Hashimi (leader of the Sunni fundamentalist Iraqi Islamic Party) called for the security agreement to be submitted to a national referendum.
Al-Hayat also reports in Arabic that the High Electoral Commission of Iraq announced Sunday that provincial elections will be held on January 31, except in Kirkuk and the Kurdistan Regional Government. Some 444 provincial council seats will be at stake, with the largest single council being Baghdad Province.
In the southern, Shiite provinces, the big development is that the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and the Da’wa Party will head up separate coalitions and compete for votes against one another. In the 2005 elections, they ran as part of the United Iraqi Alliance coalition. The close alliance of ISCI and Da’wa underpins the political power of PM Nuri al-Maliki and his supporters in parliament, and it remains to be seen if their cooperation at the federal level will be affected by their rivalry in the provinces.
The Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim will run in coalition with the Iraqi Hizbullah (not related to the Lebanese Hezbollah); the Lord of Martyrs Movement, the Badr Organization, and the Future Grouping. (The Badr Organization is the political wing of the Badr Corps paramilitary, both of them closely attached to ISCI).
The other Shiite coalition is led by the Da’wa Party, and comprises the ‘Da’wa Party- Iraqi Organization,’ the Independents Grouping led by Petroleum Minister Hussein Shahristani (who is close to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani), the Solidarity Bloc, led by Qasim Da’ud, the Popular Uprising Party, the Kurdish Faili Brotherhood, and the Turkmen Islamic Union.
Abdul Karim al-Naqib of ISCI said that it would contest many provincial seats on its own, but would be in coalition in some other provinces.
The Kurds will run separate lists, avoiding coalitions, including in Kirkuk.
Al-Zaman reports in Arabic that the split between Da’wa and ISCI has widened, with ISCI charging that al-Maliki is using public funding to promote southern tribal councils as a way of supporting the Da’wa Party to which the PM belongs.
For South Iraq analysis see Historiae.org of Reidar Visser.
The Iraq Studies Center at the University of Haifa has posted some press analysis.
McClatchy reports political violence in Iraq on Sunday:
– Around 10 am a roadside bomb targeted a police patrol in the Rubayee street in Zayuna neighborhood (east Baghdad). Six people were injured including two policemen.
– Around 9 am a female suicide bomber targeted the emergency room of the Amiriat Al-Falluja hospital. One woman was killed and five other people were injured including three women, Falluja police said.
– Around 9 am a bomb planted in garbage container detonated near the main market downtown Baquba. One sweeper was killed and five other civilians were injured.
– A roadside bomb detonated in Khalis market ( north of Baquba). Five people were killed and 8 others were wounded including the district commissioner of Khalis town, Uday Al-Khathran.
– Gunmen riding in a Toyota pick up car kidnapped a policeman who was in his own car in Rashad town (southwest Kirkuk) on Saturday night, police said.
– Gunmen opened fire on an Iraqi check point in Askari neighborhood of Tuz Khurmatu (south of Kirkuk) around 5 am. Three soldiers were wounded.
– a roadside bomb detonated in Intisar neighborhood (downtown Mosul city). Two people were injured.
– Gunmen killed a policeman in front of his house in Ghizlani neighborhood in downtown Mosul. – A suicide car bomber targeted a police patrol in Mansour neighborhood in Mosul city around 5:30 pm. Eleven people were injured including 6 policemen.
– A roadside bomb targeted an army patrol in Al-Zihour neighborhood in Mosul city. Three soldiers were killed and seven people were injured including four soldiers.’