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More Shiite Pilgrims Hit - Iran says it Wants Iraq Stability
Monday, 12 March 2007 10:51

by Juan Cole

Iraqi guerrillas killed two US GIs on Sunday.

Meanwhile, as some Americans were risking their lives, Bush campaign guru Karl Rove hac it sweeter than ever. Not only was he betraying the United State of America by outing a covert CIA operative, Valerie Plame Wilson-- McClatchy reveals that he was also helping get federal attorneys fired for not being far rightwing Republicans. Why is this man still in the White House?

Iraq's sectarian civil war exploded into violence again on Sunday, leaving at least 75 dead and dozens wounded in a wave of bombings and attacks, many of them aimed at Shiite pilgrims coming back to Baghdad from the holy city of Karbala. Some 40 pilgrims were wounded and in serious condition late Sunday. The major incident was a bombing in Karrada of returning pilgrims, which killed over 30 persons, according to al-Hayat, writing in Arabic.

Another bomber hit a mini-bus near Mustansiriya University. Elsewhere, guerrillas bombed a bus in Baladruz. In the major northern city of Mosul, guerrillas attacked the HQ of the Islamic Accord Front, the Sunni fundamentalist coalition that has been willing to sit in parliament and cooperate (if often sullenly) with the Americans. Three guards were killed and one injured. Reuters gives details of the bombings.

The Sunni Arab guerrillas are targeting Shiite pilgrims in hopes that they will in turn attack Sunnis, and that the ensuing turmoil will force the US out of the country.

Damien cave of the NYT reports that guerrillas are using house burnings in their quest to ethnically cleanse neighborhoods of members of the opposite branch of Islam.

Kudos to Solomon Moore of the LAT for this excellent piece on the need to hold early provincial elections in Iraq. The last provicial elections, in January, 2005, were boycotted by the Sunni Arabs. The article points to the problems of Shiite dominance in Diyala and Baghdad provinces in the absence of very many powerful Sunni Arab members of the provincial councils. But even in al-Anbar and Salahuddin Provinces, there are the problems of lack of representativeness in the provincial councils. If so many did not vote, the politicians on these bodies don't have much of a constituency.

The LAT reports that some in the military favor an El Salvador option, of getting most US troops out of Iraq and using a small force rapidly to train Iraqi troops.

A major Iranian bank, Bank Melli,, will open an Iraq branch.

The Kurdistan Regional Government stands accused of suppressing the language and customs of the Assyrian Christians.

The Sunni fundamentalist vice president of Iraq, Tariq al-Hashimi, praised Shiite Iran during his recent visit there for its help in getting Iraq back on its feet.

Tom Engelardt discusses 'surge creep' in Bush administration Iraq policy, while Michael Schwartz looks at the risks of alienating the Shiite Iraqis and their Iranian allies implicit in current Bush policy.

Presidential candidate Barak Obama says that if the Iraqi government does not implement key reforms, the US troops will simply have to be taken out the country.

Former British diplomat Jeremy Greenstock, blocked by the Blair government from publishing his critiques of the Iraq occupation authorities' policies, has written them as a history of WW I. He wrote an introduction to the memoir of a British officer who witnessed the disastrous British campaigns in Iraq of the teens of the last century

Juan Cole blogs at Informed Comment

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