Tuesday, September 19, 2006

NYT: Splitting up Iraq (Richard A. Oppel Jr. & Abdul Razzaq al-Saiedi)

Early Tuesday morning, the American military released statements disclosing two new combat deaths. One soldier was killed by a roadside bomb in northeastern Baghdad on Sunday afternoon, and another was killed by small-arms fire in north-central Baghdad, also on Sunday afternoon.
Negotiators from major political blocs met late Monday in an effort to resolve the bitter fight over how soon Shiite provinces in the south can break off into autonomous regions with substantial control over their security and the billions of barrels of oil beneath southern Iraq.
A faction of Shiites and Kurds led by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or Sciri, a powerful Shiite party with close ties to Iran, proposed a compromise on Monday, said an adviser to Khalid al-Atiya, a deputy speaker of Parliament and one of the faction's negotiators.
Sciri wants to pass a bill in Parliament giving provinces a quick route to forming autonomous regions, which are allowed by the Constitution's federalism provisions.
But furious Sunni Arab leaders say the Constitution might not have even been approved in the referendum last October had it not been for their last-minute support. They gave that support only after a provision was added that called for portions of the Constitution to be renegotiated as soon as Parliament was called into session. But that has not happened.

The above is from Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Abdul Razzaq al-Saiedi's "Attacks in Iraq Leave 23 Dead as Talks Lag on Autonomy" in this morning's New York Times. And if you're thinking, from the headline, "23, that count is way off!" -- yes, it is. Which is one reason we've focused on the efforts to split up the country instead of the rundown of the violence. "Attacks" -- as you'll see if you read the article -- don't include people who were killed by gunfire. They also don't include corpses discovered which aren't counted on the day they died (they're not known as dead until they're bodies are discovered -- again, check out Lara Logan's CBS report from yesterday) and aren't counted with the dead on the day they're discovered.

And as some push to break up the nation, it's again worth noting Tom Hayden's "Withdraw from Iraq Or Carve It Up?" (Huffington Post via Common Dreams) and the fact that this isn't something coming from the people, just the puppet government (with US approval).

Martha notes Amit R. Paley's "Dozens Die in Blasts in Northern, Western Iraq" (Washington Post):

Suicide bombers killed at least 34 people in attacks in western and northern Iraq on Monday, underscoring the continuing violence throughout the country as U.S. and Iraqi forces focus on tamping down attacks in the capital.
In Tal Afar, north of Baghdad, a man wearing an explosive vest blew himself up at 6:15 p.m. in a line of residents waiting to buy cylinders of cooking gas, killing 21 people and wounding 18 others, said Brig. Gen. Saeed Jubury, a police spokesman in Mosul.

Earlier in the afternoon, a suicide car bomber slammed into a recruiting center for Iraqi security forces in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, killing 13 recruits and wounding 10 others, said Talib Mushtaq al-Obaydi, a doctor at Ramadi General Hospital. A statement from the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq asserted responsibility for the attack.

On the last paragraph, that's now local police in Ramadi and a doctor saying thirteen. The fact that Iraq's Interior Ministry and the US are saying 'only two died' should really be questioned. (Interior Ministry covered in yesterday's snapshot -- the Times notes that the US is saying only two in this morning's article noted at the top.)

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