A leading Sunni political party’s headquarters in western Iraq was blown up early Thursday morning, while in southern Iraq, where Shiite factions have been fighting one another, a powerful bomb was discovered on the road to an important Shiite shrine.
Both episodes pointed to probable tensions in the months ahead of provincial elections in which factions are fighting hard to ensure that they have a place at the political table.
The explosion of the headquarters of the Iraqi Islamic Party in Falluja, west of Baghdad, happened about 6 a.m., according to witnesses, who said the American military had been near the site of the bombing until about an hour before the detonation.
The Falluja City Council blamed the Americans for the blast, saying it had also damaged a health center next door. Iraqi Islamic Party members were more circumspect.
The above is from Alissa J. Rubin's "Blast in Falluja Damages Sunni Party’s Main Office" (New York Times) in this morning's New York Times. Neil MacFarquhar offers up "Iraq Seeks Shield Against Claims by Hussein Victims" (both run on A12). Meanwhile Hannah Allam's "Kidnapped, threatened, Iraqi doctor won't abandon post" (McClatchy Newspapers) examines the costs of living under the illegal war:
Amal Private Hospital, named after the Arabic word for hope, stands in the center of Baghdad. Each morning, the war's broken, contorted and burned human casualties gather in the first-floor waiting room for checkups with one of Iraq's most renowned bone surgeons.
One by one, a nurse summons the patients, who are sitting outside in layers of bandages that give them the deathly look of mummies. The surgeon checks on shrapnel still embedded in the bodies of bombing survivors. He resets the broken bones of torture victims. He studies X-rays of legs shredded by bullets.
Then the doctor quickly steals home to his blockaded sanctuary a few yards from a police station, not to emerge until it's time for the next day's rounds at the hospital. He's already survived a kidnapping. His staff has dwindled from 36 surgeons to six.
With his British residency and comfortable savings, Dr. Muthaffar Kurukchi could leave, too, joining more than 15,000 Iraqi medical professionals who've fled the country since the war began.
Yet he continues to show up each morning, smiling and bespectacled as he works his way through at least 60 cases before 4 p.m.
He's heartbroken over the fragmenting of his country and disillusioned by the unfulfilled promises of the U.S. occupation, but he's determined to stay.
On the issue of Shawqi Omar and Mohammad Munaf (noted in yesterday's snapshot), from Carrie Johnson's "Ability to Challenge Transfer to Foreign Custody Is Limited" (Washington Post):
Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. made clear that the men had the right to file habeas corpus petitions in U.S. courts attacking their detention. But he said that option offered little comfort for Omar and Munaf, as it would be inappropriate for American judges to bar the military from transferring accused criminals into the custody of foreign governments that wish to prosecute them.
"Iraq has a sovereign right to prosecute them for crimes committed on its soil, even if its criminal process does not come with all the rights guaranteed by the Constitution," Roberts wrote.
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the washington post
alissa j. rubin
the new york times