Monday, January 19, 2009


Today in Iraq the violence continued. Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left seven more injured, two more Baghdad roadside bombing that left five people injured, a Mosul roadside bombing that left four injured and another Mosul roadside bombing that resulted in two Iraqi service members being injured.
Reuters notes an attack on a Mosul bakery that resulted in 1 death and a 'suspect' shot dead in Mosul. In addition, there are eight US service members deaths for the month thus far in Iraq. M-NF 'forgot' to announce one of the month's death so the world learns of it when the Defense Department identifies the fallen:

The Department of Defense announced today the death of an Airman who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Senior Airman Omar J. McKnight, 22, of Marrero, La., died Jan 17 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Balad, Iraq. He was assigned to the 6th Security Forces Squadron, MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
For further information related to this release please contact MacDill Air Force Base Public Affairs, (813) 828-2215.

Yesterday Hassan Zaidan al-Luhaibi was assassinated in Mosul. Sam Dagher (New York Times) offers some history on al-Luhaibi today:

Mr. Luhaibi was Mr. Mutlaq's deputy in the National Dialogue Front, which is among the main Sunni factions in Parliament.
Under Iraq's current laws, Mr. Luhaibi was barred from holding elected office because he had been a senior member of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, but he had been leading the National Dialogue Front's campaign in the critical Sunni Arab provinces of Nineveh and Salahuddin, and a son of his, Falah, is a member of Parliament.
Before the ouster of Mr. Hussein's regime in 2003, Mr. Luhaibi was an army general who commanded Iraq's military academy. He was among the senior officers involved in Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and its long war with Iran in the 1980s.
Mr. Luhaibi was suspected of having ties to the insurgency, according to the American military. He was arrested by the Americans in late 2004 and released in 2005, after which he moved to Amman, Jordan.
He returned in the middle of last year to his hometown, Gayara, where American-backed tribal militias had helped fight the insurgency.
Mr. Mutlaq said that Mr. Luhaibi was a leading proponent of a strong and centralized Iraq and that he was working to achieve that through political means.

Meanwhile Anthony Shadid's "The Political Dance in Iraq's South: Despite Discontent and Fragmentation, Islamic Parties Dominate" (Washington Post) zooms in on one region:

Power and patronage -- the kind of favoritism that guarantees jobs in the police and army and delivers largess to pilgrims and tribes -- give a decisive edge to Shiite Islamic parties in the balloting set for Jan. 31, cementing power they have enjoyed in the region since they inherited Saddam Hussein's rule in 2003, with American and British help. They seem certain to retain that power, even as a river of discontent as long as the Euphrates flows through the south, which is rife with complaints that no one -- not the religious parties, and certainly not the weak secular forces or technocrats on the outside looking in -- offers the representation that many people seek.
"I don't have any more faith in the religious parties," said Abu Moneim Tamimi, a manual laborer in the port city of Basra. "They haven't presented us anything we can grasp."

Provincial elections are scheduled for January 31st in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces. They were supposed to have taken place no later than 2008. Not only did they meet that deadline, 14 of 18 provinces wasn't the benchmark set by the outgoing White House.

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sam dagher