Saturday, August 27, 2011

Today's violence leaves many dead and wounded

Dar Addustour reports on a typical Baghdad political exchange. Mayor of Baghdad Sabir al-Isawi didn't care for the road work a Turkish company was doing, the Mayor hurled Kurdish insults at the senior engineer of the Turkish company and then the two got into a fistfight.

Turning to other reported violence, AFP notes 2 Baghdad roadside bombings claimed the lives of 5 police officers (three more were injured as were four civilians). Mazin Yahaya (AP) reports a Baghdad bike bombing claimed 3 lives and left eight people injured. Reuters notes an Abu Ghraib roadside bombing left two people injured, a Taza roadside bombing injured a Sahwa, a Hammamal-Alil car bombing left five Iraqi soldiers and one police officer injured, a Mosul roadside bombing injured six people, an Assish (Kurdish security) shot dead a Sahwa, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed 1 life, 1 corpse was discovered in Tal Afar, 1 corpse was discovered in Hammamal-Alil and, dropping back to Friday for the last two, 1 corpse was discovered in Kirkuk and 1 person was shot dead in Jbela.

In addition, Aswat al-Iraq reports a bus collided with a car in Kirkuk and at least 21 people on board the bus died. AP notes the death toll rose to 24 and that includes the bus driver.

Meanwhile Al Rafidayn reports the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has refused to meet with Nouri al-Maliki and other politicians. For the last 8 weeks, al-Sistani has refused them. Why? His clerics say that he feels the people's needs are not being addressed and that the government has failed to deliver basic services and to reduce corruption. In related news, Alsumaria TV notes, "Head of Al Sadr Front Sayyed Moqtada Al Sadr called for mass demonstrations in all Iraqi provinces and cities after Eid Al Fitr marking the end of the six month deadline granted to the Iraqi government in order to improve services, a source told Alsumaria. Speaking on behalf of Al Sadr, Sadr Front Sheikh Abdul Hadi Al Mahmadawi reminded the Iraqi government of Arab leaders’ fate who were toppled due to people’s demonstrations in Tunis, Egypt and Libya." Annie Gowan (Washington Post) adds that Moqtada delivered his call in a letter (the article doesn't note it but the letter repeats the same charges Sistani made) and reminds, "Elsewhere, activists in Baghdad are using Facebook and other social media to plan a Sept. 9 rally in the capital, also to protest the lack of services and poor security. Dozens of people were killed in February during protests [. . .] and Maliki’s government has been criticized for rough treatment of many who took to the streets during those days."

We'll close with this on the Turkish bombings of northern Kirkuk, fromJean Shaoul's "Turkey's assault on Kurds in Iraq presages regional conflicts" (WSWS):

Turkey’s raids, the first since 2010, followed a series of attacks in Turkey’s eastern provinces that reportedly killed 40 soldiers in July and most recently an attack on a military convoy in the southeast that killed 11 soldiers and a member of a village militia. While the PKK has not claimed responsibility for the attacks, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said his government “had run out of patience” and those who carried out the killings “would pay the price”.
Zaman, the pro-government daily, quoted “confidential sources” in Ankara that Turkey was setting up “operational front garrisons” inside northern Iraq to supersede its existing low-key intelligence presence to monitor Kurdish activities. Turkey’s 2,500 troops, which have been stationed inside Iraq for the past 15 years without the approval of the Iraqi government, will now increase. While the world’s press has said relatively little about Turkey’s raids on Iraqi territory, they must have Washington’s approval.
The new facilities would permit the extended deployment of troops and special forces at short notice, with air cover and aerial bombardment from Turkish bases. According to Zaman, the government is seeking parliamentary approval to conduct such cross-border operations at will. It presages an all-out assault on Iraq’s Kurdish autonomous region.

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