IRAQI CIVIL WAR WATCH: Basra has collapsed - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-16-2006, 05:24 PM   #1
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IRAQI CIVIL WAR WATCH: Basra has collapsed

[q]Corps of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

Al-Zaman/ AFP report that the security situation in Basra has collapsed in the wake of the killing by persons dressed as Iraqi policemen of Shaikh Hasan Jarih al-Karamishi, the head of the al-Karamisha tribe in Basra. Firefights subsquently broke out in several districts of the city at a time of political vacuum in the central government. Majid al-Sari, adviser to the Minister of Defense, said that individuals from this tribe came out into the streets of the city heavily armed and killed 11 policemen in the course of an attack on a a police station in the Dair quarter to the south of the city. They also burned down two buildings used as party headquarters in the Intisar district of the Dair quarter by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq.

(In the time of Saddam, the Marsh Arab tribes--who typically had dwelled in the marshes of the south as fishermen and smugglers, were most often forbidden from entering urban Basra, but this prohibition has broken down).

Al-Sari said that for the last month, Basra has been afflicted by a mass of assassinations, equalling one each hour of the day. (That would be 24 a day, and 720 for the month). Sources in the city allege that the police are helpless to intervene, and indeed refuse to go out to the crime scene to attempt to capture the assassins, since they would take fire from tribesmen supporting the assassins, who belong to their tribe.

Two organizations, Rebels of the Uprising and the Revenge of God (Tha'r Allah, a branch of the Badr Corps) staged demonstrations Sunday and Monday against Governor Muhammad Misbah al-Wa'ili in protest against the collapse of security in the city.

Al-Zaman's sources told it that Basra is in chaos and dominated by militias and lawless gangs. Automobiles with darkened windows cruise the streets, armed militiamen within, who impose their law on the city. These sources blamed Kuwait and Iran for the situation, alleging that their intelligence services are funding and arming the Iraqi militias for their own purposes. Tribal firefights between the Marsh Arab Al-Bait Sa'idah tribe and the Bani Mansur are common-- as is fighting between Bani Ammar and Al-`Ashur. The sources say that Basra is without authority save that of the militiamen. The major political parties are unable to dampen down the violence because they are so divided against one another.

Basra is boiling these days and tempers run hot, with highs of 106 degrees Fahrenheit (41 C.). It gets no electricity for most of the day, especially in the al-Hayaniyah and Abu al-Khasib districts, where there are demonstrations every evening against the lack of services.

President Jalal Talabani is so alarmed by the situation that he and his vice-presidents, Adil Abdul Mahdi (SCIRI) and Tariq al-Hashimi (Sunni religious) have opened a hotline to government security forces in Basra. Al-Sari requested that the central government withdraw the security file from the local authorities and turn it over to the new Iraqi army.

The governor of Basra, al-Wa'ili, is trying to fire the police chief. He complains that the Basra police have not undertaken a single investigation of the hundreds of recent assassinations. He further charges that some in the Iraqi border patrol and the army have suspicious ties to the assassins. Al-Wa'ili also charges that two clerical representatives of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani are involved in the collapse of security. [This charge is not plausible, and may reflect al-Wa'ili's allegiance to Ayatollah Muhammad Ya`qubi, the spiritual leader of the Fadila Party, a rival of Sistani.)


what happened today, May 16:

[q]RAMADI - Heavy fighting erupted between insurgents and U.S. forces in Ramadi, 110 km (68 miles) west of Baghdad, witnesses said. Doctor Diha al-Hadithi said eight bodies and nine wounded people had been brought to its main hospital.

BASRA - Members of the Garamsha tribe killed three policemen in an attack near Basra, 550 km south of Baghdad, a local official said. Five other policemen went missing. The attack came after a tribal leader was shot dead near Basra.

MOSUL - One policeman was killed and two were wounded when a bomb exploded near a house where gunmen earlier killed six members of the same family, police in the northern city of Mosul said.

MAHAWEEL - A roadside bomb targeting a police patrol exploded in the town of Mahaweel, 75 km south of Baghdad, killing one civilian and wounding three policemen, police said.

*LATIFIYA - The U.S. military said Abu Mustafa, wanted for his role in the downing of a U.S. helicopter in Yusufiya on April 1, and 15 other suspected al Qaeda militants were killed during a series of raids near Latifiya south of Baghdad. Iraq's main Sunni religious group, the Muslim Clerics Association, said U.S. troops killed 25 civilians in Latifiya and denounced it as a "brutal atrocity."

YUSUFIYA - U.S. forces killed more than 25 insurgents, detained four others and destroyed three houses on Sunday during coordinated ground and air attacks in Yusufiya, 15 km south of Baghdad, the U.S. military said.

YUSUFIYA - Insurgents shot down a U.S. helicopter during fighting in Yusufiya on Sunday, killing two soldiers, the U.S. military said.

KERBALA - The body of Emad al-Massoudi, a policeman who was abducted by gunmen two days ago, was found with gunshot wounds, bearing signs of torture, on the outskirts of Kerbala, 110 km southwest of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD - Iraqi police said they found five bodies from one family near their home in the northern outskirts of the capital. All had been shot dead.

BALAD RUZ - Gunmen killed four primary school teachers as they were heading to work in Balad Ruz, about 50 km southeast of Baquba, police said.

ANBAR PROVINCE - Insurgents killed two U.S. Marines on Sunday in the rebellious western province of Anbar, the U.S. military said in a statement.

MAHAWEEL - One civilian was killed and another wounded when a roadside bomb went off near the police headquarters in Mahaweel, 75 km south of Baghdad, police said.

AMARA - Four British soldiers were wounded when a British military base came under mortar attack near the city of Amara, 365 km southeast of Baghdad, the British military said.

WAJIHIYA - A seven-year-old girl was killed and seven members of her family were wounded when a mortar round landed on their house in the small town of Wajihiya, about 30 km east of Baghdad, police said.


[q]BAGHDAD [MENL] -- The U.S. military has quietly acknowledged that insurgents -- despite the growth of Iraqi security forces -- have grown bolder in their attacks.

U.S. officers said fighters aligned with Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein have been attacking military bases in the Sunni Triangle. They said the fighters plant bombs near the entrance of major bases and in one case entered a base and conducted a suicide strike.

"They are bold and getting bolder," U.S. Maj. Mike Jason, adviser to the Iraq Army's 1st Battalion, said.

Jason has been serving on a military transition team at Camp Taji, north of Baghdad and near the Tigris River. The camp has become the target of numerous improvised explosive devices attacks, some of them planted by unemployed Iraqis paid the equivalent of a few U.S. dollars.


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Old 05-17-2006, 04:07 PM   #2
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[q]42 dead as violence rages in Iraq

BAGHDAD, May 16: More than 40 Iraqis died in bombings and shootings on Tuesday as Iraq’s dominant Shias promised the quick formation a new government. Shia politicians presented a list outlining the make-up of a proposed government and said a cabinet would take shape in the next “24 hours,” but a US diplomat said “if I was a betting man, I would not say tomorrow.”

Talks over the formation of a unity government, which sectarian squabbles have blocked for the past five months, were again overshadowed by violence that claimed the lives of at least 42 Iraqis.

A shooting and carbombing at a packed market in Baghdad claimed 23 lives and wounded at least 38 people, officials said.

Several women and children were among the dead in the attack, which targeted a mixed Sunni-Shiite area, an interior ministry source said.

A group of gunmen pulled up to the market in a pair of minibuses in the Al-Shaab district and opened fire on a bus stop, killing five people, before making their getaway in one of the vehicles.

The other minibus exploded when bystanders came to the aid of the injured, killing another 18.

At least 17 Iraqis were killed in other attacks in and around the capital and two police officers shot dead in the northern oil hub of Kirkuk.

A US soldier was killed by a bomb in the south of the capital, the US military said, adding that two soldiers were killed in a similar incident in Balad, north of the capital, the previous day.


more Basra news:

[q]Al-Zaman reports that [Ar.] hundreds of Iraqis are fleeing Basra for Baghdad every day because security is even worse in the southern port city than in the capital. The armed gangs that dominate the city are also interfering with oil exports. The paper's sources say that thousands of Iraqis once resident in Basra are living with relatives in Baghdad, waiting for the security situation to improve in the southern port city. Wealthier Basrawis, fearful of being assassinated or kidnapped by the gangs, have come up to Baghdad and rented homes for their families.

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