Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki set
aside any pretense of democracy by ordering the Mahdi army to disband or face
banishment in upcoming elections. At least 51 Iraqis were killed and 143 more
were wounded today. Also, five more American soldiers were killed.
American soldier was killed by an IED during a routine road clearing operation
in Baghdad yesterday. A second
soldier died in a previously reported attack in Diyala province. Another
soldier had died in that attack and four
soldiers were wounded as well. Today, two
American soldiers were killed in Baghdad in a rocket-propelled grenade
attack, while a third U.S.
soldier was killed in an IED explosion.
Prime Minister Al-Maliki
has become increasing desperate to demolish the power base of political rival
al-Sadr, who at first supported the minister. Two weeks ago al-Maliki imposed
a security crackdown in Basra that many analysts believe was merely an attempt
to destroy the Sadrist power base ahead of elections. The crackdown backfired
on al-Maliki who was forced to accept a truce. The Mahdi army had been observing
a seven-month-long ceasefire when al-Maliki ordered Iraqi security forces to target
Now al-Maliki has ordered the Mahdi army, who are followers of al-Sadr,
to disband or the Sadrists will be barred from these same elections. The Sadrists
boycotted the last elections, but their participation this time could spell the
end of the al-Maliki government. Al-Maliki will have to push special legislation
through Parliament to prevent Sadrist participation. Earlier reports said that
al-Sadr is seeking a ruling
from Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani before proceeding further, but a spokesman
Meanwhile, the fighting continues in Baghdad where
U.S. forces are trying to prevent more attacks on the international Green
Zone. Overnight, nine
people were killed and 60 others were wounded during sporadic gunfire and
shelling. Hellfire missiles and other explosive devices were dropped from U.S.
aircraft onto Sadr City and New Baghdad. A helicopter strike today
killed four people and wounded
five in Sadr City. Several mortars shells were lobbed at the Green
Zone, but a pair which fell in Karrada instead injured
In other incidents, four
dumped bodies were recovered. Mortars wounded
two people at a sports club on Palestine Street. In New Baghdad,
five people were wounded
during a roadside bombing. Ten
people were wounded in Zayouna after a roadside bombing there. Mortars
people in Hay Ur. A missile strike killed
nine and injured 30 in Amin. Also, one
Iraqi security member was killed and 12 others were wounded during operations.
In Basra, an explosion of unknown origin killed
eight people. An Interior Ministry spokesman survived an assassination attempt
that left four bodyguards
wounded after a roadside bomb blast hit their convoy. Also, seven
bodies were turned over to the morgue.
In Mosul, a roadside
two policemen and a girl. Two
people were injured during a mortar attack.
A drive-by shooting left
a city council
member dead in Samarra.
In Duluiya, U.S. forces stormed
a home with a masked man. After the man identifed a
65-year-old man and his son, they were supposedly shot to death.
roadside bomb in Buhriz killed
one Iraqi Army officer and wounded five others.
The Iraqi army killed
five suspects and detained 58 others across Iraq.
by Margaret Griffis