Updated at 7:45 p.m. EST, Dec. 3, 2008
Defense Secretary Robert
Gates has made the accelerated
withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq a high priority in the coming months. Violent
attacks left at least 21 Iraqis killed and another 16 Iraqis wounded. A
blast in the Green Zone left an unknown number of casualties as well, and a journalist
was jailed for writing a
story on homosexuality. Meanwhile, a U.S. defense contractor was in the news over
allegations that employees knowingly let U.S. soldiers be exposed to toxic materials.
They also apparently held foreign workers against their will in Baghdad. Also,
Prime Minister Maliki will allow Awakening Councils to continue to exist in Iraq.
A group of National Guard soldiers sued
KBR, Inc., claiming employees of the defense contractor knew they were exposing
the soldiers to toxic chemicals. Also, a Kuwaiti subcontractor working with KBR,
Inc. denied confining as
many as 1,000 foreign workers while trying to find them jobs. The workers staged
a mass demonstration and the company now says it will pay them and send them home.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki rejected
a request from the Presidential council, led by President Jalal Talabani, to disband
the tribal councils that grew out of the Sunni Awakening (Sawha) movement. The
movement is credited with reducing much of the violence in Iraq, but Talabani,
who is a Kurd, believes that their existence in Kurdish areas only adds to the
instability in those regions and accused Maliki of using them to tighten his grip
on those areas. Oddly, the U.S. only handed
over control of the Sahwas to Iraq about eight weeks ago, and many of the fighters
believe the Shi'ite-led, central government is hostile to them.
an uptick in deaths, Army Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin said
that November saw the fewest number of attacks since the 2003 invasion.
Another mass grave found in Albu Toma area contained 13
bodies. In the last few days, several graves have been found there. The town
was emptied of residents during the height of sectarian violence in 2006 and 2007
and was the scene of "al-Qaeda trials" and executions.
About 500 people
gathered in Baquba to
protest the death of an Awakening
Council (Sahwa) leader. He had been in police custody since last week. The
provincial council leader accused police of torturing the detainee, but police
claim he died of kidney disease. Separately, two suspects were arrested.
In Baghdad, a bomb
killed one person and wounded five others in the Amin neighborhood.
Four people were wounded during
a bombing in Fadhila. Three
security personnel were injured during operations that netted 16 suspects.
A blast in the Green Zone left
an unknown number of casualties. U.S. forces killed
a Katai'b Hezbollah member and arrested
two others in separate incidents. Also, a body
was found in Bayaa.
a Sahwa leader and three of his cousins in Jalawla.
Iraqi soldiers were wounded
during a bombing in Khanaqin
girl was wounded when a sticky
bomb exploded outside her Tal Afar home.
In Mosul, police
defused a sticky bomb attached
to a patrol vehicle. No casualties
were reported during a mortar attack on a police station. Nine suspects were arrested
across the city. Also, hope
for a less violent Mosul now rests with the upcoming provincial election.
A large cache of ammunition was found
Three suspects were detained
during raids in Hawija.
nine suspects near Nasariya in the al-Sdinawiya area.
were arrested in Muqdadiya.
Basra, 13 suspects were arrested.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis