Updated at 9:15 p.m. EST, Dec. 14, 2008
U.S. President Bush made
a secret to Baghdad, where he met with Prime Minister Maliki and President Talabani
to sign the new security agreement between the two countries. Meanwhile, the Iraqi
Defense Ministry said
that the country is ready for next month's provincial elections. Little violence
and no Coition deaths were reported. At least one Iraqi was killed and 19 more
were wounded in today's events.
President Bush made
his final trip to Iraqi as U.S. President. He met with Iraqi leaders and will
formally sign a status of forces agreement that will oversee U.S. operation in
Iraq for the next three years. Separately, Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed
al-Askari said that U.S. troop could remain
stationed as mentors in Iraqi cities beyond an agreed deadline next June, but
only with Iraqi government permission. A Sadrist lawmaker complained
that allowing some forces to remain within cities is evidence that the U.S. does
not intend to honor the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement. Also, a journalist threw
a pair of shoes at President Bush during a press conference.
next month's provincial elections will foreshadow
how successful Iraq will be without U.S. troop presence. Askari said that the
country is prepared for any disruption and has ordered the army to remain neutral.
Earlier this year, civil war nearly broke out when Sadrists accused the central
government of trying to undermine them before these elections. Army personnel
have also been accused of meddling in local affairs in northern Iraq. Many who
boycotted previous elections are expected to vote this time and perhaps change
the political climate in Baghdad.
Gunmen attacked the home of a government
official in Kut. The official was not injured, but a police
officer was killed and a policeman was injured in clashes that followed the
In Baghdad, a bomb wounded
three people on Nidhal Street. Seven
people were wounded during a bombing on Palestine Street. A bomb across
town in Mansour wounded
another seven people.
the dean of Mosul University's college of medicine.
a physician was liberated while
two abductors were arrested.
As many as 12,000 security personnel were
deployed throughout Karbala to insure security for pilgrims returning from
Four Katyusha rockets were confiscated
Thirty-six displaced families returned
home to Suwayra.
In Basra, 12 guards were arrested
following an attempt at robbing the bank where they worked.
by Margaret Griffis