A resident walks past a burnt vehicle after a bomb attack in Baghdad July 25, 2010. A sticky bomb attached to a car carrying an off-duty policeman killed him and wounded three others in Baghdad's southern Saidiya district, an interior ministry source said. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen [Yet another incident reported only in a photo caption!]
Reported Security Incidents
Gunmen using silenced pistols killed two policemen at a checkpoint in western Mosul on Saturday, according to a military source.
Sixteen civilian bystanders injured in a grenade attack on a police patrol, also on Saturday.
One police officer killed, a second is wounded along with a child in a bomb attack on a police patrol.
Other News of the Day
Iraqi Ministry of Defense claims to have arrested three al-Qaeda leaders.
Iraqi soldiers arrested Saleem Khalid al-Zawbayi, the minister of defence for the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI)," [Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed] Askari said. "He was arrested on Wednesday evening south of Baghdad," he added.
Zawbayi is suspected of organising a July 18 suicide bombing in the town of Radwaniyah, west of Baghdad, targeting anti-Qaeda militiamen being paid their wages. Forty-five people were killed and 46 wounded.
Askari also said that two brothers -- Jaabar and Qadoori Radhi Khamis al-Zaidi -- believed to have been responsible for operations in Diyala, were arrested in the northern city of Tikrit, where they were based."
FIFA may ban the Iraqi football team from international competition as sectarian politics fuel government meddling in its leadership. Excerpt:
The battle over who will lead Iraq's most popular sport after Saturday's [Iraqi Football Association] IFA poll elections has fueled the country's bitterly sectarian politics as the authorities struggle to form a new government more than four months after the inconclusive parliamentary elections in March.
The bickering spilled over into football with the government backing Shi'ite Falah Hassan against the incumbent Hussein Saeed - named in one of the arrest warrants - for the top job at the IFA. The Shi'ite-dominated government has long wanted to purge IFA of any officials with alleged ties to the former Ba'athist administration.
Last Sunday men in military-style uniforms raided the IFA offices carrying arrest warrants for several of its officials. On Wednesday Fifa warned that any governmental meddling in the association's electoral process could lead to a suspension.
Carlos Hamann for AFP discusses the ethnically fueled instability along the Kurdish-Arab border region. Excerpt:
The US military withdrawal from Iraq is on schedule, according to the commander of US forces there, General Raymond Odierno. Just 50,000 troops will remain after August 31, down from a peak of more than 170,000 and ahead of a full withdrawal in 2011.
Odierno however acknowledged to reporters in Washington at mid-week that despite some progress, "we have not solved the problems of the disputed areas" of northern Iraq. "That's a problem that has to be dealt with in the future," he said. "Do I think this will be resolved by the end of 2011? No." The US intelligence community's annual threat assessment earlier warned about the volatile region.
Regional tensions "have the potential to derail Iraq's generally positive security trajectory, including triggering conflict among Iraq 's ethno-sectarian groups," then-Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair wrote in the assessment, out in February. Land ownership, control of oil resources, and integrating Kurdish peshmerga fighters into Iraq's army are issues that "still need to be worked out, and miscalculations or misperceptions on either side risk an inadvertent escalation of violence."
From The Guardian: A key witness to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war has accused Whitehall of trying to silence embarrassing testimony undermining the case for the invasion. In today's Observer, Carne Ross, the UK's Iraq expert at the UN between 1997 and 2002, writes that the inquiry is being prevented by "deep state" forces from establishing the government's true motivation for invading Iraq. Ross, who appeared before the inquiry this month, says he was not provided with key documents relevant to his testimony and was warned by officials not to refer to an internal Foreign Office memo that contradicted the government's public case for war.
Earlier reports that the Taliban have captured 2 U.S. naval personnel in Charkh appear to be inaccurate. Most reports are now indicating that one of the men was killed in the initial confrontation, and only one has been captured. According to the WaPo, "The Charkh district chief, Samer Gul Rashid, said that about 6 p.m., the Americans drove through the district in an armored SUV. Gunfire and a grenade attack broke out, he said, and the vehicle was torched. He added that residents at the scene told him that one of the Americans was killed by gunfire and another was slightly wounded in the hand. On Sunday morning, he said, U.S. and Afghan forces found the body of the slain American in a garden known as Qala-e-Now, and that U.S. troops now have the body." According to a recent Reuters report, a Taliban spokesman has confirmed this. The U.S. has not given further information about the men or their role. [The most common role for naval personnel in Afghanistan is as combat medics attached to Marine units, as the Marines do not have their own medical corps. However, naval special forces and military police also operate in Afghanistan. It has not been explained why these individuals were driving off base.]
A candidate for Parliament in Ghazni is abducted. "'A group of armed militants went to the house of Hajji Najibullah in Jangalak village of Qarabagh district on Saturday evening and took him away to unknown location,' district governor Mohibullah Khapalwak told Xinhua."
Taliban militants captured the mountainous Barg-e-Matal district in Afghanistan's eastern Nuristan province after a fierce clash with police, a private television channel Tolo reported Sunday. Citing provincial governor Jamaludin Badar, the television reported that police had retreated Saturday, allowing militants to overrun Barg-e-Matal district.
Reuters confirms the Taliban advance in Nuristan and also refers to "reports by residents that dozens of civilians were killed in a raid by foreign forces on Friday [in Helmand]. Further details were not immediately available."
Quote of the Day
Jihad is a Muslim’s duty. The local government is afraid of this word. A preacher cannot call himself a preacher if he does not condemn the occupation [by the American military] and describe jihad as a religious obligation.
Sunni cleric Sheikh Muntasar al-Majmaei of Katoon mosque in Baquba, reacting to a government ban on incendiary sermons. Many believe this will be exercised selectively against Sunnis.