Alissa J. Rubin of the Times reports that two bombs in Anbar province and Mosul blew up yesterday, killing more than 30 Iraqis and wounding 80. Three American soldiers and two interpreters were killed in the Anbar attack, which is soon to be handed over to Iraqi control. Thursday's attacks were the latest in a string this week aimed at killing pro-American leaders, with most of the attacks occurring in Sunni or mixed neighborhoods. These attacks raise doubts that al Qaeda in Iraq and other Sunni insurgent groups are on the run, as many have assumed. They also raise the possibility that the Awakening movement has been more heavily infiltrated than previously thought.
Ernesto Londoño and Josh White have the story for the Post, but lead with the American casualties rather than the implications. Thirteen Americans, including two civilians, have been killed in Iraq since Monday, they write. At least 29 Americans have been killed in June, more than the 19 in May. That's still below the number last summer; more than 100 soldiers were killed in June 2007.
The Wall Street Journal's Gina Chon reports that the U.S. and Iraq might not meet the July 31 deadline for completing their security agreement, but instead might reach an interim agreement. The two have agreed on political, economic, education and cultural relations, but the military relations are still a sticking point. The two big points of contention are whether U.S. troops can arrest Iraqis and whether U.S. troops are immune from prosecution under Iraqi law. The last one is particularly sticky. One of the problems sounds like the process. Representatives of each faction are meeting with American negotiators individually to make their points. But the Iraqis need consensus to reach an agreement, so with no one really trusting one another, that makes reaching a Status of Forces Agreement difficult. If they can't reach an agreement by the end of July, the two sides may agree to muddle on as they've been doing on a temporary measure.
Paul Kane reports that the Senate passed, 92-6, a war funding bill that gives President George W. Bush carte blanche to operate in Iraq and Afghanistan through the end of his term in exchange for domestic spending. Part of that spending is an expended GI Bill. That and other domestic shopping lists brought the bill's total to almost $150 billion more than Bush originally sought.
IN OTHER COVERAGE
New York Times
Brian Stelter reports that CBS and a military court have escalated a fight over unbroadcast portions of a report CBS did on the Haditha incident of November 2004.
Ann Hornaday reviews 'War, Inc.', the new John Cusack satire about the Iraq war and security contractors and finds it wanting. Lefties looking for cheap shots and red meat will find it enjoyable. The rest of us, maybe not so much.
On the theatre side, Peter Marks reviews David Hare's "Stuff Happens," a "sprawling and painstaking (and partly speculative) account of the White House's global gamesmanship in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq." Marks calls it "splendid."
Christian Science Monitor and USA Today
No original Iraq coverage today.