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Daily Column
Iraq Papers Tue: Fratricide
Calls for the Amendment of the Security Agreemnet Before the July Referendum
By AMER MOHSEN 05/11/2009 5:50 PM ET
Kull al-'Iraq
Kull al-'Iraq
Six US soldiers fell in Iraq today, five in Camp Liberty (near the international airport) when an American soldier opened fire against his comrades, and a sixth in Basra after his military vehicle was hit by an IED.

Al-Jazeera says that, according to US Army spokesmen, the soldier responsible for the Camp Liberty incident is currently detained and is expected to be charged later on Monday; US news networks had claimed that the perpetrator killed himself after the incident. The circumstances of the event are still shrouded in mystery, with a Defense official quoted to the effect that the shooting took place in a clinic for the treatment of war-related stress, and the White House spokesman noting that President Obama was “shocked” and is demanding a full investigation into the incident.

On a related front, a high-level police officer was killed in Baghdad near his house, the news channel reports. General 'Abd al-Husain al-Kadhimi was the director of the traffic police department and was shot in central Baghdad. In addition, two policemen were killed in Mosul, and three were injured, when their patrol was struck by an IED.

Meanwhile, Az-Zaman focused on US Army statements affirming that the scheduled withdrawal from Iraqi cities by the end of June will be achieved with no exceptions. According to the Iraqi daily, General Petraeus said that “no forces” will remain in Iraqi cities, including Baghdad and Mosul. The paper noted that earlier statements by General Odierno to the effect that American forces may remain in the capital and Mosul beyond the deadline were met by opposition from Iraqi political factions.

On the same theme, al-Mada daily revealed that the security agreement between Iraq and the US may be revised before its submission to a popular referendum in July. Iraqi MPs were quoted as saying that the US side has already breached certain articles of the agreement, especially those mandating coordination between Iraqi and US forces. Other MPs claimed that the agreement, in its current form, cannot be executed, calling for it to be amended.

The paper noted that the first official Iraqi announcement of an American breach of the treaty came two weeks ago when Premier al-Maliki protested a US operation in Kut that led to the death of Iraqi civilians.

Meanwhile, Kull al-'Iraq daily reports that Kurdish factions are protesting statements by Paul Bremer, who headed the Coalition Provisional Authority, and who claimed that the disbanding of the Iraqi Army in 2003 was made under pressure from Kurdish leaders, who threatened that they would announce the secession of Kurdistan if the Army were not disbanded.

Sa'di Bira, member of the PUK political bureau, vehemently denied Bremer’s narrative, claiming that the Kurdish side did approve the decision, but only after it was taken, and that the issue of secession “was not present in the agenda and debates of Kurdish forces in Baghdad at all.” Abu Tara, member of the Kurdistan Communist Party political bureau, also claimed that Bremer “is attempting to shift responsibility” for that fateful decision to the Kurdish side, adding that during the period in question the US hardly followed the opinion of Kurdish forces in shaping its Iraq policy.

In other news, al-Jazeera published a report on Iraq’s increasing role as a pathway for the regional drug trade. According to a high-level source in the Ministry of Interior, drug trade has been thriving in Iraq in recent years, and the country has allegedly become a major link for the transport of drugs arriving from Iran and Afghanistan to the Arab Gulf countries.

Trafficking drugs is an offense punishable by death in Iraq. Regardless, the border regions have reportedly become “a major source” for the smuggling of drugs in the Gulf region. However, a Brigadier in the Ministry of Interior claimed that the consumption of illegal drugs within Iraq remains small, citing “the Iraqi character,” which he alleged is averse to drug use, and the limited financial means of most Iraqis.

Lastly, government-owned As-Sabah reveals that the entire Iraqi Airways fleet that has been stationed in Jordan since 1991 will be put up for sale. According to sources in the national carrier, six airplanes (Boeing 707s and 727s) have been housed in 'Amman since the Second Gulf War, including the presidential jet. These aircraft are not in flying condition, and the costs of repairing them are estimated to be greater than their value, which prompted the decision to sell. According to the same sources, parking the airplanes in Jordan has cost the company over $6.5 million in 2005.


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