Updated at 6:41 p.m. EDT, March 11, 2009
At least nine Iraqis were killed and 42 more were wounded in the latest violence, but no Coalition deaths were reported. Amidst the recent surge in bombings, two Iraqi officials gave their opinion on the country’s security gains. Meanwhile, new sentences have been doled out in connection with Saddam Hussein-era crimes against humanity, and President Obama announced his pick for U.S. ambassador to Iraq. Also, an increase in media outlets is welcome in Iraq, but some are complaining that too many outlets are driven along sectarian and party lines.
Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tareq Aziz was sentenced to 15 years for his role in Saddam Hussein-era executions, while two of Saddam’s half-brothers were sentenced to death. Saddam’s notorious cousin, "Chemical Ali" al-Majid, received a 15-year sentence as well, but having already received multiple death sentences for other crimes, it is unlikely that Chemical Ali will live to serve his entire sentence.
U.S. President Obama announced his picks for U.S. ambassadors to Iraq and Afghanistan. Christopher Hill will represent the U.S. in Iraq while Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry will fill the role in Afghanistan.
Against a backdrop of new bombings, Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf defended security gains and said such blasts were hard to prevent. However, Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi wondered whether Iraqi security forces will indeed be ready to take over when the Coaltion leaves. Despite his doubts, Iraq has no plans to have U.S. combat troops remain in the country beyond next year.
A two-year old child was killed and his parents were wounded, one critically, during an artillery attack near the border village of Razka. The Iranian military frequently shells remote areas of northern Iraq they believe harbor Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) rebels. The rebel group is an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and both groups seek an independent Kurdistan across parts of Iraq, Iran and three other countries.
Three soldiers were wounded during a blast in Balad Ruz.
Twenty suspects were detained in Dhi Qar.
Two suspects were arrested in Khanaqin.
Twenty-one suspects were arrested across Basra province.
A former provincial council member was arrested in Wassit province for presenting forged documents during recent elections.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis
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