Updated at 6:49 p.m. EDT, July 5, 2009
In Iraq today, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called for Kirkuk elections to occur before the parliamentary vote next January. Meanwhile, former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said in an interview that the surge in American troops in Iraq should have come much earlier, perhaps as early as 2003. Coincidently, Iraqis themselves are skeptical about the subsequent U.S. pullback. Overall, at least 8 Iraqis were killed and 32 more were wounded in the latest attacks.
Prime Minister Maliki said he would visit Kirkuk soon and called for elections there. Elections were delayed in the ethnically mixed province over disagreement concerning a power-sharing scheme. Because Kirkuk sits on a lucrative oil field, Saddam Hussein instituted an “Arabization” scheme to dilute the Kurd presence there. Arabs and Iraqi Turkmen, who also have a historical stake there, fear a reversal that may allow the area to be annexed to Iraqi Kurdistan, which is a semi-autonomous region bordering Kirkuk.
Mosul was beset by a series of hand grenade attacks, but the largest number of casualties occurred in a car bombing which wounded 14 people near the citizenship department in southern Mosul. In central Mosul, a hand grenade wounded another six Iraqis. A second hand grenade left one policeman dead. At least one other grenade attack left a wounded policeman. Gunmen also killed a policeman in Faisaliyah.
On Friday, a shootout between police and wedding guests in Diyala province left four dead and 10 arrested. Police arrived with an arrest warrant, which may have merely been a pretext for the harassment of the party guests. The groom is a bodyguard working for Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi. Harassment is a common tactic in the violent province.
The body of a young man was found in near Makhmour in Qasimiya.
Gunmen kidnapped a hospital employee in Kirkuk.
Two suspects were arrested in Jalawla for the murder of an imam.
Police and soldiers defused a bomb that was found inside a beverage shop in Tal Afar.
Near Diwaniya, two Katyusha rockets fell close to Camp Echo.
Eight people were arrested and an I.E.D. was defused in Buhriz.
Two explosive devices were found in Hawija.
In Riyadh, an I.E.D. was defused.