Updated at 8:25 p.m. EDT, Sept. 27, 2010
As if the political deadlock over the premiership did not already stoke sectarian tensions in Iraq, the Interior Ministry has now ordered the demotions of hundreds of Sunni police officers. Meanwhile, the violence continues. At least 10 Iraqis were killed and 28 more were wounded across the country. Meanwhile a U.S. soldier was killed in a vehicle rollover in Kuwait, and a sniper wounded a U.S. soldier in Amara.
In a move that will likely destabilize Anbar province, the Interior Ministry has stripped hundreds of Sunni police officers of their ranks. The men, who once fought against al-Qaeda in Awakening Councils (Sahwa), were promised jobs in the regular security forces as sectarian violence wound down. The Sahwa councils were a major force behind that reduction in violence. The Interior Ministry, on the other hand, has been accused of allowing Shi’ite death squads to infiltrate both the Federal Police department and smaller police forces. The demotions also come on the heels of a deadly raid in which national security forces bypassed local police.
While the men will be allowed to remain as police officers, the demotions could encourage many of them to quit altogether. Many of the fighters had been associated with al-Qaeda after the U.S.-led invasion but changed allegiances to join the Sahwa councils. Unfortunately, many fighters have also gone without pay for extended amounts of time, and the Iraqi government has been slow to incorporate other Sahwa fighters into security or civilian work. This latest insult could encourage many to rejoin al-Qaeda.
Party for a Free Kurdistan (PJAK) rebels denied clashing with Iranian forces in northern Iraq. Yesterday, Iran claimed to have killed 30 rebels in a cross border attack. Separately, Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay met with Kurdish Autonomous Region Prime Minister Berham Salih and President Massoud Barzani to discuss the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) situation.
In Mosul, one person was killed and six more were wounded in a bomb blast. During a second explosion, three more people were wounded. Two foot soldiers were wounded in a third blast. Gunmen killed a woman and injured her brother in one shooting, while a teacher was killed in a second small arms attack. A young man was also shot to death. An Iraqi military source insisted that U.S. soldiers did not act alone during a controversial raid in Mosul last week.
In Baghdad, two people were wounded when a sticky bomb exploded in a southeastern garage. A sticky bomb wounded a television anchor in Saidiya. Gunmen killed a policeman. Three police officers were killed in separate shootings last night. The B.O.C. has asked citizens to check their cars for attached bombs. A bomb in Safina left no casualties.
Two bombs in Tikrit wounded four people, including a woman and small child.
Three Sahwa fighters were wounded in two blasts at their checkpoint in Baiji.
A new security operation looking for men using forged documents is being implemented in Anbar province.
Police in Numaniya arrested a wanted man and found a weapons cache.
Eight suspects, one from Turkey, were arrested in Basra province.
A car bomb was defused in Nasariya.