Iraqi PM Travels To US For Talks, While Kurdish Parties Bicker

Updated at 2:55 p.m. EST, Dec. 11, 2011

At least 16 Iraqis were killed and 13 more were wounded in new violence. Most of the attacks were small by very targeted. Meanwhile, a delegation of Iraqi politicians, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, traveled to the United States for meetings with their American counterparts and other officials. While political tensions in Kurdistan continue.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki traveled to meet with U.S. President Barack Obama and other officials in Washington D.C., where they will discuss the final departure of U.S. troops and their post-withdrawal relationship. Maliki’s media advisor, Ali Mussawi, said that this marks Maliki’s "first visit where he is going as the chief of a country empty of foreign troops that can count totally on itself." About 6,000 U.S. troops remain. A private army of contractors working as "trainers" for the U.S. State Department is set to replace them. Because of an immunity dispute that also vexed U.S. dealmakers, NATO declined to keep any such trainers. Separately, the Sadrists called for a special committee to oversee the withdrawal and ensure that all American troops have left. At least 157 of these future trainers will be uniformed military personnel, so the Sadrists do have valid fears.

In Kurdistan, the Kurdistan Islamic Union boycotted a meeting with the ruling Kurdistan Democratic Party to protest of the arrests of members during recent riots; 17 are believed still in detention. Riots broke out after a cleric allegedly encouraged vandalism during a sermon on Friday, Dec. 2. Later, the K.I.U. blamed reprisal attacks on K.D.P. followers. Earlier this year, the K.I.U. sided with protesters during large-scale anti-government demonstrations.

Security forces seized about 70 weapons that were about to be smuggled into Iran through Khanaqin. The smugglers escaped – probably back into Iran. Much has been made of Iranian weapons smuggling into Iraq, even though there is little evidence supporting a concerted effort by Tehran to arm Iraqi militants. Significantly, the reverse flow has been largely ignored. It is unclear who was to receive these weapons, but it may have been Party For a Free Life For Kurdistan rebels who have been operating in border areas around Iraqi Kurdistan and western Iran. Khanaqin is a predominantly Kurdish area that sits just outside the official boundaries controlled by the Kurdish Regional Government.

In Mosul, a bomb killed four people. Four more people were killed in a home invasion. Gunmen killed a doctor, who ran the morgue. The body of a civil servant was found dumped a couple hours after he was kidnapped.

A pair of bombs planted near a Kirkuk petrol station wounded 11 people, mostly police and Kurdish Asayesh agents.

An I.E.D. killed a woman and child in Hilla.

In Baghdad, an education ministry official was killed in the Sumer district when a sticky bomb planted on his car exploded.

Two construction workers were killed when gunmen stormed their Tikrit office.

Gunmen in Tuz Khormato shot and killed one security guard and wounded a second.

A sticky bomb wounded a schoolteacher in Muqdadiya.

Read more by Margaret Griffis

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has
been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.