Updated at 3:57 p.m. EST, Nov. 23, 2008
At least 11 Iraqis were killed and another 37 more were wounded in the latest attacks. Eight of the dead were from the discovery of a mass grave in Babel province. No Coalition deaths were reported, but U.S. military officials reported that Kurdish authorities purchased arms from Bulgaria, worrying officials in Baghdad. Meanwhile, debate on the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement continues amidst protests in Baghdad even as U.S. officials criticized Syria during a security meeting in Damascus.
U.S. officials reported that officials in the Kurdish Autonomous Region purchased weapons from Bulgaria in September. Although the area’s governors operate in a manner that significantly separates them from the central government, Kurdish president Barzani recently noted that many Kurds feel the central government wants to impose a “totalitarian regime” on them. In recent months, fighting has broken out between Kurdish Peshmerga and regular Iraqi army troops in border areas near the region. The Kurdish Regional Government has sought to extend its influence into these neighboring areas, where many Kurds live.
As public demonstrations continue, two members of the cabinet defended a proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement that is set for a vote in parliament. The pact will allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq after a U.N. mandate expires in December. Although it is expected to pass on Wednesday, followers of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr demonstrated against it in hope of at least crippling the public’s acceptance of the pact. Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani said that the agreement must pass by a comfortable enough margin if it has any hope of working. Sistani is also angry with parliamentarians who have already left Baghdad on the hajj instead of waiting on the vote.
During a security meeting in Damascus, the U.S. was critical of Syria’s inability to stop fighters from staging attacks on Iraq from Syrian soil; however, other Western nations in attendance praised Syria for implementing measures designed to temper those attacks. Almost a month ago, U.S. forces raided a small Syrian border town during an operation said to be targeting a well-known smuggling network blamed for attacks in western Iraq. Syrian officials counter-claimed that the country was itself a victim of terrorism.
Nine bodies were discovered in a mass grave in Muwaylaha. The grave was dated to approximately a year ago. Another site is being excavated nearby. The find was announced only a day after another mass grave was discovered in the province.
In Baghdad, one person was killed six people were wounded during a bombing in the Karrada district; another four people were wounded in a second bombing later in the day. Four people were wounded by a separate blast in Yarmouk. In Bab al-Muadham, a sticky bomb attached to a car was detonated, wounding four people. One person was killed and four more were wounded in a bombing in Waziriya. Five people were wounded, including Agriculture Ministy workers, during a bombing on Nidhal Street. A journalist was injured during an attack outside his offices. Also, eight suspects were arrested in separate operations in Adhamiya and New Baghdad, where a body was also found. .
In Mosul, a car bomb wounded seven people, including an Iraqi soldier.
Two policemen were wounded when gunmen attacked their checkpoint south of Tikrit.
Sixteen people were arrested in Kut for distributing leaflets. The leaflets contained a statement from Shi’ite cleric Sayyid Mahmoud al-Hassani al-Sarkhi on the proposed U.S.-Iraqi security agreement.
Iraqi troops detained 52 suspects across Iraq.
Eleven suspects were captured in the Hamrim Mountains.
Nine people were arrested in Basra. Six unlicensed vehicles were seized.
A U.S. patrol was turned away from Qadisiyah University near Diwaniya. There was no explanation for the impromptu visit. They were told they could enter in civilian dress if they made an appointment and brought no arms.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis