Updated at 9:15 p.m. EST, Dec. 14, 2008
U.S. President Bush made a secret to Baghdad, where he met with Prime Minister Maliki and President Talabani to sign the new security agreement between the two countries. Meanwhile, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said that the country is ready for next month’s provincial elections. Little violence and no Coition deaths were reported. At least one Iraqi was killed and 19 more were wounded in today’s events.
President Bush made his final trip to Iraqi as U.S. President. He met with Iraqi leaders and will formally sign a status of forces agreement that will oversee U.S. operation in Iraq for the next three years. Separately, Defense Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said that U.S. troop could remain stationed as mentors in Iraqi cities beyond an agreed deadline next June, but only with Iraqi government permission. A Sadrist lawmaker complained that allowing some forces to remain within cities is evidence that the U.S. does not intend to honor the U.S.-Iraqi security agreement. Also, a journalist threw a pair of shoes at President Bush during a press conference.
Security during next month’s provincial elections will foreshadow how successful Iraq will be without U.S. troop presence. Askari said that the country is prepared for any disruption and has ordered the army to remain neutral. Earlier this year, civil war nearly broke out when Sadrists accused the central government of trying to undermine them before these elections. Army personnel have also been accused of meddling in local affairs in northern Iraq. Many who boycotted previous elections are expected to vote this time and perhaps change the political climate in Baghdad.
Gunmen attacked the home of a government official in Kut. The official was not injured, but a police officer was killed and a policeman was injured in clashes that followed the attack.
Gunmen wounded the dean of Mosul University’s college of medicine.
In Nasariya, a physician was liberated while two abductors were arrested.
As many as 12,000 security personnel were deployed throughout Karbala to insure security for pilgrims returning from Mecca.
Four Katyusha rockets were confiscated near Hawija.
Thirty-six displaced families returned home to Suwayra.
In Basra, 12 guards were arrested following an attempt at robbing the bank where they worked.
Compiled by Margaret Griffis
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