Updated at 5:54 p.m. EDT, Aug. 17, 2009
The U.S. Commander in Iraq, Gen. Ray Odierno, revealed that he’s been in talks with Iraqi and Kurdish officials about deploying U.S. troops to disputed territories in northern Iraq. Meanwhile, at least 23 Iraqis were killed and 28 more were wounded in violent attacks across the country. Also, Human Rights Watch has asked the Iraqi government to stop abuse targeting Iraqi homosexuals.
Gen. Odierno admitted to discussing the deployment of U.S. troops in disputed northern territories with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other Iraqi and Kurdish leaders. The issue is oil-rich territory, including Kirkuk and Mosul, which some Kurdish residents and leaders want incorporated into the Kurdish Autonomous Region.
While, the K.A.R. has remained relatively peaceful throughout the war, territories that border it have seen some of the worst attacks, including clashes between Kurdish and Iraqi security forces. Only yesterday, a national census was postponed because elections early next year could heighten the tensions in the north. Odierno says the deployment would be just a temporary measure and not affect overall withdrawal plans.
In Ninewah province, Yazidi villagers banded together to erect barriers that they hope will prevent future attacks against them. The Yazidis are one of northern Iraq’s smaller ethnic groups. Their unusual religious beliefs make them susceptible to sectarian attacks from all sides. Because of a lack of security, their small villages surrounding Mosul have been the targets of several significant bombings. Such villages would be the focus of Gen. Odierno’s deployment.
Two civilians were killed and 11 people were wounded in Taji, when a parked car exploded.
Gunmen attacked an Awakening Council (Sahwa) checkpoint near Hilla in Mussayab. Two members were killed and another was wounded before the gunmen fled; at least one other person was wounded. Another Sahwa member was wounded in a drive-by shooting.
In Mosul, gunmen killed the owner of a sporting-goods store. Two policemen were killed and a civilian was wounded during a small arms attack on a checkpoint. Another civilian was killed in a drive-by shooting, while gunmen separately killed a policeman at a checkpoint. A man was killed when a bomb attached to his car exploded. A bomb left no casualties. Another bomb was defused. Mortars also fell in one neighborhood, but they failed to produce casualties.
Gunmen in Khalis killed two Sahwa members and wounded four more in an attack on their checkpoint.
Seventeen suspects were arrested in Basra.
Two Islamic State of Iraq suspects were captured in Makhmour.