At least two Iraqis were killed and 10 more were wounded in new attacks, but the possibilty that attacks will increase precipitously after Dec. 31 seems assured — whether U.S. troops stay or go.
Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr again warned U.S. soldiers to leave Iraq by the scheduled Dec. 31 deadline or face renewed violence. Currently, no public decision has been made to retain U.S. troops — which would require approval from Iraqi lawmakers — but confirmation of an extension is expected soon. While attacks against U.S. targets continue almost daily, they have resulted in fewer casualties since late 2009 when officials announced the withdrawal date for the troops. Should that date be postponed or ignored, it could mean an increase in U.S. servicemember deaths.
On the other hand, if the Americans do leave on schedule, the various militias could make good on threats to attack those Iraqis who assisted U.S. troops. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have worked for the U.S. government or American contractors since the beginning of the occupation. Many have already been killed or are in hiding because of their work. They would like to immigrate to the United States, but proper visas are difficult to win even for them. The U.S. embassy, meanwhile, is warning such hopefuls of Green Card scams taking advantage of the situation.
Security isn’t the only issue facing Iraqis. Entrepreneurs hoping to rebuild the country’s ravaged economy are now facing new government enemies: bureaucracy, corruption and improperly awarded contracts. Or even worse: the Iraqi government possibly allowing foreigners to profit ahead of locals.
Two men were killed when the bomb they were allegedly setting up in Falluja exploded prematurely.
Five policemen were wounded in a blast in Tuz Khormato.
An I.E.D. wounded two people, including a former Sahwa leader, in Baquba.
In Baghdad, a Katyusha rocket fell in the Green Zone without leaving casualties. A blast in Saidiya, however, left three wounded.
Two U.S. patrols were attacked in Kirkuk, where authorities are demanding that American troops remain after the official withdrawal date.
The Diyala Provincial Council suspended work over threats.
An I.E.D. was defused in Shirqat.