Iraq Provinces Emboldened in Bids for Autonomy

Salah ad Din province is moving ahead with its request for autonomous region status despite a negative reaction from the Iraqi premier. Diyala province may not be far behind. Also, at least five Iraqis were killed and five more were wounded in the latest violence.

Governor Sabhan Mulla Jiyad announced the formation of a committee that will oversee the federal recognition of northern Salah ad Din province as a semi-autonomous region of Iraq. The provincial council last week declared its autonomy in a symbolic vote that was a direct criticism of the mass arrests of purported Ba’ath Party members. Sunni Arabs suspect the crackdown is merely a harassment campaign against them.

The council is now sending Baghdad a formal request to begin the official process; however, not all residents support the request. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki responded by ordering a ban on demonstrations in Salah ad Din unless the Interior Ministry approves them first. Maliki is vehemently opposed to autonomy for Salah ad Din.

The request follows earlier demands for autonomy in Basra and a larger region in the south. Meanwhile, Diyala province is using the threat of autonomy to get other demands taken seriously in Baghdad. Also, some predominantly Kurdish areas in neighboring provinces want to be annexed by Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraqi Kurdistan was granted autonomy in the 1970s.

A bomb targeting the border patrol exploded, killing one soldier and wounding three others, in Anbar province.

A man was killed in Hammam al-Alil as he was allegedly trying to plant a bomb.

In Mosul, a bomb damaged a car but did not injure the general inside it.

Two civilians were killed and a soldier was wounded during an altercation outside of Qaim.

A hand grenade attack at a checkpoint in Shirqat left one Sahwa member dead and another wounded.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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