135 More Killed in Iraq, But Maliki Still Rejects Unity Government

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has rejected international calls for a caretaker government even as militants continue to make gains. Meanwhile, the U.S. is considering again using a Sunni militia group that was effective in fighting militants during the occupation. At least 135 people were killed, and another 99 were wounded in the latest violence.

Unity Government:

Prime Minister Maliki rejected calls for a caretaker government to take control of Iraq until a permanent solution can be found to the current situation. The "national salvation" government, as Iraqis call it, would be non-sectarian and serve as a unified front against ISIS/DAASH militants.

Iraq had been wrangling to form a new government when the militants took Mosul. Before that, Maliki expected he would get a third term as premier after his State of Law party won the April election.

He claims the unity government would go against the Iraqi Constitution and the will of the people. Instead, Maliki wants political forces to unite behind his Shi’ite-led government. Underscoring the sectarian nature of Maliki’s administration, he also referred to his Sunni rivals as "rebels against the constitution."

Sahwa Movement:

The United States is apparently looking to reignite the Sahwa Movement. The Sahwa groups are also known as the Awakening Councils and formerly as the Sons of Iraq. These former Sunni militants switched sides during the U.S. occupation and began working alongside the U.S. military. The U.S. government paid their salaries.

Unfortunately, when the U.S. left Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reneged on his promise to fold them into regular security forces. Maliki’s sectarianism was blamed for this, and the rejection increased the bad blood between Sunnis and the Shi’ite-led government. Some militiamen continued to fight at reduced salaries that were paid by local governments.

To add to the confusion, the name "Sons of Iraq" has reportedly shifted to mean Shi’ite militiamen that are under the direct control of the prime minister’s office. The motive for using the same name is unclear, but these Shi’ite Sons have been fighting alongside Iraqi troops in the Sahwa heartland of Anbar province for several months.

Since the fall of Mosul, Sahwa members have been noticeably absent from news reports. The simple reason may be that many are trapped behind enemy lines. Others say that they have been joining less extreme militant groups to protect their families from both ISIS/DAASH militants and the Shi’ite-led government.


The number of civilians who were slain in air strikes on the Iraq border has been adjusted upward to 57 killed. That is higher by 19 dead. Yesterday, there was a question as to who was behind the strikes, but local witnesses affirm that the planes bore Syrian flags and flew in from Syria. Whether Syria or the pilots acted independently has not been revealed.

Iran is said to be delivering a great deal of military equipment to Iraq, including drones, while the U.S. has increased its aerial surveillance.

The United Nations called for a military response to ISIS/DAASH militants.

In Kurdistan, officials have released their plans for increased oil exportation. This includes oil from the newly acquired Kirkuk oil fields. They promise they will share the wealth with Baghdad, which has insisted that the Kurds must sell oil through the Iraqi government only. Iraqi pipelines transporting the oil have been offline for weeks thanks to militant sabotage. The Kurds could re-route it through their safer pipelines.

Threats warning Washington of retribution should there be U.S. airstrikes appeared online.

Warning that his followers will "shake the ground" against Sunni militants, Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr rejected U.S. help and said they will only accept support from "non-occupying" states

The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization says it fears that Iraq’s upcoming harvest and food supply are under threat by the hostilities.

A senior defense official said that half of the Iraqi Army is gone and losses already total $10 billion.

A very small number of Kurdish youths have joined ISIS/DAASH, but the fear is that more will follow.


Security forces said that 71 militants were killed at the Baiji refinery.

Militants took over the Ajeel oil fields. Local tribesmen were protecting the site, but they gave up after militants took over a nearby al-Alam. One militant leader was killed.

In Mahmoudiya, a complicated attack involving a suicide bomber, a car bomb and mortars left 12 dead and 46 wounded at a market.

A small arms attack at a wine shop in Baghdad left three dead and two wounded. Gunmen killed a civilian, and an unidentified body was found. Apparently, more dumped bodies are being turned in at the morgue than are appearing in newspapers.

In Kirkuk, a suicide bomber in Kurd dress blew himself up when police prevented him from entering a market. Four people were killed and 18 more were wounded.

Seven people were killed and 25 more were wounded during a mortar attack in Ishaqi.

Mortars in Abu Ghraib killed three children and wounded six policemen.

In Hawija, four Sahwa members were found dead after they were taken from their checkpoint.

Shelling left two dead and four wounded in Jalawla.

Militants in Baquba killed two Peshmerga fighters.

Seventeen gunmen were killed during an airstrike in Albu Jaber.

In Mosul, militants blew up a Shi’ite mosque, but residents were able to prevent the destruction of a shrine.

Militants shelled Hamdaniya, in Ninewa province, forcing many of its Christians to flee towards Kurdistan and uncertainty.

Four militants were killed in Yathrib.

In Ramadi, a senior Iraqi commander was killed.

Two husseiniyas were bombed by militants in Sharikhan.

In Haditha, residents worry that advancing militants will succeed in taking their important dam.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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