More over civil war is on doors, and Iraq will be divided in three cantoons. That is the example Bush is presenting to Arabs for new Middle East. But what about US troops, all are safe?!
Associated France Press 1/9/2006
Sixty-one killed as Iraq prepares to take charge of military
by Jay Deshmukh
Thu Aug 31, 2:12 PM ET
BAGHDAD (AFP) - Insurgents killed at least 61 Iraqis, including 14 in a car bomb attack on a popular Baghdad market, as the government prepared to take full command of its own military.
At least 43 were killed when a series of seven rocket and bomb attacks were launched almost simultaneously against Shiite and Christian districts of Baghdad shortly before the nightly curfew, security officials said.
A car bomb went off in the southern neighbourhood of Al-Amin, killing 14 people and wounding 38, including six women, a medic at Al-Kindi hospital said.
Sunni extremists often target markets to kill civilians who venture out to buy household goods before the dusk-to-dawn curfew begins.
Six more explosive devices, including rockets, detonated in three areas, of which two were in the Shiite bastion of Sadr City, the security official said. At least 29 people were killed in these attacks.
Earlier in the day, another 18 people were killed in a string of attacks, including nine in the restive Diyala province, as the war-torn country's latest round of bloodletting claimed more than 250 lives in five chaotic days.
A British diplomatic convoy was hit by a roadside bomb in Baghdad's upscale Mansur district but no one on board was hurt, embassy officials said.
Even as the brutal violence stretched hard-pressed security forces, Iraq prepared to activate a joint military headquarters to command Iraq's navy, air force and 10 army divisions, totaling 115,000 troops.
A statement from the defence ministry said military leaders would meet their US and coalition counterparts Saturday to announce an agreement "on the control of strategic and combat operations."
US military officials confirmed that the announcement would mark the creation of a joint headquarters.
Iraq's armed forces are currently coordinated by US headquarters under the command of General George Casey, the head of US-led coalition troops in Iraq, who said Wednesday it would be at least a year until US troops could leave.
On Monday, US military spokesman Major General William Caldwell, said of the agreement: "What this means is that the Iraqi Ministry of Defense is prepared to begin assuming direct operational control over Iraq's armed forces."
"Upon stand-up of the Iraqi ground forces command, the majority of Iraqi divisions will remain under coalition forces initially and then be gradually transitioned into the Iraqi ground forces command," Caldwell said.
He expected the transition to take several months.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Iraqi forces would next month also take charge of security in the Dhi Qar province, which will become the second of Iraq's 18 provinces to come under full Iraqi control.
Iraq took over full responsibility for Muthanna province on July 13.
"The transfer of responsibility gives us confidence that we are becoming closer to taking over overall security responsibility throughout Iraq," Maliki said, in a statement released by the cabinet office.
Both provinces are in Iraq's mainly Shiite south, where the British-led coalition forces, who have been in charge since the 2003 invasion, have faced less resistance from insurgent groups than their US allies further north.
"This year will also witness the transfer of responsibility in other provinces," Maliki said, hailing the "rapid development in the competence of the Iraqi armed forces and the increase in their security abilities."
The British defence ministry said it expected the handover of control in Dhi Qar to take place within 45 days.
US President George W. Bush said Wednesday that exiting Iraq at this stage would be a "major defeat."
"If we leave before the job is done, it will shred the credibility of the United States of America," Bush warned.