02/12/2008 10:22 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

NSN Iraq Daily Update 2/12/08


Al Sadr's office condemns CBS kidnappings. Television network CBS said Monday that two of its journalists went missing in Basra, a predominantly Shi'a city southeast of Baghdad. Iraqi police and witnesses said the kidnapping occurred Sunday morning when about eight masked gunmen wielding machine guns stormed the Sultan Palace Hotel and seized a British reporter and his Iraqi interpreter. A security official said one man had been detained in connection with the kidnapping. On Tuesday, radical Shi'a cleric Moqtada al Sadr's office condemned the kidnapping of the journalists. [USA Today, 2/12/08]


Twin bombings target Sunni leader working with the US. Two car bombs exploded in Baghdad on Monday killing at least 11 people in what appeared to be an attack on a leader of the citizens groups that have turned against Sunni insurgents. The blasts erupted around noon in the largely quiet and religiously mixed neighborhood of Karada. The first car bomb exploded as it entered a parking lot near the compound of Sheik Ali Hatem, a top leader of the Dulaimi tribe and a major force behind the citizens group. A few minutes later, several hundred yards away, another car exploded at a busy intersection. [NY Times, 2/12/08]

U.S. forces find 13 bodies in Iraq mass grave. The grim discovery was made northeast of Baghdad in Diyala province. The bodies were discovered in an orchard during a U.S.-led operation in the area on Monday. Last week a grave containing 50 bodies was found in an area near Samarra, 100 km north of Baghdad while the bodies of around 20 men, women and children were found in December in a grave near the former insurgent stronghold of Falluja. [Reuters, 2/12/08]


The US confirmed reports that it is planning a new round of talks with Iran on the future of war-ravaged Iraq, but that the two sides have yet to agree on a date. "We do not yet have an agreed-upon date, but I think we're now trying to work on one that is mutually convenient and acceptable," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack. McCormack said the meeting would not involve the countries' ambassadors, but likely would be "at the working group" level. Tehran had requested a meeting with Washington to discuss Iraq's security but the talks, scheduled for December 18, were postponed, without a new date being set. US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Kazemi Qomi previously met in Baghdad last May and July. "Nothing's done until everything's done, and we'll let you know all the details of this, the date, location, and who's going to be attending," said McCormack. [AFP, 2/11/08]


"The continued presence of US and other foreign troops in Iraq will lead to more terrorist acts in the country and harm the security of the whole region." Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is a key regional ally of the U.S. and receives the second largest amount of aid from Washington after Israel. Mubarak also repeated his rejection of any military solution to Iran's crisis with the United States, which has accused the Islamic republic of carrying out secret nuclear work and wanting to acquire the atomic bomb. The veteran Egyptian leader "warned that any military action against Iran will trigger more global terrorism and will jeopardize US interests worldwide." [AFP, 2/11/08]


Iraqi soldiers say efforts are hampered by a lack of equipment from the central government. In the northern city of Mosul, joint patrols of Iraqi and American soldiers continue a recent operation against insurgents-with the Iraqis taking on the more prominent role. However, Iraq's regional military leaders are lacking equipment. "It's been more than four years, and the Defense Ministry had not supplied us with even a single bullet," Brig. Gen. Nuradin Hussein Herchi, commander of the Fourth Brigade, Second Battalion in Mosul, said in a recent interview. "We have 55 military vehicles, 15 of them broken due to attacks by I.E.D.'s," he added. "Another 10 are not working and need to be repaired. Now we do not have enough transportation to transfer our soldiers to the disputed area, so how can we send troops to all places to fight Al Qaeda?" [NY Times, 2/12/08]