THE BLOG
12/10/2007 11:39 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

NSN Iraq Daily Update 12/10/07

SEGREGATED NEIGHBORHOODS PREVENT RETURN TO NORMALCY

Security tactics leave many Baghdad residents feeling penned in. Walls like those around the secure "Green Zone," where U.S. officials and Iraqi dignitaries work and live, are appearing around neighborhoods all over Baghdad. U.S. funded Iraqi neighborhood guards protect these new security zones. While many are grateful for the newfound calm, they say the price is an increasingly segregated city. "We are not free, our neighborhood is barricaded... and our officials are over there in the Green Zone," said Hazem Mahmoud, a retired Iraqi Army officer. [CS Monitor, 12/10/07]

COALITION OF THE SHRINKING

Britain's PM Brown visits Iraq, tells troops they are coming home. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown flew into southern Iraq Sunday to rally troops and confirm that Iraqi forces will take command of the last region under British control in mid-December. He said he had held discussions by phone with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who recommended responsibility for security in southern Iraq should be handed over to local police and soldiers within two weeks. The British leader's unannounced visit signaled the start of what Britain hopes will be the transition from a military mission in Iraq to one aimed at aiding Iraq's economy and providing jobs. Britain's participation in the U.S.-led invasion and the ongoing presence of troops is deeply unpopular in Britain - as is the $12 billion annual price tag of operations there. Australia and Poland have recently announced their combat forces will leave Iraq in 2008. Britain's contingent of 4,500 troops in Iraq will fall to 2,500 by the spring. [AP, 12/9/07]

VIOLENCE CONTINUES TO RAGE IN IRAQ

Bomb kills Iraqi police chief, hours after being praised by U.S. commanders. A roadside bomb killed Maj. Gen Qais al-Mamouri, the police chief of a mostly Shi'a province south of Baghdad, hours after U.S. commanders praised him for his commitment to bringing stability to Iraq. The assassination was the latest in a series of attacks against provincial leader in southern Iraq, where Shi'a militias and other factions are engaged in a struggle for power and resources. The assassination came as a U.S. military spokesman told reporters that attacks across Iraq had fallen 60 percent during a 10-month U.S. security offensive. [Washington Post, 12/10/07]

Islamists kill 40 women for "violating Islamic teachings." "The women of Basra are being horrifically murdered and then dumped in the garbage with notes saying they were killed for un-Islamic behavior," said Maj. Gen. Jalil Khalaf. He blamed sectarian groups that he said were trying to impose a strict interpretation of Islam. They dispatch patrols of motorbikes or unlicensed cars with tinted windows to accost women not wearing traditional dress and head scarves. Gen. Khalaf said men with Western clothes or haircuts are also attacked in Basra, an oil-rich city some 30 miles from the Iranian border and 340 miles southeast of Baghdad. "Those who are behind these atrocities are organized gangs who work under cover of religion, pretending to spread the instructions of Islam, but they are far from this religion," Khalaf said. [AP, 12/9/07]

Suicide bombing kills 8 in northern Iraq oil town of Baiji. A suicide car bomber attacked a police station north of Baghdad on Saturday. The blast, which damaged nearby homes, killed eight people and wounded 16. Baiji, about 150 miles north of Baghdad, houses northern Iraq's largest oil refinery. [Washington Post, 12/9/07]

Mortar shells hit an Interior Ministry prison.
At least seven inmates were killed in the attack and 23 were wounded. The mortar rounds hit a prison made up of several cellblocks, each containing prisoners accused of terrorism-related crimes or civil offenses. [AP, 12/10/07]

IRAQ GOVERNMENT WANTS THE U.S. TO ENGAGE IRAN

New US-Iran talks on Iraq set for December 18. US and Iranian officials will hold another round of talks on Iraq's security next week, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said on Monday, adding that cooperation from Iraq's neighbors was improving. Zebari said officials from Iran, Iraq and the United States would meet on December 18 to thrash out strategies aimed at quelling the violence in Iraq. "This is a technical committee made up of security experts, military, diplomats together. This committee is focused on security issues, so everybody agreed to resume talks on that basis," he said. [AFP, 12/10/07]