Iraq pullout: Some US soldiers likely to stay behind in Mosul
As US prepares to withdraw troops from major cities, bombings in Baghdad and near Kirkuk have the country on edge.
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Although US and Iraqi forces have made extensive progress in improving security in Iraq's second biggest city, Al Qaeda in Iraq, other insurgents, and criminal groups still launch daily attacks.Skip to next paragraph
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Four bombings took place in and around Baghdad Monday. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr asked the Iraqi government to do more to protect citizens. In a statement, the cleric blamed the bombings on the continued presence of US troops.
Lots of work left in Mosul
In Mosul, the weakest link in terms of security is the Iraqi police force. Iraqi authorities say they are investigating two Mosul policemen accused of opening fire on a US patrol, killing one of the soldiers and his interpreter.
Under new rules which take effect on July 1, apart from cases of self-defense, US troops will likely have to clear the movement of military vehicles in advance with Iraqi authorities.
The provincial governor says he has asked for a sign or other markings on US vehicles after July 1 to show residents that they are not on combat missions and decreed that movement of armored vehicles and equipment adhere to strict guidelines.
"I believe that June 30 should be the date in which the relationship between Iraq and the US is redrawn," Atheel Al Nujaifi, the governor of Ninevah province, says in an interview. "This relationship has to be built on respect between the United States and our citizens and [the principle] that no force is used against our citizens."
Governor Nujaifi is head of the Sunni Arab party Al Hutba'a, which swept to power in provincial elections in January, overturning Kurdish control of the provincial council. Sunnis make up the majority of those who have been targeted in US raids aimed at capturing insurgents. Although it's far from an exclusively Sunni complaint, US military operations early in the insurgency indiscriminately rounded up and detained all males in Sunni areas who were old enough to serve in the military.
"If they want to rebuild the Iraqis' trust, they have to treat them with respect," says Nujaifi, adding that heavy-handed treatment of the local population by US soldiers has tarnished the Americans' image here.
A few minutes after a US State Department team seeing the governor left his office Sunday, a homemade bomb left in a bag exploded just two blocks away, killing an Iraqi civilian pushing a push-cart and wounding several others. Iraqi police in the area responded with what appeared to be indiscriminate gunfire. It was unclear whether the police or the US soldiers in the area were the intended target.
"Everybody's targeted," said Provincial Council Chairman Jaber Mohamad Al Abed Ruboo shortly after the attack. "We hope that the US withdrawal from the area will stop people from using the excuse that they are resisting the occupation."
Less than an hour later, shops on the busy street where the bomb went off had reopened, and the street was full again of residents making their way past the debris.