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Iraq in the News: Bombings, budget cuts, and an occupation in search of a mandate E-mail this
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Jeff Severns Guntzel, Electronic Iraq, Nov 3, 2008

A bombing near the offices of an Iraqi police investigative unit killed at least six and wounded at least 20 others today.

Another bomb blast today wounded Sahib Salman Qutub, a deputy oil minister.

In the Diyala Province, Sheikh Abbas Al Tami, an Awakening movement leader, was killed in an explosion with his wife and four children.

The Iraqi government says it's cutting salaries for some 100,000 members of the Awakening movement from the $300 a month the U.S. had been paying them to battle Al Qaeda in Iraq to $250. "Of course people are going to be angry. Probably, we will have a big problem among all the Awakening in Iraq," said one Awakening leader.

As fuel prices drop, Iraq's Finance Minister, Baqer Jabr Solagh has announced a more than $10 billion cut in projected spending for 2009. "The decline in oil prices will affect us a lot because up to 96 percent of our government budget is made up from oil profits," he said.

When Iraq-based U.S. forces raided a Syrian border village last week, purportedly targeting a smuggling operation funneling arms and fighters into Iraq, Syria protested. Now Damascus and Baghdad are apparently trying to talk their way through tensions.

U.S. officials are said to be considering requesting a U.N. Security Council extension mandating the occupation. Negotitions with Baghdad over a Status of Forces Agreement are failing as Baghdad asserts its desire for greater sovereignty. Iraqi demands apparently include naming the final agreement: "Agreement on Complete U.S. Withdrawal from Iraq" and giving Iraqi courts authority to try American soldiers who commit crimes while off duty.

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Page last updated: Nov 3, 2008 - 6:41:59 AM

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