Foreign Policy Blogs

Nine civilians accidentally killed in Iraq by US forces

The big story out of Iraq this weekend was the admission by the United States that it had killed nine civilians accidentally in an airstrike targeting Al-Qaeda forces in Iskanadariya. Political map of Iraq ( Guardian's piece is quite descriptive, saying that an Iraqi officer described the victims as Sunni members of the Al-Ghrir tribe. What's interesting is the fact that this happened in a town so close to Baghdad, which according to the US military, has been free and clear of militants for some months, hence the need for the big push in Mosul. On Saturday, President Maliki said that a ‘decisive battle’ was imminent, after meeting with officials in Mosul. Why is the US military still pursing Al-Qaeda militants in the areas close to Baghdad if they’ve all been supposedly pushed out and into Mosul and other northern areas? Understandably there are stragglers everywhere, but conducting an airstrike seems to suggest that perhaps the operation was big to deal with a big AQ cell or unit.