Iraq would have been better off with Saddam Hussein

By Sinclere Lee

There has been a steady steam of people coming out these days saying that Iraq would have been better off if we had left Saddam Hussein in power. At least he kept Iran in check.

Violence killed 13 people in Iraq Thursday, including nine in Baquba, an official with Baquba police told reporters. Two U.S. soldiers also were killed in Baghdad, according to the military.

Among the dead in Baquba were two police officers, and 13 people were wounded, including a member of a provisional council, the official said.

In Baghdad, car bombs targeting security personnel in three neighborhoods Thursday killed four people Thursday, according to a Baghdad emergency police official.

The first car bomb exploded outside a police station in the Mushtal neighborhood in southeastern Baghdad Thursday afternoon, killing two people and wounding nine others, the official said.

The second exploded 15 minutes later outside a civil defense building in Adhamiya in northern Baghdad, killing two people and wounding four others, including two police officers.

The third targeted an Iraqi police patrol in Zayuna neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, killing no one but wounded five Iraqi police officers, the official said.

Two U.S. soldiers — both members of Multi-National Division-Baghdad — were killed in a pair of attacks in Baghdad Thursday, according to the military.

A roadside bomb killed one soldier as he was traveling south of Baghdad around 8 a.m. (midnight ET Wednesday), the U.S. military said.

A few hours later, around 12:15 p.m. (4:15 a.m. ET), insurgents in Baghdad fired on a U.S. military patrol, killing another soldier, according to a military news release.

The deaths — which bring the U.S. military death toll in Iraq to 2,616 — came a day after a U.S. soldier died during operations to root out "foreign terrorists" south of Baghdad, a military statement said. Two terrorists were killed during that firefight, the military said.

As part of Iraq's national reconciliation program, Iraqi and U.S. authorities released 55 detainees from Iraqi jails Thursday morning, Iraq's deputy justice minister told CNN.

They had been in U.S. custody but were not involved in any crimes, the deputy minister said.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's reconciliation plan has resulted in the release of more than 3,000 detainees this year.

U.S. lawmakers had expressed concern that the prisoner release program would give amnesty to prisoners involved in insurgent killings of U.S. forces. But al-Maliki said none of the people released have committed violence against coalition soldiers, Iraqi security forces or civilians.

Suspected insurgent leader arrested

Iraqi police said Thursday they had arrested the suspected local leader of an insurgent group in the northern city of Mosul, The Associated Press reported.

Authorities identified the suspect as Abdul Rahman Ali Abdul Rahman, also known as Abu Hajir, believed to be the local leader of the Mujahedeen Army, according to AP.

The Mujahedeen Army was among 11 Sunni insurgent groups that offered in June to halt all attacks if the United States agrees to withdraw from Iraq in two years, AP reported.

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