USA Today leads with, and others tease, the latest guerrilla attacks in Iraq: A major pipeline delivering water to Baghdad was blown up, creating water shortages and a temporary water-park for kids; another fire was set along a key oil pipeline, disabling the line; and there was a mortar attack against a prison, killing six Iraqis and wounding 59. Also at the prison, GIs mistakenly shot and killed a Reuters cameraman. The Washington Post mentions, and the New York Times and USAT leads skip, word that two GIs were shot and wounded yesterday as they were leaving a restaurant. The Post also details a few other ambushes, none that resulted in casualties. The Los Angeles Times leads with word that the U.S. is nixing plans for an international board to oversee Iraq’s oil industry and will instead let Iraqis manage oil exports on their own. The NYT lead says that next month the U.S. plans to carry out naval exercises as a warning to North Korea. The exercises will happen off the coast of Australia but will focus on practicing “non-permissive boarding” of ships. And that’s handy, because as Pyongyang knows, the U.S. has been considering trying to put a tight cordon on naughty North Korean exports such as drugs or missiles. The WP’s lead says that growing cell-phone networks are hogging the nation’s airwaves and increasingly interfering with police and firefighter radios.
The sabotage of the oil pipeline means that deliveries from the key line will be halted for at least two weeks; the line just reopened last Wednesday. The WP, which unfortunately stuffs its solid Iraq wrap-up, notes that Iraq’s acting oil minister complained that he’s been asking in vain for more GIs to guard the pipelines. Yesterday’s NYT said GIs are “spread too thin even to fly regularly over the pipelines.”
The LAT says the move to disband the oil oversight board was partially prompted by concerns of many that working on the board would make them look like U.S. toadies. Even expats “from oil companies preferred to stay away from such a board,” said one analyst. “They think it might harm their future business relations.” Coalition officials also said they’ve been impressed with Iraqi technocrats’ efforts.
The Wall Street Journal and NYT say that talks between Israelis and Palestinians over the possibility of giving Palestinians control of two more West Bank towns have stalled, apparently over questions of whether Israel will keep roadblocks around the towns.
According to early-morning reports from Israel, there was an explosion at a restaurant in Tel Aviv, killing one woman and injuring four people. Police said they aren’t sure yet whether it was a terrorist attack.
Last Thursday, the LAT and WP led with word that Marines were heading into Liberia. But you have to dig into this morning’s papers to find out what the Marines are actually up to: According to a stuffed WP piece, some of them only went in for the night. The other 150 or so are part of a back-up force that “has orders only to stand by in an abandoned building.” The WP says the U.S. has rejected a Nigerian commander’s request for more Marines. The LAT meanwhile, fronts a dispatch from Liberia’s second-largest city, Buchanan, where things are even worse than in the capital: Most of Buchanan’s residents have fled and are either in the bush or in refugee camps regularly raided by rebels. A sign at the city entrance reads, “ No monkey put foot,” a warning to government supporters to keep out.
The papers have wire pieces inside on a guerrilla attack in Afghanistan that left seven local police dead. The WP mentions that the attack was carried out by about 400guerrillas; they crossed the border from Pakistan and then crossed back.
The WP’s Style Invitational asked readers to “come up with ways Martha Stewart might make a prison stay more stylish and/or livable.” The winners: “Give a special name to each of your head lice;” and, “Flypaper can do an excellent bikini wax.”