Iraq: Scary Monsters


September 30, 2010:  Iran has persuaded the Iraqi political parties it backs (mainly the al Sadr group) to make a deal to let the current prime minister (Maliki) serve another term, in return for political favors. This isn't a done deal yet, but demonstrates how even Iran was getting fed up with the six month deadlock in forming a new government. The stalemate has forced more Iraqis to face some key internal problems, like the rampant corruption and the self-destructive refusal to compromise in political (and many other) matters. These two flaws are imbedded in the culture, and difficult to get away from.

Iran is also believed behind the increased number of assassinations in Baghdad and rocket and mortar attacks (23 in the last month) on the Green Zone. U.S. troops still control security around the Green Zone, which contains thousands of Americans and other foreigners. So far this year, there have been 134 rocket and mortar attacks in Baghdad, 37 percent (slightly above average) in the last 90 days.

There are increasing attacks on police, especially assassinations. Some of this is the work of criminal gangs seeking to gain the cooperation of police, or intimidate the cops to do nothing. But a lot of the anti-police violence is all about keeping them from going after terrorist groups.  

Sunni terror groups continue to survive in Mosul and western Iraq. These are both Sunni Arab strongholds. With only 15 percent of the population, the Sunni Arabs have fallen far and hard since Saddam was overthrown. For centuries, the Sunni Arab minority had controlled power, and wealth, in Iraq. Now they have lost it, and many Sunni Arab Iraqis will fight to the death to get the power and wealth back. The car bombings and assassinations are increasingly directed only at the security forces.

The U.S. expects to complete the transfer of 8,000 refurbished, armored hummer vehicles to Iraq. A year behind schedule, it will have taken three years to complete the project, which also trained thousands of Iraqi mechanics in how to maintain and modify hummers.

September 26, 2010:  The navy took possession of the first of fifteen American made Swift class offshore patrol boats. Iraq is eager to build up its navy, so it can provide security for the growing complex of off-shore oil installations. About 1.7 million barrels of oil are shipped out from facilities along the tiny (80 kilometers) Iraqi coastline.

Three car bombs went off in Baghdad and Fallujah, killing 36 and wounding over a hundred. This is the largest terrorist operation in months.

September 25, 2010: Iranian troops crossed the border into northern Iraq and attacked Kurdish separatists, killing 30 of them. The separatists claimed that no such attack took place. The Iranians were seeking revenge after Kurdish separatists bombed a military parade in an Iranian town three days ago.



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