February 26, 2012:
Police are more active in the Babylon province just south of Baghdad. The Sunni population down there has long provided cover for Sunni terror groups, and the government is calling on the Sunni residents of the province to help stop the Sunni terrorists or else. Outside of Baghdad terrorist violence has been down since late last year, often as much as 50 percent. This is because hundreds of Sunni Islamic terrorists have gone to Syria or been captured or killed in Iraq.
The U.S. believes that the growing number of terrorist attacks against the government in Syria is a direct result of the Iraqi Sunni terrorists moving to Syria. The Iraqi terrorists believe that if the rebels win the Iraqi Sunni terror groups will be allowed to maintain a long-term presence in Syria. Until a few years ago Syria was a base for Sunni Iraqi Arab terror groups but when most Iraqi Sunnis turned against the terrorists (in 2007) there was also a collapse in popular support for the terrorists throughout the Moslem world. Cash and recruits stopped coming to Syria to be shipped across the border to Iraq. But now the terrorists see an opportunity to get their base back.
The government is cracking down on importing unskilled labor, which is common in oil rich Arab countries. The imported workers can be paid less and treated badly. But it leaves a lot of locals without a job. In the wealthier Arab oil states this does not bother the unemployed, as they can collect adequate unemployment benefits and do as they please. But Iraq has too many people and not enough oil income for that, thus the crackdown on illegal migrant workers. But this labor exploitation is a form of corruption and the many companies using the foreign workers will fight back.
The Defense Ministry has bought 150 small satellite communications dishes for the military. The U.S. uses thousands of these devices, which gives headquarters and support units much better communications.
In the Kurdish north, Kurdish political leaders are increasing their criticism of the PKK and PJAK, the violent separatist movements in Turkey and Iran respectively. Decades of attacks and mayhem have accomplished nothing, and the PKK and PJAK bases in Kurdish controlled northern Iraq just bring attacks by Iranian and Turkish forces. These "invasions" don't go deep because the rebels have been persuaded to keep their bases close to the border. PKK and PJAK are popular among Kurds but the border violence is a growing problem for Iraqi Kurdish politicians. This is made worse by the PKK becoming more active in its alliance with the KCK (the Kurdish Communist Party). The KCK is seen as a larger organization that the PKK belongs to and which has many allies in non-communist political parties. The governing parties in the Kurdish north are seen as increasingly corrupt and that helps the KCK recruit more members. Iraqi Kurd leaders fear that they might have a potential leftist rebellion on their hands.
Iraq is shipping 2.6 million barrels of oil a day and will reach 3 million a day by the end of the year and 3.4 million next year. The ultimate goal is 6-7 million barrels a day, which is twice what Iraq was shipping in 1990, just before Saddam invaded Kuwait triggering two decades of war and unrest and a sharp cut in Iraqi oil exports. Iraq has the second (after Saudi Arabia) largest oil reserves in the world (11 percent of the world total). But three decades or war and unrest have limited development of most known reserves, and much more oil is believed to be waiting for discovery.
February 25, 2012: Turkish warplanes bombed PKK targets in northern Iraq.
February 24, 2012: A number of terror attacks, aimed at Shia Iraqis, killed 55 and wounded over 200. Al Qaeda later took credit and said this was another effort to cause a war between Shia and Sunni Iraqis. Al Qaeda has been working this strategy since 2004. Sunni radicals believe that if the Shia Iraqis can be angered enough there will be a civil war that, somehow, the Sunni minority (about 16 percent of the population) will win. This delusion has been popular in the Sunni community since 2003, and the belief in inherent Sunni superiority over Shia has been popular for over a thousand years. In reality, another round of civil war would see the Sunni Arabs slaughtered in large numbers and the survivors driven from the country. But such is the power of faith and self-delusion. The Sunni Arab groups don't really want to take on the security forces, as the terrorists have been running out of money and just want the police to leave terrorist groups alone. The Sunni Arab terror organizations are spending more of their time committing crimes like robbery, extortion, and kidnapping in order to raise badly needed money. These terrorist groups have payrolls and other expenses and without sufficient income they will disappear. The Saddam era cash is long gone, as are donations from foreign Sunni Arabs who approve of the effort to put the Sunni Arabs back in charge in Iraq.
February 23, 2012: Over 30 died during terrorist attacks in Baghdad. The main targets were police and Shia Arabs.
February 22, 2012: The government announced more security personnel have been sent to the Syrian border. More military recon aircraft are monitoring the border as well. This is all an attempt to try and halt the flow of Sunni fighters (and terrorists) to Syria where the Sunni majority has been fighting their Shia dictatorship for nearly a year. Iraqi Sunni terror groups have backed the Syrian Sunnis and Iraqi smugglers have been doing very well moving weapons into Syria, where the rebels will pay high prices. The Iraqi government, to please Iran (the long-time sponsor of the Syrian dictatorship), is trying to stop this aid for the rebels. But the effort is largely for show as it only increases the time, and money, the smugglers need to get their goods into Syria.
February 21, 2012: In several attacks four were killed and 28 wounded in Baghdad. One of the dead was an army general killed by gunmen.
February 19, 2012: Several attacks in and around Baghdad left 29 dead. Most were killed by a suicide car bomb at a police academy.
February 16, 2012: The government says that some of the bodyguards of Sunni Arab vice president Tariq al Hashimi, who is accused of running a death squad and other terrorist activities, confessed that their group committed 150 assassinations and bomb attacks over the last three years. The national government has arrested dozens of bodyguards and other associates of Hashimi and charged them with being behind the many assassinations of Shia government officials. The government demands that Sunni Arab politicians halt support for terrorists in their communities. Hashimi fled to sanctuary in the Kurdish north and insists he is innocent.
February 15, 2012: South of Baghdad gunmen attacked the home of a policeman, killing his wife and two children. Both Islamic terrorists and gangsters use this sort of violence to gain the cooperation of police.