24 February 2008

The Good, Bad, and Ugly of Iraq News (24 Feb)

The Good: Despite a lot of hullabaloo in the media about one lousy attack on the IZ, Baghdad violence is way down from 2007 according to Brig. Gen. Milano. He cites numerous statistics to support this statement, and the recent Sadr ceasefire will help things remain that way. Also, 11 Al-Qaeda operatives were killed by Iraqi Security Forces near Tikrit.

The Bad: The fog of war is certainly in effect up north as both Turkey and the terrorist group PKK are citing different numbers of combatants killed in northern Iraq. The PKK have claimed to have downed a Turkish helicopter as well. There has been significant international pressure for Turkey to conduct "limited" operations to avoid civilian casualties and destruction of infrastructure. But, hey, at least the oil is still flowing to Turkey from a pipeline in Iraq. No need for a silly thing like war to upset the price for a barrel of crude.

The Ugly: More upcoming mass pilgrimages and religious festivities in the holy city of Karbala. I'm definitely no Theology scholar so I have trouble keeping up with them all, I just hope the pilgrimage goes off without loss of life. Hopefully, those members of that strange Mahdi cult who launched attacks during Ashura stay out of the mix for this one.