12 May 2008

Iraq News (12 May)

The Good: Iraqi media is reporting that the Iraqi Army has killed one and detained 36 suspected terrorists in new operations in Mosul. The LA Times Mosul correspondent cites the inconvenience for the citizens due to the operations (the curfew and what not), but that Iraqis were tired of living with insecurity. Operations in Sadr City (Long War Journal has all the details) continue to construct the security barrier, which has been reported as 80% complete. This comes at a time when the Mahdi Army has backed off, but according to the WSJ, the decline in hostilities between the Mahdi Army and US/Iraqi forces was brokered by Iran last week! Shows the complexities of the US-Iraq-Iran tap dance. Kuwaiti officials have busted a drug smuggler coming from Iraq into Kuwait. Drug smuggling money is used to fund militia activity in southern Iraq (much like oil smuggling). The NY Times is reporting some significant progress in Basra as Iraqis are no longer intimidated by militia thugs.

The Bad:
CNN reports that the result of the UIA-Sadr Trend truce to get the Mahdi Army off the streets is still in question. For Sadr City, that place could flare up at any moment based on what Muqatada al-Sadr has to say, so it is prudent to keep an eye on all developments in the Shi'ite district. One soldier was killed in Baghdad by an IED yesterday.

The Ugly:
And you thought your job was hard! Michael Gordon of the NY Times has an in-depth look at route clearance teams (the guys who find IEDs) in militia-infested Sadr City. Teflon Don over at Acute Politics did this in Anbar back when it wasn't such a nice place. Not a job for the weak of heart. NY Times also reports some violence is still going on in Sadr City in today's edition.

Just Like When I Was a Lad (photo from Mosul by USAF)