16 May 2008

Iraq News (16 May)

The Good: A Iraqi Parliament member has claimed that national reconciliation has taken place amongst quarreling blocs, which is a way to convince investors in Egypt to bring in more money. Arab investors have been sluggish to invest in Iraq due to security issues and perceived corruption within the Iraqi government. However, Iraq doesn't have any trouble bringing in money from religious tourists to its holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. Militia thugs have relocated their operations to the northwestern Baghdad neighborhood of Shula (a Mahdi Army stronghold), but according to Long War Journal, US and Iraqi Forces are taking them down. Mosul operations continue to dismantle terrorist networks in what the media is describing as house to house.

The Bad: CNN breaks the news that recent clashes by Iraqi Security Forces are endemic of a Shi'ite power struggle. That might've been news in late March, but recent operations in Mosul highlight that the Iraqi-led offenses are primarily to take down thugs (regardless of sect, ethnicity), and that's a good thing. A woman and a physician were killed by stray bullets in Mosul. Iranian diplomats had their car shot up by gunmen enroute to the Kadimiyah neighborhood of Baghdad. Until the thugs who did this are found, expect Iran to blame the U.S. for shooting up the car (no, we don't target unarmed diplomats, even if they are from Iran).

The Ugly: A VA email leaked that they should consider refraining from diagnosing PTSD for our brothers and sisters to save money. Government-funded health care at it's best! Of course, vets don't have any other choice besides what Uncle Sam gives us. A big middle finger goes out to the VA today for this bombshell. A FOIA request is in the works. The Webb GI Bill passed the house, but it's tied up with a timetable for withdraw for troops in Iraq. That thing's DOA, just like the last Democrat-proposed Iraq withdrawals. Why can't they just pass the Webb GI Bill without tying it up with other legislation (it has bipartisan support)? Damnit, I hate politics.

Iranian Diplomats Shot (photo from Reuters)