26 May 2008

Iraq News (26 May)

The Good: With Al-Qaeda on the run in northern Iraq and militia fighters lying low in Basra and Baghdad, violence in Iraq for the week ending Friday was at ~300 security incidents. This is the lowest in more than 4 years. You just can't argue with statistics. Washington Post has some photos from a place you never hear about in Iraq (primarily because there is little violence), Kurdistan. However, the Prime Minister of the autonomous region has warned against U.S. forces making a hasty withdrawal. Stars and Stripes has an article on U.S. forces attempting to jump start the Iraqi economy through micro-grants. Time has a report on Prime Minister Maliki and Ambassador Crocker meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sistani as Najaf seeks reconstruction aid. Also, McClatchy reports that Basra is seeing a renewal of culture.

The Bad: While there have been major security improvements in Iraq, the political arena has not been as kind. Voices of Iraq reports that talks are destined to collapse between the Iraqi Accordance Front (largest Sunni Bloc in Parliament) and Prime Minister Maliki. The IAF has been boycotting the cabinet for months, and they were supposed to return their ministers to the government. That has yet to happen. Also, a U.S. soldier was killed in Salah ad-Din.

The Ugly: Trouble for Iraqi soccer (er football) as FIFA makes a decision on whether to allow Iraq to play in the world cup qualifier. Japan is looking to end the air support it provides to coalition forces in Iraq by 2009.

Kids Happy To See The Iraqi Army Provide Food Rations in Sadr City (photo from LA Times)