28 May 2008

Iraq News (28 May)

The Good
  • The Sarafiyah bridge in Baghdad has been reopened after a suicide truck bomber destroyed it in April 2007.
  • The Jordanian King has called for more economic and political support in dealing with Iraqis. Some Arabic nations have been hesitant to have strong diplomatic ties with the Shi'ite-dominated Iraqi government.
  • An oil smuggling gang in Basra has been detained.
The Bad
  • Former U.S. counter terrorism czar, Richard Clarke, has said that having U.S. forces in Iraq "helps Al-Qaeda". I would agree with him that a long-term presence is not beneficial to counter-terrorism, but U.S. forces have been instrumental in crushing extremist elements in Iraq by utilizing COIN strategy.
  • The Iraqi Accordance Front was supposed to end its boycott of nearly one year, but they have suspended negotiations. While security improvements have been tremendous in the last month, political progress has seriously lagged.
The Ugly
  • Australian OIF/OEF vets are reportedly "ashamed" that they have been kept out of combat roles in Afghanistan and Iraq. I've served with a lot of Aussies, and they're all awesome, but some people have that mentality that they need to see action (I'm not one of those, but I'm thankful there are people like that).
  • The State Department needs more of their Foreign Service Officers to volunteer for Iraq or they'll be "voluntold".
  • Sadr has called for protests on Friday because of the Strategic Framework Agreement between the U.S. and Iraq to extend the military presence beyond the U.N. mandate (which expires at the end of 2008). Last time Sadr called for protests in April, they were cancelled. Let's see how this turns out before we start freaking out.
Possible Sadr Protest on Friday (photo from Al-Jazeera English)