23 June 2008

Iraq News (23 June)

The Good: The Christian Science Monitor talks about Sadr calling for restraint of his Mahdi Army during the Maysan province offensive; however, this could indicate they are trying to regroup. Parliamentary blocs are pushing for resolution on the Provincial Elections bill, which is viewed as a major step forward for political progress in Iraq. 6 more international oil companies have been added to develop Iraqi oil infrastructure. These companies are non-Western (Turkey, Vietnam, Pakistan, Thailand, Angola and Algeria), which kind of puts a hole in the "No Blood For Oil!" meme. Jordan has returned 2,500 antiquities which had been looted from Iraq. Looted artifacts are symbolic of the chaos and poor strategy of the initial invasion of Iraq, and returning antiquities can help make amends.

The Bad: A female suicide bomber has struck a courthouse in central Baqubah, killing 15 near a courthouse. A subsequent mortar attack has killed 10 Sawha fighters at a checkpoint. Iraq has lost to Qatar, 1-0, in the world cup qualifying round. However, McClatchy reports that the Iraqis can still pummel the Americans in soccer, as the guys from the 10th Mountain lost 9-0 to a Sahwa team. Obviously, it was a friendly game designed to promote mutual cooperation.

The Ugly: The NYT reports that news coverage of Iraq is in the crapper, as far as major news networks in America go. That's why you'll find a lot of links on these posts to Iraqi news sites that are in English. Frank Rich says that opinions by Americans of Iraq were decided in early 2007. If that is the case, Americans need to re-evaluate the situation as reality has changed immensely since then.

Atrocity in Diyala (photo from NYT)