27 June 2008

Iraq News (27 June)

The Good: Major General Hertling has said that Al-Qaeda is defeated in northern Iraq, and U.S. forces are pursuing remaining elements into small towns and villages. This comes after news that the emir of the Islamic State of Iraq in Mosul has been killed in a U.S. airstrike. Long War Journal reports that the Mahdi Army has been decimated, while many young men in Sadr City (known to be the home base of JAM) are employed in the neighborhood guard to provide security. These employment opportunities are seen as crucial to provide alternatives to joining the militia, much like the Sons of Iraq program has kept many young Sunni men from joining the insurgency.

The Bad: The Middle East Times reports deteriorating security conditions in Mosul as they say the Iraqi Army is unable to maintain order in Iraq's third largest city. A bombing on a group of Sunni sheikhs has killed 3 Marines from MNF-W and many civilians west of Baghdad. More on our friend, Nicole Suveges, from the Washington Post. Iraq's soccer coach gets canned for losing 1-0 to Qatar. An editorial from a town in Wisconsin says Americans aren't sacrificing enough and are in a Sept. 10 mindset. Agreed.

The Ugly: The Wall Street Journal reports that the July 31 deadline for the Status of Forces Agreement, which will allow U.S. forces to operate starting in 2009, may be delayed. Disputes between the U.S. military and the Iraqis remain over some possible civilians killed in recent escalation of force incidents.

Neighborhood Guard in Sadr City (from Reuters)