Mortar Shells Kill 10 in downtown Baghdad US Mil organizes Sunni Neighborhood Watch

The NYT reports that the US military is setting up neighborhood militias in Sunni Arab areas, called “Guardians,” to patrol and curb Salafi Jihadi gangs. Two questions come to mind. Why is it that those hundreds of thousands of Iraqi police cannot do this job (it is after all their job)? And, will the Sunni Guardians be loyal to the Shiite government of PM Nuri al-Maliki, most of whose Sunni Arabs have jumped ship?

American military thinkers and officials are saying that Britain has lost Basra, that the British departure from the city “could be ugly,” and that in the aftermath a major fight among Shiite militias may break out in Iraq’s only major port. The British, who seem intent on leaving over the next year, defend their work in the city. There are fears that British preparations to leave, and to allow the political and military situation in Basra to be what it will be, may enter into fierce congressional debates in the US around the awaited Sept. 15 report on Iraq by Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

The US military hasn’t found any Iranian trainers in Iraq or any training camps, but like Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, that you can’t find them doesn’t mean they are not there. What I cannot understand is why the Pentagon needs Iranians in Iraq as a plot device. The Iraqi Badr Corps, tens of thousands strong, was trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and it has been alleged that some Badr corpsmen are still on the Iranian payroll. It is the paramilitary of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, America’s chief ally in Iraq. What would the IRGC know that Badr does not? Why bother to send revolutionary guardsmen when the country is thick with Badr fighters anyway (who have all the same training)? I think the US is just embarrassed because Badr is its major ally in Iraq, and Pentagon spokesmen are over-compensating by imagining Iranian training camps inside Iraq. What an idea. I mean, don’t we have, like, satellites that would see them? Wouldn’t they be visible on google earth? Every day the Pentagon b.s. about Iran gets more fantastic and frantic. Methinks some people, like Patton, are upset that the politicians always pull them back and leave them one more war to fight.

The Baltimore Sun reports that the US military will draw back down the extra 30,000 troops inserted into Iraq from the escalation called ‘the surge’ beginning in March, 2008. Presumably Bush will attempt to influence the fall, 2008 presidential campaign by attempting to make it appear that Iraq is going well enough to allow such a draw-down. The article also addresses the Pentagon’s war of words against Iran.

Al-Hayat reports in Arabic that moves are afoot to create a dissident alternative to the 4-party alliance (Da’wa, Supreme Council, & the 2 Kurdistan parties).

Reuters reports that:

‘ * BAGHDAD – Ten people were killed and 42 wounded by four mortar rounds which fell in a residential area of Shi’ite al-Obeidi district in eastern Baghdad, police said. ‘

McClatchy reports that police found 14 bodies in the streets of Baghdad on Sunday, victims of sectarian death squads. Other significant incidents not quoted above:

‘ Around 9 a.m. Several mortar shells slammed into the Green Zone.

- Around 11 a.m. A parked motorcycle bomb in Al Khulafaa square killed one civilian. . .

- Around 1:30 p.m. Gunmen stopped a bus in Bab Al Muatham area. The gunmen took 15 passengers to Al Azza area in Al Fadhil.

- Around 2 p.m. A road side bomb not far away from Mishin compound. 1 civilian was killed and 5 were injured. . .

Kirkuk . . . Two IEDs targeted police vehicles in Kirkuk. The first explosion targeted a police vehicle; police responded and sent more police vehicles to the site. Another bomb went off. 3 policemen were injured according to police.’

At the group blog, the Taliban in Afghanistan seek to rebrand themselves, and reach out to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization .