Sunni Arab guerrillas deployed an explosively formed projectile (a kind of roadside bomb) against 4 soldiers who had come in a humvee to investigate the sniping death of a fifth soldier. All four were killed. Unfortunately the LA Times calls the guerrillas “al-Qaeda-allied.” This terminology is from the Bush administration lexicon. I very much doubt that the LA Times knows whether the group that set the bomb is allied with al-Qaeda or not. Indeed, for all we know, this cell belonged to the Baath Party.
Note too that the Sunni Arab neighborhoods have the explosively formed projectiles, just as do the Shiite neighborhoods. Iran is not giving them to Sunnis, and certainly not to ‘al-Qaeda-allied’ Sunnis. Ipso facto, Iran cannot be the only source of EFPs, and it is not established except by allegation and innuendo that they are a source at all. (If the Sunni Arab guerrillas can make EFPs, so could Iraqi Shiites).
It is always surprising what you can conclusively deduce just from reading the newspapers without the spin that the administration and the Pentagon manages to implant in the stories.
17 corpses were found in the streets of Baghdad, more than double the number during a recent Shiite festival and consequent curfew. It suggests that Shiite death squads took off a few days for the festival, but are now back to work. It is a hell of a shift.
A group of corrupt businessmen with ties to the Italian Cosa Nostra was discovered to have arranged for the shipping of 100,000 sophisticated guns to the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, allegedly to be supplied to the police in al-Anbar Province. The MoI was supposed to inform the US military about any such purchases, in accordance with America’s colonial role in Iraq. It did not. The deal was worth $40 millon. Since the US has heavily armed the al-Anbar police, it is not plausible that they would need massive numbers of machine guns. The special police commandos of the Ministry of the Interior were largely recruited from the Badr Corps paramilitary of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council. It is likely that the weapons were for them and their friends on the outside in Badr. Since a intra-Shiite civil war is building between Badr and its rival, the Mahdi Army, and since Badr corps are targeted by Sunni Arab guerrillas as “Iranian” agents, Interior may have felt it needed to give its special commandos and the Badr an advantage in fire power. Since the Iraqi government was essentially bolstering a militia, and the US wants to repress the militias, it could not let the Americans know about the deal. Italian investigators accidentally turned it up while trying to catch Mafia drug smugglers. They forestalled the deal from going through. This time.
The assassination of the governor and police chief threaten to throw Diwaniya into a Shiite civil war between the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council and its Badr Corps paramilitary [aka the Diwaniya police) on the one hand, and the Mahdi Army on the other. Reuters says there are fears that if such a struggle broke out, it would not remain confined to Diwaniya.
Adnan Dulaimi, a leader of the Sunni fundamentalist Iraqi Accord Front (44 seats in parliament), went on a Dennis Miller style rant on Sunday, accusing the Shiite government and its Iranian allies of implementing a genocide [actually I'm told the word he used means something more akin to 'expulsions' or 'ethnic cleansing'] against Iraqi Sunni Arabs. He complained bitterly that none of the Sunni Arab states seemed to care what happened to Iraqi Sunnis. He accused the Iraqi Shiites of being Safavids, that is, of being loyal to Iran in such a way as to sacrifice Iraqi sovereignty for the sake of a dual loyalty to Tehran. Dulaimi is a little unbalanced, in my view, and has said extreme things before. The anecdotal evidence in the Arab press, however, suggests that lots of Sunnis in al-Anbar and elsewhere think exactly as Dulaimi does.
At the Napoleon’s Egypt blog: The Battle of the Nile.