Sunni Mosque Demolished
Turks Plan Buffer Zone inside Iraq
An important, historic Sunni shrine south of Basra was blown up on Friday, raising fears of further Sunni-Shiite sectarian killings and reprisals, according to Alissa Rubin of the NYT. The town of Zubayr near Basra is largely Sunni, though it is situated in the overwhelmingly Shiite deep south. Iraqi authorities put the large southern port of Basra (pop. 1.3 mn.) under curfew as a result.
Turkey is considering setting up a narrow security zone inside Iraqi territory to stop Kurdish PKK rebels who have been given safe harbor in Iraqi Kurdistan from raiding into Turkish territory and killing and blowing things up. The United States has signalled its coolness to the bruited plan.
Turkish tensions with Iraq are affecting business and investor confidence and even having a global impact. Turkey is the world’s 18th largest economy and among the few substantial Middle Eastern states with a prospect of being a fairly developed country any time soon (outside the tiny oil states of the Gulf).
5 more US troops have been announced killed in Iraq. A US F-16 fighter jet crashed for unknown reasons.
Shanty towns are mushrooming in Iraq, posing severe social problems.