Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered the arrest of 300 persons in Karbala connected to the Mahdi Army on Friday, blaming it for the outbreak of violence in the holy Shiite city on Tuesday. Apparently many of the arrests were arbitrary in the sense that being in the Mahdi Army was the basis for the arrest rather than any evidence the person had actually done something wrong. Since al-Maliki came to power with the votes of the Sadrists, he risked losing his political power base by cracking down hard on them.
The LA Times has more on the cholera outbreak in northern Iraq. Apparently those most afflicted are Arab refugees displaced up to Sulaymaniya by the fighting in Baghdad and elsewhere. If internally displaced persons (IDP’s) are at greater risk of falling ill, Iraq is in big trouble. There are over a million such.
Republican members of Congress and one Democrat were aboard the plane that took small arms or perhaps RPG fire in Iraq on Friday. Apparently these visitors are often snowed by the Pentagon and by Iraqi politicians. Might be harder this time.
Arms the US supplied to the new Iraqi army and security forces appear to have ended up in the hands of PKK Kurdish terrorists conducting operations against the Turkish military and police in Anatolia. The reputation of terrorist-abetters is unlikely to do us much good in the near or medium term.