Guerrillas injured the Polish ambassador to Iraq on Wednesday with roadside bombs.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki again insisted on Wednesday that the Blackwater security firm should leave Iraq. He accused its employees of having been trigger-happy on several occasions. Al-Maliki began making this demand soon after the September 16 shootings at Nisur Square, which left 11 dead. The US authorities in Baghdad attempted to convince him that if he expelled the over 800 Blackwater guards, the US military would have to take their place, thus reducing the number of army and Marine fighters available to tackle the Sunni Arab guerrillas in Baghdad and elsewhere. Al-Maliki seems unimpressed with the argument, and faces an Iraqi public that is just boiling with rage about having private security men operating in their country outside the reach of both Iraqi and American law.
Russia is complaining that a private security firm mistreated its embassy personnel at Baghdad International Airport on Monday.
A Saudi cleric has given a fatwa forbidding Saudi youth from going abroad (i.e. Iraq) to fight jihad. Al-Hayat reports in Arabic Al-Maliki praised the Saudi fatwa. Arab nationalists such as Abdel Bari Atwan at al-Quds al-Arabi are incensed by it. Atwan can’t see much difference between the US occupation of Iraq and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, which lots of Saudis went to fight.
The US military captured a cache of information on foreign jihadis fighting in Iraq, with 500 names. Gen. Petraeus has made a special effort to track down and capture the foreign jihadis, who have been behind some massive and destabilizing bombings (though I think the US press over-emphasizes the foreigners and underestimates the indigenous Iraqi guerrilla groups).
The Kurdistan Regional Authority of northern Iraq has signed four more petroleum development contracts with foreign firms. Oil minister Husain Shahristani has warned that the federal government views these agreements as illegitimate and that the Iraqi government will abrogate them if Baghdad is not involved. The Kurds, who have their own private army and have said that no federal troops will ever set foot on their soil, are clearly not impressed.
What I can’t understand is why Armed Forces Radio carries Rush Limbaugh. Is he really who we want our troops to be listening to? Some of the vets are pretty ticked off at him, and Wesley Clark says that Limbaugh has long been dismissive of servicemen who don’t agree with his politics.