The US is giving Turkey intelligence on the Kurdish Workers Party, according to Reuters. It seems to me that there is a contradiction between US calls for Turkish restraint and this attempt to supply Ankara with “actionable” intelligence. Is it that the US wants Turkey to hit some parts of the PKK in some parts of Iraq? Or is it just an attempt to make the Turks happy while not doing anything that the Kurdistan Regional Authority in Iraq could object to?
Meanwhile, the Turkish military says it killed 15 PKK fighters near the Iraqi border.
Basra’s police chief, Maj. Gen Jalil Khalaf, has admitted that Basra and the nearby port of Umm Qasr are basically under militia rule and that his policemen either cannot fight them or have been actively infiltrated by them. Gasoline and kerosene smuggling are worth billions in that area.
Nevertheless, PM Nuri al-Maliki is insisting that his forces are in a position to take over the security command in Basra. Al-Maliki seems to define such readiness as willingness to take on the “terrorists” by which he means the tiny number of Sunni covert operatives in the deep south. He doesn’t count the Shiite militias in that category.
The Iraqi government is dismissing warnings of the US Army Corps of Engineers that a major dam north of Mosul is structurally unsound and could collapse, with apocalyptic consequences for Iraq. This pie in the sky attitude about all the problems facing Iraq seems infectious. Maybe the Iraqi government caught it from Karl Rove, the Republican spinmeister who has convinced over a quarter of Americans that Bush is doing ‘a good job’ in Iraq! I have a sinking feeling that Mosul and Baghdad face their own Katrina (actually much, much worse) down the line, if the Iraqi officials are this unconcerned.
Oil production in Iraq is down from this quarter a year ago, but the capacity of the country’s production facilities has risen. The northern fields and pipelines are better guarded now.
An interview with Dahr Jamail on what the US military occupation looks like on the ground to ordinary Iraqis.
Michael Schwartz at Tomdispatch.com on the place of oil among US motivations for its invasion and occupation of Iraq.