Four Marines died in Anbar province on Friday in a roadside bomb attack. Anbar, once the hotbed of the insurgency and the most dangerous place to be in Iraq has been touted as a success story in recent months as the "awakening councils" were formed and funded - and frequently armed by - the United States. (Some of us said a year ago that the weapons we were distributing were likely to be turned on American troops. We still hope we were wrong, but it doesn't look like we were from here.)
In other signs that the worm has turned in a most unwelcome direction, on Sunday a motorcade carrying Iraq's first lady to the National Theater to attend a cultural festival was attacked by a bomb blast. Four bodyguards were injured, but the First Lady was unharmed.
As the violence escalates, the American military spokespieces work al Qaeda into their responses to the press.
Despite new reports of violence, military spokesman Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll told reporters on Saturday that attacks carried out by al-Qaida declined last month after increasing earlier this year.The biggest problem in Iraq right now is intra Shi'ite conflict between the Sadr and Hakim factions, and twas ever thus. And neither of those Shi'ite factions is going to throw in their lot with the Sunni fundamentalists of al Qaeda. Hell, if America left Iraq tomorrow the five or six al Qaeda members in Shi'ite Iraq would be hot on our heels to avoid getting slaughtered, and everyone with three functioning brain cells knows it.
He said there was ''no place for al-Qaida'' to hide in Iraq and U.S. troops were continuing to hunt them down in Diyala province and the city of Mosul, where many are believed to have fled north from Baghdad.
Admiral, working the words "al Qaeda" in when there is no connection to current events is just a dog-whistle to the 28%ers and fortunately the American people are waking up to the scam.
If they weren't, Rudy "a noun, a verb and 9/11" Giuilliani would be the Republican nominee.
UPDATE I - PALE RIDER 9:45PM
This is huge--huge--and it undercuts EVERY SINGLE LIE we are being told about the war in Iraq if it's true:
A top Iraqi official said Sunday there was no "conclusive" evidence that Shiite extremists have been directly supplied with some Iranian arms as alleged by the United States.
Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Iraq does not want trouble with any country, "especially Iran."
Al-Dabbagh was commenting on talks this week in Tehran between an Iraqi delegation and Iranian authorities aimed at halting suspected Iranian aid to some Shiite militias.
Asked about reports that some rockets made in 2007 or 2008 and seized in raids against militias were directly supplied by Iran, al-Dabbagh replied: "There is no conclusive evidence."
Al-Dabbagh said Iraq wants friendly ties with Iran and stressed both countries share common interests.
"We can't ignore or deny we are neighbors. We do not want to be pushed in a struggle with any country, especially Iran," he told a news conference.
"We are fed up with past tensions that we have paid a costly price for because some parties have pushed Iraq (in the past) to take an aggressive attitude to Iran."
Now, if this guy is bought and paid for by Tehran, fair enough. The Iraqi government is an inherently corrupt, bribe-oriented kleptocracy only slightly less sadistic than the last one, and no one should confuse what's in place with anything resembling a Republic. But he's a member of the government WE are propping up with OUR troops. And every time a Republican goes in front of a camera right now, they are bleating about the connection between Iran and the attacks on our troops. So, either they need to make this guy go away or he's on to something. Given that the current pack of liars faces electoral oblivion and are paddling for their lives, I suspect there's a grain of truth to what the Iraqi minister is saying.
UPDATE II - PALE RIDER 10:55PM
There's plenty about the story I added to doubt, but I forgot to add one other crucial point--
The US probably isn't sharing much, if any, intelligence with the Iraqis. Anything we give them could be sold or traded away, so I'm certain that we have everything we really know about Iran as "close hold" and I also suspect we're spreading a fair amount of disinformation through the Iraqi government, as needed. We would do so in order to keep operations secure and to ferret out anyone we suspect of being a turncoat or an agent of a foreign power working against us. There's no incentive to share anything with the Iraqis--we don't know who will be in power five or ten years from now. We captured a treasure trove of documents that will never be properly sifted through or categorized in my lifetime. Dictatorship governments tend to favor a lot of paperwork.
GIVEN all of that, I still think there's plenty to doubt about the veracity of what we're being told. The spokesman could be the last honest man in Baghdad for all I know.