January 22, 2011: Sunni Arab terrorists, despite their much reduced numbers, still carry out enough spectacular attacks to make headlines, and give politicians an opportunity to demand action. The Shia dominated government and security forces are full of people who hate Sunni Arabs, and despite the official policy of getting along, the hatred comes out in many little ways, every day. Centuries of Sunni Arab domination, followed by several decades of Sunni Arab terror directed by Saddam Hussein, has created a lot of Shia radicals who dislike Sunni Arabs a lot. The U.S. convinced the Shia who run Iraq that it was possible to make peace with their Sunni Arab minority. But this effort did not convince all Sunni Arabs, providing a large enough pool (several hundred thousand people) willing to tolerate (not inform on) Sunni Arab terrorists operating among them. This gave the Sunni Arab terrorists a base, from which to build bombs, recruit and plan new attacks. Going after this base would mean arresting, killing or driving out of the country a large chunk of the Sunni Arab population. While Shia radicals are fine with that, most Iraqis are not. So in the meantime, the Sunni Arab terrorists have their base in the Sunni Arab community, making it possible to continue attacks on non-Moslems, Shia (who they consider heretics) and Sunni Arabs who disagree with them (and are not considered "true-Moslems" as a result.) Sunni Arab terrorists have killed over 140 people in the last week, and wounded over 300.
January 21, 2011: For the third day in a row, there was a major terror attack. Today's used two suicide car bombs to attack Shia pilgrims in Karbala (a Shia holy city), and killed over 60 and wounded twice as many. In the north, another suicide car bomb killed two policemen and a civilian.
January 20, 2011: In the north, two suicide bombs left 16 dead.
January 19, 2011: North of the capital, a suicide bomber managed to get into a police recruiting center, and set off a bomb that killed sixty. Everyone coming in was supposed to be frisked, so police have to suspect a bribe, or a new bomb design.
Interpol has accepted 47 Saudi Arabian arrest warrants for suspected terrorists believed to be in other countries. Most are thought to be in Yemen, Afghanistan or Pakistan, but four are believed to be in Iraq. Interpol has requested that all nations detain any of these suspects. That won't be easy, because these al Qaeda suspects tend to hang out where in areas the police avoid.
January 17, 2011: Like Japan after World War II, Iraqis look back on the 1991 Gulf War as the beginnings of their current sufferings. Iraqis see themselves as victims, not aggressors. This attitude annoys their neighbors, particularly Kuwait (that Iraq invaded in August 1990, triggering the 1991 counterattack by Western and Arab armies). Sunni Arab states in the region were inclined to tolerate Saddam Hussein because he maintained Sunni Arab control of Shia Iraq. What the Sunni Arabs are really afraid of is Shia Iran. This Sunni-Shia animosity has been going on for over a thousand years. While many political and religious leaders preach Sunni-Shia tolerance, many more do not.
In Basra, a dozen terrorism suspects escaped their holding cells when someone, apparently after the payment of bribes, opened their cells and provided them with police uniforms.
January 7, 2011: Radical Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr's return (after four years) from the safety of Iran (with Iraqi guarantees for his safety) has featured public statements to his followers to remain calm, but to resist "occupiers" (American troops). Some of Sadr's advisors are urging him to return to the safety of Iran. There are many in Iraq who want Sadr dead, including the families of prominent Shia clerics and politicians that Sadr ordered killed between 2003-8. The code of revenge that is so popular in this region demands that action be taken eventually, no matter what.
January 6, 2011: Last month, for the first time in 20 years, Iraqi oil production hit 2.6 million barrels a day. The goal for the end of this year is 3 million barrels a day. The rebuilding and expanding of Iraq's oil production facilities are underway, and daily shipments of 4.4 million barrels is expected within four years. The ultimate goal is 6-7 million barrels a day.