September 28, 2011: Foreign observers, including foreign auditors mandated for some development projects, all report that rampant corruption is crippling Iraqi government efforts to deliver basic services (security, electricity, education, medical, water) and build infrastructure (roads, bridges, public buildings, irrigation). Tribalism and a sense of entitlement enables public officials to steal at every opportunity, and this culture of theft causes politicians from different tribes or religious groups to cooperate on disrupting anti-corruption efforts. The problem is that, while most Iraqis are against corruption, they lose that desire for clean government when they themselves have an opportunity to steal government funds. Iraqi anti-corruption advocates are in despair over this, and the future of Iraq.
The corruption extends to politicians or the wealthy in general, having immunity from prosecution for any crimes. This is very unpopular with most Iraqis. Unfortunately, most Iraqis want the immunity for themselves more than they want others who have it to be prosecuted.
U.S. troops will be leaving in three months, and many Iraqis fear more religious (radical Shia militias and Sunni terrorists) violence, as well as more Iranian meddling. These attitudes are reinforced by the fact that U.S. troops based in the south, along the Iranian border, are doing a good job of interfering with Iranian efforts to smuggle in weapons and trained terrorists. With the Americans gone, will Iraqi troops be able to do as well? Most Iraqis think not.
September 26, 2011: Outside the northern city of Kirkuk, a booby-trapped car exploded and killed three people in a passing car.
After several false starts, Iraqi has finally ordered 18 F-16 fighters from the U.S., and made the initial payment on the purchase.
September 25, 2011: Turkish warplanes bombed PKK (Kurdish separatists) in two locations in the Kurdish controlled north. Turkish artillery shelled another location. The Kurdish government in northern Iraq tolerates this because they refuse to send their troops against the PKK, and also admit that the PKK are using these Iraqi bases to launch attacks in Turkey.
In the Shia holy city of Karbala, four bombs went off, killing 17 people. Attacks in Karbala are usually carried out by Sunni radicals who believe that if the Shia Iraqis can be angered enough, there will be a civil war that, somehow, the Sunni minority (about 16 percent of the population) will win. This delusion has been popular in the Sunni community since 2003, and the belief in inherent Sunni superiority over Shia has been popular for over a thousand years.
September 23, 2011: Seven people were killed in eight different terror attacks throughout the country.
September 21, 2011: Turkish warplanes bombed a suspected PKK base in the north. There have been at least 21 of these attacks in the last month.
September 19, 2011: The government has come out and called for the Syrian government to stop killing its own people. For most of this year, there have been numerous pro-democracy demonstrations in Syria. This change in official Iraqi attitude is in part because Iran has been pressuring the Syrian government to make peace with its people, and partly because the Syrian government still supports terrorists that operate in Iraq. The many Islamic radical groups (and older secular Arab radical outfits) in Syria have, for the most part, sided with the government. The terrorists have provided muscle to hunt down and capture or kill demonstration organizers. These terror organizations have had sanctuary in Syria for decades, and many feel that a reform government would likely end that. Islamic terrorism has become unpopular in the Arab world since al Qaeda’s large scale attacks against Moslems after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. Syria is the last decent place where a terror group can operate, openly and effectively. Somalia and Yemen are very distant second choices. Thus a lot fewer Islamic terrorists are sneaking into Iraq from Syria these days, as they are needed to fight the revolution in Syria. But the Iraqi government believes some foreign terrorists, possibly from Syria, participated in the massacre of 22 Shia pilgrims in western Iraq earlier this month.