Jordan recently broke up an Islamic terrorist plot to carry out several bombings in Jordan. In the wake of that, Jordanian police handed over captured emails to Iraq showing that al Qaeda in Iraq was strong enough to have provided assistance to the Islamic terrorists in Jordan. Al Qaeda is fairly secure in Sunni Moslem areas of Iraq, especially the east (Anbar Province) and the north (where Sunni Arabs are threatened with expulsion by Kurds, Turks, and other minorities long persecuted by Sunni Arabs). Many Iraqi Sunni Arabs believe that eventually the Sunni Arabs will be back in charge, as they have been for centuries. The Shia Arabs are seen as incapable of running a country. Old prejudices die hard in this part of the world.
So far this year Turkey has conducted 55 operations against PKK (Turkish Kurdish separatists) in northern Iraq, killing 427. Dozens more were captured in raids, but most of the operations were air raids using F-16s and smart bombs.
Despite continued criticism from the United States, Iraq continues to allow Iran to fly weapons and military personnel into Syria via Iraq. Two months ago Iraq gave in to foreign pressure (especially from the United States) and agreed to inspect all Iranian aircraft passing through Iraq on their way to Syria and check for weapons. Iran protested but agreed. In practice Iraq did not inspect most Iranian aircraft, and those that were forced to land for inspection were found to be clean (apparently because the Iranians were warned in advance). There is ample evidence on the ground that weapons, spare parts, and all manner of military equipment are being flown in from Iran via Iraq. Meanwhile, Iraq complains that it simply does not have the resources to halt and inspect all the Iranian air freighters passing through on their way to Syria. In more practical terms, the Shia dominated government of Iraq feels obliged to remain on friendly terms with Iran. For one thing, Iran is run by a Shia religious dictatorship, and so far the Iraqi elected Shia officials have managed to persuade the Iranian leaders not to support that minority of Iraqi Shia Arabs, who want to establish a religious dictatorship in Iraq by force (and terrorism). There’s also the problem that Iranian efforts to become the leader of the Moslem world has brought it into direct confrontation with the Gulf Arabs (especially Saudi Arabia, a Sunni kingdom where the Saud family justifies its rule by being the caretakers of Islam’s most holy shrines). Iran believes it would be a better guardian of those shrines and all of Arabia (and all of its oil). This makes even Iraqi Shia Arabs nervous because this is all about the Indo-European Iranians wanting to dominate the Semitic Arabs. The Iranians have been kicking the Arabs around for thousands of years and that only slowed down a bit when the Arabs managed to convert Iranians to Islam 1400 years ago. Now that conversion is backfiring and all Arabs are nervous about it.
Increasing the tension with the autonomous northern Kurds, the Arab dominated Iraqi government is preventing commerce between the Kurdish north and the rest of the country. Iraqi police have been preventing some trucks from coming from or entering the Kurdish north. This is supposed to have stopped because of a recent truce between the Kurds and Iraq, but some merchants complain that the police are still at it.
December 1, 2012: Terrorism related deaths rose slightly in November, to 166 (compared 144 in October). Half these deaths occurred from the 26th to the 30th, as Islamic terrorists sought to commemorate religious holidays with many deaths. The public blames the higher November death toll on the security forces, which have let up on their strict security controls (because of public pressure to do so). September was the most deadly, in terms of terrorist violence, in two years, with 365 killed (182 civilians and terrorists, 88 police, and 95 soldiers). This was more than twice the number of deaths in August (164). Deaths were 326 in July and 282 in June. The sharp decline in October and November was due to several factors. First, the increased terrorist activity has resulted in a lot of police action and the terrorist groups have suffered heavy losses. The Sunni terrorist groups could not sustain the level of violence they began in January (when 225 died). Second, pressure from the government (in reaction to public anger) produced more tips from citizens, more neighborhood self-defense groups, and more effective performance by the police. Third, some Sunni Islamic terrorists have gone to fight in Syria, where the Sunni majority is rebelling against the Shia minority dictatorship.
November 29, 2012: In the south three more Sunni terrorist bombs went off, killing 39 Shia.
November 27, 2012: North of Baghdad gunmen with silenced pistols invaded the home of the leader of an anti-terrorist Sunni militia and killed seven people (including three children aged two, three, and seven). This degree of brutality is intended to discourage Sunni Arabs from opposing Sunni Islamic terrorists.
November 26, 2012: In the north Kurdish and Iraqi Army commanders agreed to withdraw the additional forces they had brought into the area around Kirkuk (a city the Kurds claim as part of their autonomous state but that the central government will not relinquish control of). The central government had ordered the army to bring in more troops and the Kurds responded. For several weeks now the tension has been getting worse and, to avoid a civil war, the Iraqi government backed off. The Kurds withdrew their reinforcements as well.
November 23, 2012: Syrian rebels declared a clear route from Iraq to most of Syria is now open, with the capture of the last Syrian Army base on the Iraq border. While the Iraqi government is an unofficial ally of the Syrian government, it is still not willing to go to war with its Sunni Arab minority (about 15 percent of the population). Since the Syrian border is largely populated with Sunni Arabs (often related to Sunni Arabs on the Syrian side) the Iraqi government does not interfere with Iraqi Sunnis aiding Syrian rebels.
November 19, 2012: The U.S. placed sanctions on Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior commander in Hezbollah who was released from prison by Iraq last week. Daqduq was captured by American troops five years ago and charged with killing Americans and Iraqis. When the U.S. left they agreed to let Iraq try Daqduq. An Iraqi court that dismissed the American evidence and set the Hezbollah leader free. This outraged the United States. Daqduq has apparently returned to Lebanon.