Iraq: Fight For The Right To Steal

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June 29, 2010: Many things don't change in Iraq. For example;

After three months, the newly elected parliament still cannot agree on forming a new government (selecting a prime minister and other ministers). The current government, which basically lost the election, still has enough seats in parliament to force a stalemate, and is doing so, until its demands for more power in the new government are met.  Political compromise is not much practiced in this part of the world, with the "winner take all" approach favored.

In the north, Turkish and Iranian troops continue to cross the border, in pursuit of Kurdish separatists who are based in Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. The Iraqi government protests, but does little else. Turkey recently revealed that one air raid in northern Iraq last month, had killed over a hundred PKK separatists, and this was confirmed by Turkish army patrols.

The government still has problems on its Syrian and Iranian borders, where heavily armed smugglers, or terrorists, will still kill to cross. Dozens of border guards, police  and soldiers are killed or wounded each month in these clashes.

Bombings continue, although there are fewer and fewer of them. These attacks tend to be directed at Shia targets (large groups of civilians), Sunni leaders who oppose the continued terrorism,  or senior government officials (especially those in the security forces.) The Sunni Arab terrorist gangs appear to be short of cash, as they are increasingly caught engaging in crime. Robbery, kidnapping and  extortion are the big earners. These include some spectacular efforts, like the failed attempt to rob the central bank in Baghdad. And a more successful mass robbery of many jewelry shops in Fallujah, in the space of a few hours. Crimes like this cause more popular unrest, as it highlights corruption and incompetence in the security forces.

Growing electricity (and clean water) shortages (only about half the demand can be met) led to demonstrations and riots, and the resignation of the electricity minister. Corruption has crippled attempts to build more power plants, while continued economic growth has increased demand.

Iraqis are increasingly turning to their tribal leaders to deal with corrupt government officials (usually from another tribe.) This has led to threats and violence. Tribal leadership has long provided these kinds of services in the region.

June 18, 2010: Police found, and seized, the largest arms and bomb making operation ever. The warehouse in Baghdad contained thousands of weapons and bomb making components. A tip led the police to the location, and the arrest of several people working at the warehouse.

 

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