Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pesh merga

AFP reports that Jalawla today was the site of a raid by the Iraqi police on the Kuridsh pesh merga and, citing Salah Koikha ("spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan"), 1 pesh merga member was killed during the raid. Reuters adds that 1 Iraqi police office officer died.

The raid took place in Diyala Province where the pesh merga has prevented Iraqi forces from enterting certain areas such as Khanaquin (see Monday's snapshot). From India's Economic Times' "Oil wealth fans ethnic flames in Iraqi town:"

In a mirror image of Kirkuk, the Kurdish town of Khanaqin near the border with Iran that holds sizeable oil reserves is being exposed to ethnic tensions and rival territorial claims. The local Kurdish political leadership warns that the area could see an ethnic explosion, as they call for Khanaqin to join the adjoining autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq.

They want to rebuild the town through the international oil boom. "What we are telling the government is simple. Implement the constitutional provision for a referendum for people in Khanaqin to decide their future," said Mala Bakhtyar, a senior member of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the Kurdish political party of Iraq's President Jalal Talabani.

"If they don't do that, then there will be political trouble and military trouble. Yes, there will be an explosion of violence," he told a journalist touring the town in Diyala province. Along the 170-kilometre (110-mile) road from Baghdad to Khanaqin are grim reminders of trouble.

The New York Times takes the second day in print off from Iraq. Which is all the more hilarious when you consider the never-writes-about-Iraq Gail Collins shows up with an insufferable column today where she briefly marvels over how Iraq has fallen off the radar.

In some of today's violence, Reuters notes a Mosul car bombing that claimed 1 life, a Baghdad roadside bombing that injured one police officer, Iraqi soldiers shot dead 2 suspects in Mosul and a shooting attack on "a member of Baaj local council and his wife" in which the man wounded.

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