Today the US military announced: "BAGHDAD -- A Multi National Corps - Iraq Soldier was killed by an improvised explosive device during combat related operations June 12.
The Soldier’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The names of the service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense Official Web site at http://www.defenselink.mil/ . The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member’s primary next of kin." The announcement brings to 4312 the number of US service members killed in the Iraq War."
In other reported violence, Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Kirkuk bombing which left one police officer injured and a Mosul roadside bombing which left two people injured and "Around 1 a.m. one American soldier was killed and two others were wounded while they were about to defuse a roadside bomb in Dhibat neighborhood in Samarra on Saturday, Iraqi police said. The coalition forces confirmed the incident." Reuters notes a Friday Baji roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 young girl and left seven people injured and 1 corpse was discovered in Tikrit.
Meanwhile the issue of oil-rich Kirkuk has still not been resolved. Martin Chulov's "Kurds lay claim to oil riches in Iraq as old hatreds flare" (Observer) reminds:
Over the past six years of violence in Iraq, oil has been the flashpoint in Kirkuk, a city forever home to a combustible mixture of races. Kurds have always claimed Kirkuk as a homeland; Turkomans, Assyrians and Arabs have at various times based empires here. The resulting melting pot of races and clans has never mixed comfortably.
Since the US declared its invasion a success in mid-2003, Kirkuk has seen its biggest population shift in centuries, with Kurds capitalising on a power vacuum in Baghdad and Arabs rushing to reinforce their foothold. Kurds have been accused of ethnically engineering Iraq's most divided city to lay the foundations for a nascent Kurdistan. Arabs have been accused of doing anything - including bombings - to stop the city from escaping their grasp.
All along, Kirkuk has had the feel of a boom-town-in-waiting, sitting on a subterranean lake of fabulous wealth that would one day create fortunes.
Last weekend, five US contractors were arrested by Iraqi security forces. One was released during the week with two more alleged to be released or about to be released. CNN reports that the two have been released ("late Friday") and that two remain in custody.
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