In the Arena


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This, from Juan Cole:

Only 2,000 of the expected 8,000 extra troops PM al-Maliki ordered to Baghdad had shown up by the beginning of February. The two Kurdish brigades coming from Irbil and Sulaymaniya, which were supposed to have 3,000 troops each, are not actually coming at full strength. One showed up with only 1500 troops. The other was only coming with 1,000. So that is 2,500, not 6,000. They won’t make their extra 8,000 that way.

With seven bombs detonated in Kirkuk over the weekend, and a looming battle between Kurds and Arabs for control of that oil-boom area, I would suspect the Kurdish troops have better things to do than patrolling Baghdad.

By the way, various administration officials–including the Secretary of State–have refused to acknowledge that the two brigades are actually Kurdish . I would guess the purpose is to perpetuate the fiction that there is actually an Iraqi Army. There may be a mixed battalion here and there, but I’d guess that most Iraqi troops are ethnic militias in camouflage. I’m so glad that we’re training more of them.