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Nov 27, 2006

More trouble in Iraq

Following the bombing in the Shiite slum of Sadr City, a lot of bad things have happened.

Al-Sadr loyalists took over a TV station. A crowd stoned the Prime Minister's convoy. A US military base caught fire thanks to mortars. The US figures the Iraqi insurgency can fund itself. And the UN reveals that Israel set mines in Lebanon during the last conflict, on top of the maybe one million cluster bombs. And on an unrelated note, the theft of polonium 210 and other weapons grade radioactive material is not encouraging.

Jordanian King Abdullah has made the observation that the region faces the prospect of three very destabalizing civil wars. This is, i think, a rational analysis deserving of some very immediate attention since all three situations are actually pretty close to the brink. This is of course in addition to the very strong possibility of Turkish intervention in Iraq's Kurdish north, (which could inspire Iranian entry or the entry of several neighboring countries).

On the positive side: The Israeli/Palestinian truce is mostly holding for now, and Israeli PM Olmert has said he's willing to do prisoner exchange and come to a comprehensive peace. I believe he is sincere on the first point, but I'm not sure about the second. Also, the upcoming report by the Iraq Study Group is likely to suggest that the US talk to Syria and Iran about how to stabalize the situation, but I'm not convinced either of them can really do much. I believe TIME is right to suggest Iraq is spinning out of anybody's control, even militia leaders'.

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