Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Iraq Update

Atrios forgot to re-key the locks, so how about some rapid-fire blogging until 5?

Looks like the hostage is now the weapon of choice in Iraq:

A Jordanian company working for the U.S. military decided Tuesday to withdraw from Iraq, complying with demands of kidnappers threatening to kill two employees, even as a senior Egyptian diplomat returned to work a day after being released by militants.

We're going to need a scorecard with groups like The Lions of Allah Brigade, Group of Death, Islamic Army, and The Holders of the Black Banners grabbing any foreigner they see.

Meanwhile Muqtada al-Sadr is flexing his muscles in the south:

In the southern city of Basra, about 50 armed members of firebrand Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's personal militia snatched about 20 people Monday during raids against people selling and drinking alcohol, police said. The detainees were later handed over to police. During the raids, militiamen dragged men out of their houses and smashed cartons of canned drinks, apparently beer, Al-Arabiya TV showed in broadcast footage.

The US Army is trying out a new strategy in Fallujah:  extortion.  They're dropping leaflets over the city that say:

If the security situation does not improve you will lose $102-million, which is already allocated and approved. This amount of money will be transferred to peaceful and open towns.

We ask the citizens of Fallujah to make way for multi-national forces to start the rebuilding of Fallujah, and to make way for American forces to move freely in the city and make real estimates for construction.

And why not?  We're already planning to pay 30,000 "corrupt, violent or useless" members of the New Iraqi Police Force $60 million to go away.  Your tax dollars at work.