Within the last year, the media--and its customers--stopped caring about Iraq. As Violence increased in Central Asia and decreased in Iraq, our nation's focus returned to Afghanistan. Since it seems like an afterthought that US forces leave Iraq at the rate of a Brigade a month, I thought I would send out an update on the region, and fall just short of making a prediction on Iraq's future.
The most immediate news is that Iraq's government has delayed upcoming elections. Originally scheduled for January, they won't be held until March. Security is still the primary concern, but Iraqi military forces are making strides. A recent bomb plot locked down all of Baghdad and the result was quite a bit of gossip well described by the LA Times.
Thomas Ricks has an ongoing series on the "unraveling" in Iraq. His posts are informative, pointing attention back to the forgotten war. His pieces are more predictive than actual reporting, but I generally think that a Kurdistan state of some sort will emerge in the near future.
This is a sobering reminder that despite the progress, we have quite a way to go in Iraq. The situation could sour at any time. This NPR article describes the slow economic progress due to continuing corruption. At the same time, their oil production increases.
How could I not include a story on fashion in a link dump? Here NPR describes one of the odd ways Iraqis are expressing their growing freedoms compared to the post-invasion chaos.
It also seems like I can't do a link dump without mentioning Blackwater nee Xe (until they change their name again). In this case, Iraqis were forced to settle lawsuits company, and now want just compensation.
Whether or not Iraq unravels, the length of time between deaths for US Soldiers is increasing. (Remember, in 2003 and 2004 violence was very low as well.)
Finally, quite a bit has been made of the movie The Hurt Locker; look at the award it's won. I still haven't seen this--I blame living in Italy--but as soon as Eric C emails in a Netflix DVD, I'll have a chance to see it. Eric C predicts it will be nominated for Best Picture next month (and he isn't the only one).
(Side link: on TR's blog he describes the six things on General Casey's mind. General Casey didn't use an Army-Level AAR to develop them but it kind of relates to what we said.)