Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

What is going on in southern Iraq?

Two soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment were killed Friday in Numaniyah after being hit by an IED.  Anyone got an idea of what is going on down there? The smart money says this is the beginning of pre-withdrawal jockeying for power, with factions and splinters putting in bids by hitting American troops. "Sadrists ...

DVIDSHUB/Flickr
DVIDSHUB/Flickr
DVIDSHUB/Flickr

Two soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment were killed Friday in Numaniyah after being hit by an IED. 

Anyone got an idea of what is going on down there? The smart money says this is the beginning of pre-withdrawal jockeying for power, with factions and splinters putting in bids by hitting American troops. "Sadrists and splinter groups (PDB and AAH and JAM) trying to show they are driving us out," reports a friend at the State Department. "They are back from training sabbatical in Iran and his speech in early April unleashed them." War as politics by other means. But when is it not?

In Baghdad, meanwhile, an Iraqi general was blown up, three other government officials were assassinated, and churches were attacked.

Two soldiers from the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment were killed Friday in Numaniyah after being hit by an IED. 

Anyone got an idea of what is going on down there? The smart money says this is the beginning of pre-withdrawal jockeying for power, with factions and splinters putting in bids by hitting American troops. "Sadrists and splinter groups (PDB and AAH and JAM) trying to show they are driving us out," reports a friend at the State Department. "They are back from training sabbatical in Iran and his speech in early April unleashed them." War as politics by other means. But when is it not?

In Baghdad, meanwhile, an Iraqi general was blown up, three other government officials were assassinated, and churches were attacked.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1
Tag: Iraq

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