Today and yesterday are no exception and several significant incidents happened, or still happening, in the fourth corners of the country. Except for Baghdad which remained quiet today.
In the west, particularly in Anbar, the Anbar Awakening Council announced the capture of what appears to be an intelligence treasure. This is what sheik Hameed al-Hayis, a member of the Council told al-Sabah yesterday:
We captured so many of their document and these contain the names of al-Qaeda groups in the province, the letters that were exchanged among those groups, the surveillance reports they were filing to their Emirs about civilian people of Ramadi like clerics and college students as well as details of trials [and executions] to which innocents were subjected.
The al-Qaeda terrorists in Anbar continue their campaign to terrorize the population that is turning against them. This morning another attack with a chlorine gas bomb struck western Ramadi killing and injuring dozens of civilians and policemen.
No wonder al-Qaeda is sending more of their suicide bombers to murder the people of Anbar; a friend of mine who visited the area just two days ago said he saw a crowd of young men near an ISF recruiting center that was "larger than anything else I had seen in Baghdad"
In Diwaniya, the mid-south city to which many Mehdi army militiamen and commanders escaped from the Baghdad operation, Iraqi and US forces are clashing with elements of the Mehdi army.
The reports we're getting show that 5 were killed and 15 others were injured in the fighting so far.
Al-Arabiya TV reported that the joint force has secured at least two sectors of the city and has also found 2 bomb factories during the ongoing house to house search operations.
It's worth nothing that the situation in the mid-south region provinces has been tense for some time; over the last month or so there have been several minor clashes between the local security forces and the Mehdi army in several places in and around Hilla just north of Diwaniya.
Radio Sawa has a report that adds to the available details on today's clashes:
A security official who spoke on condition of anonymity said that paratroopers from the 25th US division arrived in the city on Thursday and on Friday dawn surrounded four districts in the center of the city. The neighborhoods are Jumhoriya, Urooba, Iskan and Nahda.
The sources added that 1,400 Iraqi soldiers arrived from Najaf, Babil, Wasit and Kerbala, supported by an American force, to conduct raids on militants' hideouts.
Official MNF-I report here.
Further south in Basra where 4 British soldiers were killed on early Thursday the police commander thinks the IED that was used in the attack was of a new unusual type, perhaps an EFP. The whole thing just makes me wonder if this was the "gift" Nejad was actually referring to.
In Nineveh in the north it looks like the operation that was announced a few days ago is making some progress. Iraqi and US forces killed 8 militants and captured 179 suspects during recent operations across the province, New Sabah reports:
Governor Duraid Kashmoula said the Iraqi security forces are performing a security operation similar to operation Imposing Law in Baghdad. The goal is to prevent terrorists from establishing bases in Mosul…Soldiers from the 2nd and 3rd Divisions of the Iraqi army and Iraqi police raided targets suspected of being used as bomb-factories and weapon caches. 179 suspects were arrested and 8 militants killed during the two-day operations. The security forces have also found various light arms, munitions and bomb-making materials.
The Iraqi police confiscated amounts of black market fuel [illegally taken from gas stations] and this fuel will be used to run the generators and vehicles of the security forces to increase their capability of performing more frequent patrols and provide better security to the province.
Finally on a more cheerful note, Iraqi Christians in Kurdistan started their 12 day-long festival to celebrate the new Assyrian-Babylonian year.
You'd think it's 2008 or something? Wrong!
It's year 6757 in the calendar of ancient Mesopotamia and it marks the anniversary of the beginning of a long love story between Tammouz, the god of fertility (or war? Not sure) and Ishtar the goddess of love and beauty.