To make up for my dearth of Iraq blogging as of late, here's a bunch of links for you all at once.
On Sunday, Kurdish rebels of the PKK crossed the border into Turkey to ambush Turkish troops, killing 12 and kidnapping 8. Predictably, this has provoked howls of outrage from Turkey and threats of retaliation, which has already approved raids into Kurdish Iraq to hunt down Kurdish fighters. The Iraiq government, fearing the worst, has offered to assist the Turks in shutting down PKK incursions. For its part the PKK has offered to negotiate a cease-fire with the Turks, an offer that has so far been turned down by Turkish authorities. In the meantime, Kurdish fighters of the PJAK-an offshoot of the PKK-are waging their own guerilla campaign against and inside of Iran prompting fears of a more general conflict in that region as well.
Casualties among American troops and Iraq civilians have dropped in Iraq, but officials in Iraq see a growing threat in the numerous and heavily armed Shiite militias. Fighting in Southern Iraq continues between rival Shiite factions. U.S. forces continue to rely heavily on airpower to battle militias in densely populated urban areas, and predictably, civilians die as a result.
UPDATE: In a sign of either stupidity or desperation, President Bush has offered to launch strikes against PKK rebels in Kurdistan. If you think it's probably a bad idea to enrage our only steadfast allies in Iraq by bombing fighters they are sympathetic to, join the club. The article points out that Bush administration officials are also pushing Kurdish authorities to restrain the PKK, a position that make considerably more sense.
Also, the Congressional Budget Office is reporting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost $2.4 trillion over the next decade, including $705 billion in interest, reflecting the fact that most of the money used to fight the wars is borrowed. Iraq accounts for about 80% of that total, or around $1.9 trillion.
UPDATE II: In comments, a reader notes the odd position U.S. officials are in, having quietly sanctioned the PJAK raids into Iran while at the same time trying to stop PKK raids into Turkey. Odd indeed, when both groups are so closely related. One has to wonder what U.S. officials think the possible outcome can be of all this game-playing, after the incredible short-sightedness of condemning a group when it attacks our ally and (quietly) praising it when it attacks an enemy. More war seems to be the only natural outcome.