Reported Security Incidents
A civilian is killed by unknown gunmen in front of his house on Saturday. No other information now available.
As thousands demonstrate to protest removal of the Kurdish flag from government buildings, a protestor sets himself on fire. The man is reported to have survived.
Other News of the Day
The Associated Press is reporting that the U.S. has abandoned plans to keep 5,000 troops in Iraq in 2012, and will retain only 160 embassy guards.
However, Administration spokespeople deny this report, saying that negotiations with the Iraqi government over this issue continue.
Iraqi PM Nuri al-Maliki implies that U.S. troops might remain as trainers, but will not receive immunity from Iraqi law. This has been the sticking point all along. The U.S. has said it will not leave troops in Iraq without immunity, and will find another way to provide training should Iraq fail to grant it. -- C
This AFP story has more details on the demonstration in Khaniqin. This territorial dispute between Arabs and Kurds threatens the integrity of Iraq and is one of the major concerns which has made the U.S. reluctant to fully withdraw. -- C
Juan Cole (who, contrary to some accusations, was absolutely opposed to the U.S. intervention in Iraq from the beginning) discusses the history of the Status of Forces Agreement and the political developments which have lead to the coming withdrawal. He concludes:
And so that is the way the war ends. No great demonstrations in the US against it in its twilight. It is ending almost by default, because the Iraqi parliament can seldom get real legislation done, the US is forced to adhere to the 2008 SOFA. In the background, the bombs are still going off and the country is riven by ethnic disputes. The US will receive no benefit from its illegal war of aggression, no permanent bases, no bulwark against Iran, no new Arab friend to Israel, no $14 a barrel petroleum– all thing things Washington had dreamed of. Dreams that turned out to be flimsy and unsubstantial and tragic.
A British soldier is shot dead on Saturday while guarding a checkpoint in Helmand Province. ISAF announces that two soldiers were killed on Saturday, apparently including the fatality announced by Britain, but giving no further information. Apparently the British soldier was actually a Ghurka from Nepal.
The Governor of Paktia Province survives an assassination attempt as he arrives at this office, but a police officer and municipal employee are killed, and four civilians wounded. Three of the attackers are dead, and one is believed to have escaped. The AFP account is slightly different, in that it does not specify the Governor as the target of the attack. It also says the municipal employee was killed by a car bomb left behind by the attackers, and does not mention the dead police officer.
Afghanistan's National Directorate of Security is investigating itself over accusations that its agents beat a prisoner nearly to death in Khost in September. This follows a UN report that Afghan security forces routinely torture prisoners. Apologies for annoying pop-up ad for sausage, in Spanish. -- C
German President Christian Wulff makes a surprise visit to Afghanistan, apparently in preparation for a conference on Afghanistan to be held in Bonn in December. In case you're wondering why you've never heard of Wulff, the German presidency is a largely ceremonial office.