The November 2 British Independent reported that US- NATO ally Turkey “has started to impose economic sanctions on Iraqi Kurdistan by stopping flights between Istanbul” and Irbil, capital of the Kurdistan autonomous region in northern Iraq.
The US military has increased air strikes in Iraq five-fold this year, according to data obtained by USA Today. The paper’s October 22 edition reported that the US military had carried out 1140 air strikes in the first nine months of this year, compared with 229 last year. The figures do not include attacks carried out by helicopters.
“Waving colourful banners and Kurdish flags, thousands of people demonstrated across northern Iraq today in protest at the growing threat of a big military incursion by Turkey to hunt down Kurdish rebels”, the October 18 London Times reported.
In an opinion piece printed in the October 16 Washington Post, 12 former US Army captains who served in Iraq between 2003 and 2006 argued that the US should either reinstate compulsory military service — “the draft” — or immediately withdraw all its troops from Iraq.

The death toll for US troops in Iraq in September — 66 — was the lowest monthly total since August last year when 65 US troops were killed. However, by the end of last month, a total of 804 US soldiers had died this year in Iraq — 301 more than in the first nine months of 2006.

The US-backed Iraqi government of PM Nuri al Maliki has dropped its demand for the expulsion of US security firm Blackwater, under investigation over the killing of 11 Iraqis on September 16, a government security official told reporters in Baghdad five days later.
Based on a new household survey conducted in Iraq in August, the British Opinion Research Business (ORB) polling agency estimates that the Iraqi death toll from the four-and-half year US war exceeds 1.2 million.
On September 12, Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, a US-backed former crime boss in Iraq’s Anbar province, was killed by a roadside bomb that struck his convoy in the western province’s capital of Ramadi. Sattar died 10 days after he was feted by US President George Bush at a giant US air base in Anbar.
“US combat deaths in Iraq have dropped by half in the two months since the buildup of 28,000 additional troops reached full strength”, Associated Press reported on August 31. In the days following, most of the US corporate media repeated this claim. But what they didn’t report was that the number of US combat deaths in June-August — a total of 264 — made it the deadliest summer for US occupation troops since the war began in March 2003. Last summer, 169 US soldiers were killed in Iraq.
A new assessment by the CIA and 15 other US spy agencies of Washington’s counterinsurgency war in Iraq, released on August 23, argued that the addition since early February of 28,500 US troops to the 134,000-strong US occupation force has brought “measurable, but uneven improvements in security”. However the report provided no statistics to support this claim.
On August 16, Iraqi PM Nuri al Maliki and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani announced the formation of a “new” political alliance consisting of Makili’s Islamic Dawa (Dawn) party, Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kudistan (PUK), Massound Barzani’s Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) and Abdul-Aziz al Hakim’s Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council (SIIC).
“The British have basically been defeated in the south [of Iraq]”, the August 8 Washington Post reported being told by a US intelligence official in Baghdad. In the first six months of this year, 37 British troops were killed in Iraq, the highest number for any six-month period of the war and 14 more than died in the whole of 2006.