Iraq in autumn

Coalition forces press ahead in two of Iraq's most volatile regions.

Published October 7, 2005 8:18PM (EDT)

Salon editorial fellow Aaron Kinney looks at the latest news from Iraq.

As usual with Iraq, it's a mixture of good and bad news, with bad outweighing good. While British forces in Basra announced the arrest Thursday of 12 Iraqi police officers suspected of ties to violent militias, six U.S. soldiers were killed in two roadside bombs in western Iraq near the Syrian border.

The Basra arrest, while a positive development, only underscores how tenuous the security in that region of the country is. Last month, British forces plowed into a Basra jail with an armored vehicle in an effort to rescue two British soldiers who were held there. The soldiers, who had been arrested while operating undercover by Iraqi police officers, were in danger of being turned over to one of the several religious militias that hold considerable power there, British military officials claimed.

In western Iraq, 1,000 U.S. soldiers are scouring towns in the region in an effort to root out insurgents in advance of the constitutional referendum Oct. 15. According to Reuters, the mission near the Syrian border killed about 50 insurgents in six days.

By Aaron Kinney

Aaron Kinney is a writer in San Francisco. He has a blog.

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