Amiri’s death

The Washington Post today has an article on the Sadr aide who died in a raid yesterday in Najaf. The raid was an Iraqi plan

Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the top U.S military spokesman in Iraq, told reporters in Baghdad that the raid was led by 35 soldiers from the 8th Iraqi Army Division Forces, with eight U.S. troops serving as advisers.

“It was an Iraqi-led, planned operation consistent with the fact that Najaf now has been passed to provincial Iraqi control and that the U.S. forces don’t operate there independently,” he said.

but somehow Maliki is going to be hurting from it.

A raid involving American forces in Najaf is particularly embarrassing for Maliki. Last week, in an elaborate ceremony, the U.S.-led coalition handed over control of Najaf to Iraqi forces.

“The agreement between the two sides when the security profile was transferred to the Iraqi side is that the Iraqi side should know about any operations or actions done by the multinational forces,” said Sadiq al-Rikabi, a political adviser to Maliki.

Maliki, if he wants to maintain his position has just been forced into the proverbial corner. He needs to say – “the plan was what the Iraqi forces say….they wanted to question Amiri, he ran, pointed a gun at one of our men and was shot for it.” Otherwise, it will be his army doing an end run around him.

We’ll see how political expediency works there.

Belarus

Captain Ed notes that Belarus is calling Putin’s bluff on his gas prices.

nstead of acquiescing to Putin’s demand for half of Belarus’ revenues from its pipeline service to Europe and a doubling of their own energy prices, Belarus has threatened to shut off the pipe altogether, interrupting service to Europe and cutting off revenues to Gazprom: