(photo credit: soldiersmediacenter)

WaPo:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki vowed to press ahead with the crackdown, aimed chiefly at sapping the strength of Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, which controls much of Basra. Maliki’s pledge came as saboteurs blew up one of Iraq’s two main oil export pipelines from Basra, the country’s main oil hub, cutting at least a third of the exports from the southern oil fields, the Reuters news agency reported.

“We entered this battle with determination, and we will continue to the end,” Maliki told tribal leaders Thursday. “No retreat. No talks. No negotiations.”

Later in the day, gunmen seized a well-known member of Maliki’s government, storming the home of Tahseen al-Sheikhli and taking him prisoner. Sheikhli is a chief spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, in charge of a bid to build public support for Iraqi efforts to quell violence in the city. Wire services reported that his home had been set ablaze during the kidnapping.

President Bush:

And finally, I want to recognize Amanda Wright Lane, great- grandniece of Orville and Wilbur Wright.

(APPLAUSE)

Thanks for coming. Nothing wrong with having famous relatives.

(LAUGHTER)

This museum pays tribute to great aircraft and great airmen and women… This operation is going to take some time to complete and the enemy will try to fill the TV screens with violence. But the ultimate result will be this: Terrorists and extremists in Iraq will know they have no place in a free and democratic society.

(APPLAUSE)


We take civil society for granted in America. But civil society was destroyed during the time of the brutal dictator Saddam Hussein, and yet it’s now coming back to life.

The Iraqi government is stepping up on reconstruction projects. They have outspent us in the recent budget 11-1, and soon we expect the Iraqis will cover 100 percent of those expenses.

(APPLAUSE)

Times Online (h/t Jonathan Chait):

Iraq’s Prime Minister was staring into the abyss today after his operation to crush militia strongholds in Basra stalled, members of his own security forces defected and district after district of his own capital fell to Shia militia gunmen. With the threat of a civil war looming in the south, Nouri al-Maliki’s police chief in Basra narrowly escaped assassination in the crucial port city …


(photo credit: TW Collins)

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