The raid occurred at dawn Friday in the town of Janaja near Maliki’s birthplace in the southern, mostly Shiite Muslim province of Karbala. Ali Abdulhussein Razak al Maliki, who was killed in the raid, was related to the prime minister and had close ties to his personal security detail, according to authorities in Karbala.
The incident puts an added strain on U.S.-Iraqi negotiations to draft a Status of Forces Agreement, a long-term security pact that will govern the conduct of U.S. forces in Iraq. Members of the Iraqi government and security forces said the raid only deepened their reluctance to sign any agreement that did not leave Iraqis with the biggest say on when and how combat operations are conducted.
It is, I think, undeniable that the level of violence has dropped in Iraq in recent months. To state that things are fine, however, is a little inaccurate. More cowbell, Joe. More cowbell.