A sampling of what we missed on Iraq over the weekend:
1. The Associated Press is reporting that foreign fighters are returning to Iraq :
a Mideast counterterrorism official said an estimated 250 foreign fighters entered Iraq in October alone. He said they came through the Syrian city of Homs, a hub for Syrian Muslim fundamentalists that is run mostly by Tunisians and Algerians. Other fighters have come from Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Yemen.
Additionally, the official said tens of millions of foreign dollars annually are funding the Iraqi insurgency, which has received about $5 billion in aid since 2007. The money comes from al-Qaida leaders, Muslims who want the U.S. to leave, and so-called ‘Arab nationalists’ who are eager for Sunni Muslims to regain power in Shiite-dominated Iraq.
This follows an L.A. Times report from September which surmised that Al-Qaeda in Iraq was re-establishing itself.
More foreign fighters seen slipping back into Iraq – AP
2. The Washington Post reports that U.S. is concerned about Iyad Allawi not being included in a new government. Allawi is unsure as to weather he will join the government or act as opposition:
Before he agrees to take part, he said he wants to be sure the council has the ability to guide important decisions on defense, the economy, and national reconciliation, and to check the prime minister’s powers.
The Post is referring to a potential position within the government under the auspices of the “Higher Council for National Polices.” This council was created by the Coalition Provisional Authority in 2004. Because of its extra-judicial mandate, it fell out of favor and was basically disbanded. In lieu of a functioning government, the U.S. proposed re-establishing the body in a power sharing deal that would bring Iraqiyya and its leader Allawi, who were the election’s eventual outlier, a role in governing.
Yet because the office was created extra-judicially under an act of the CPA, the constitution would likely need to be amended. It is unknown weather this could be done through an act of legislation, but it would most likely be the subject of much debate, and much time consumption, something which the yet-to-be formed Iraqi government has little of.
Without Allawi, U.S. officials fear Iraq government could be seen as illegitimate – Washington Post