Eyes on Iraq

From Holden:

Civil War Watch

In Baquba north of the capital, police said militants had blown up a shrine holy to Shi’ites, damaging its dome overnight.

Fodder Watch

Faced with major recruiting problems sparked by troop deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has asked Congress to raise the maximum age for U.S. military enlistees from 35 to 42 years old.

The request, sent to lawmakers this week, would apply to all active duty branches of the military services, said Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, on Friday. But it is aimed chiefly at the active duty Army, which has fallen far short of recruiting goals this year, by adding millions of potential enlistees.

Distract From Karl Watch

Syria said on Thursday its border troops had been fired on by U.S. and Iraqi forces and accused Washington, London and Baghdad of lack of cooperation in preventing insurgents infiltrating into Iraq.

It was the first time Syria, which has a 600 km (375 mile) desert border with Iraq, had reported cases of U.S. troops firing on its forces.

The Foreign Ministry told heads of diplomatic missions in Damascus in a letter obtained by Reuters that Syrian border troops had been subject to attacks “not only by infiltrators and smugglers but by the Iraqi and American forces.”

“The border clashes amounted to about 100 armed clashes, some of which were carried out by American soldiers who opened fire arbitrarily at those present behind the dirt rampart due to loss of self control,” said the ministry.