Meanwhile in Iraq…


As Iraqi officials get set to announce election results–possibly as early as tomorrow–violence has been increasing. Along with a suicide bombing and a car bomb that killed at least 23 people early today, there's this recent carnage:

Thirty people were dragged from their cars at crude checkpoints erected on unpaved roads and shot dead execution-style in farming areas in Nibaei, a town near Dujail, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, said police Lt. Qahtan al-Hashmawi.

Insurgents also opened fire on a convoy of the mobile telephone company Iraqna, killing six security guards and three drivers in western Baghdad. Two engineers, believed to be Kenyans, were missing and feared kidnapped.

Two American civilians were killed in a roadside bombing in the southern city of Basra. They worked for the Irving, Texas-based security company DynCorp and were training Iraqi police. A third American was seriously wounded in the attack, the U.S. Embassy said.

That the surge in violence was predicted by Iraqi and U.S. officials doesn't make it any less disturbing. Or effective at driving out Western allies, it seems. The same story quoted above notes that Italy has announced plans to withdraw its 2,600 troops by year's end, replacing them with a "civilian" mission, whatever that means. More here.