SPYING ON IRAQ….You’ll be unsurprised to know that American spy satellites are heavily targeted on Iraq. What might surprise you, though, is that we recently decided to increase our surveillance dramatically in order to keep a closer eye on what the Iraqi army is up to:

The stepped-up surveillance reflects breakdowns in trust and coordination between the two forces. Officials said it was part of an expanded intelligence effort launched after American commanders were surprised by the timing of the Iraqi army’s violent push into Basra three months ago.

….Military officials and experts said the move showed concern by U.S. commanders about whether their Iraqi counterparts would follow U.S. guidance or keep their coalition partners fully informed.

“It suggests that we don’t have complete confidence in their chain of command, or in their willingness to tell us what they’re going to do because they may fear that we may try to get them not to do it,” said John Pike, director of GlobalSecurity.org, a website about intelligence and military issues.

Actually, the Iraqis should be pleased. When we start spying on a country’s military movements, it means we’re taking them seriously. Iraq is now in the big leagues.

On a more serious note, this raises fresh questions about just how successful last March’s Basra mission really was. This story confirms in a concrete way that the U.S. was taken off guard by the offensive in Basra, wasn’t happy about it, and doesn’t want it to happen again. If it had really turned out as well as everyone is now saying, would we have had such a sharp reaction to it?

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