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Monday, February 07, 2005

Strange goings on in Irbil

After last month's apparent false alarm over the abduction of two Korean nationals in Iraq, it appears something odd is happening in northern Iraq once again. This time an arabic website has claimed that three Korean soldiers of the brigade based near Irbil have suffered a grenade attack leaving one dead and two injured, but the Korean government has quickly denied that anything has happened. Apparently this is part of a 'psychological war' being waged against the Korean troop presence in Iraq. Perhaps the reason that no Korean soldiers have been killed or injured (aside from the fact that they are stationed in the safest place the Korean government could find in the heart of Kurdish territory) is that they (like the Japanese soldiers further south) are rarely venturing out of their base. Oh My News also has a report on the inspection team which is being sent to Iraq to investigate alleged irregularities at the Korean base. It seems that anonymous documents have been turning up accusing a senior officer of corrupt practises in the procurement of food supplies for the Irbil base. The political sensitivity of the whole enterprise in Korea is such that seemingly small problems can take on great importance and it is difficult to say what might happen if there was really to be a major incident involving the soldiers based there. It is clear that the Iraqi guerillas are well aware of this sensitivity and are trying hard to exploit it, even if they are unable to launch an actual attack.


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