Posted by Wordsmith on 6 February, 2008 at 10:45 am. 12 comments already!

An Iraqi soldier guards suspects arrested during a joint U.S.- Iraqi military operation near Baqouba. AP

Mary Katharine Ham posts a video

of elite Iraqi forces rescuing an 11-year-old boy from al-Qaeda and returning him to his parents, near Kirkuk.

The kidnappers demanded $100,000 from the boy’s father, a mechanic. They told him if he didn’t pay, they would behead the child.

She also links to the first part of Bill Ardolino at The Long War Journal reporting on the political process and progress in the Iraqi government.

Meanwhile, a new Iraq flag is hoisted, minus Saddam’s stars.

Iraq’s temporary new national flag was raised over the country’s parliament for the first time in a ceremony trumpeted by the government as a break with the bloody past and a step towards reconciliation.

In another symbolic move, the government said it had started to rebuild a revered Shi’ite shrine in Samarra which was bombed two years ago, sparking sectarian violence which killed tens of thousands and took Iraq to the brink of civil war.

The flag will fly for a year, before a permanent one is chosen.

080206_03.jpg Thumbs Up
Two young Iraqi boys give a thumbs up as a convoy of U.S. Army Soldiers from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division passes by on the way to conducting a joint clearing operation with Concerned Local Citizens in Dura’iya, Iraq, Jan. 28, 2008. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Timothy Kingston)