WHO TO BELIEVE? I read with interest today's Washington Post report on the growing (if still limited) presence of Shiite militias -- Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, SCIRI's Badr Brigade -- in the oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. With Kurdish forces digging in and insisting on solidifying Kurdish control of the city, the potential for a genuinely disastrous conflict is obvious. But over at The Corner this morning, Kathryn Jean Lopez assures us that "there's good news in Iraq," citing Bill Crawford's latest good-news-in-Iraq round-up. Crawford touts the promising news in Kirkuk as "Iraqis [take] the lead in security operations and intelligence gathering" there, linking to dispatches released by the U.S. State Department and � the U.S. Defense Department.

--Sam Rosenfeld