And now for something completely different
An all-Arab Asian Cup final, Iraq v. Saudia Arabia, coming up in Jakarta this Sunday.
Iraq made it to the final for the first time ever in a shootout, which can be seen here. Brought tears to my eyes.
Celebrations all over the country. Basra and Falluja below.
Inevitably, something completely the same, two car bombs, ruined the celebration in Baghdad.
Still, a moment of united joy and pride is better than no such moment. Best wishes for the final, Team Iraq.
Update: 5:00 pm 28 July - Tony Karon is the only other English-language blogger who appears to have been moved to post about this. Heady company!
Update 2: 12:15 pm 29 July - Iraq wins the Cup! With a header. May the fans be allowed to celebrate in peace for at least today.
Update 3: 1:10 pm 29 July - Enjoyable live-blog at a NY Times soccer site; a later post links to video of the winning goal and players' celebration. Hat tip to Paul Woodward's invaluable War in Context.
Update 4: 5:15 pm 31 July - Bloom officially off rose: Kurdish cops arrest fifty young people for having waved the Iraqi national flag in celebration. Oh, it's a festival of democracy up there in the "autonomous region of Kurdistan".