Two versions here, the first without audio and the second, much more impressively, with it. I’d have ducked too; Maliki barely flinches.

It landed about 50 yards from the building, according to the AP.

There’s some great, and surprisingly encouraging, Iraq reading in this morning’s WaPo. The first piece describes U.S. troops converting a gym into a fort in the Sadrist neighborhood of Amel. They’re expecting an assault at any time. And yet morale seems to be strikingly high:

At least two-thirds of the unit’s soldiers are fresh out of basic training.

“I went home and said to my wife, ‘The president talked about the surge to Baghdad,’ ” said Overby, the 1st Battalion’s second in command. “How often do you get to be a part of what the president says? We were happy. It was better than escorting trucks through the desert.”…

Cpl. Jon Dorsey, 20, of Sun Prairie, Wis., sitting on his cot in the gym’s main hall, said he couldn’t wait to go out on patrol. He had memorized the names of the city’s neighborhoods and seemed to grasp the nuances of the conflict.

“We’ve been staring at maps for months,” he said.

His friend Cpl. Lee Taylor of Oklahoma City jumped in: “We’re going to meet and greet people, win the hearts and minds.”

The second piece describes Iraqis picnicking this past weekend in Zawra Park in central Baghdad. Things have calmed down enough to make occasional public socializing feasible. Although it’s still more bitter than sweet:

Wednesday was Nawruz, a holiday celebrating the arrival of spring. And Baghdad was five weeks into a security crackdown that seemed to have brought some calm. So [Muhaned] Kamal and his friends were at Zawra, playing tennis with wooden rackets and poker under tall eucalyptus trees…

“We are waiting for our death anyhow, whether from a bomb, or a car bomb or at the hands of the militias,” said Kamal’s friend Mustafa Jamil Ahmed, 23, a slim barber with a black goatee. “So we decided to come here to play poker and tennis. And to take some pictures, so that we can remember each other if one of us is lost.”

It’s going to get dicey in the north soon too. Kurds and Arabs in Kirkuk are already squaring off over control of the city, with things expected to get worse if and when the referendum is held to have the city annexed by Kurdistan.

Tags: Oklahoma