Gooood stuff here from Totten and Lasswell, fresh off their trip to the crucible of Kirkuk. You can watch the clip at either site but I recommend reading both posts. Totten is a tad more Sullivan-esque, shall we say, in his reaction to the violence, but he’s also got the better quotes:

“His teeth were still intact,” Patrick said.

Mam Rostam laughed again. “Those slaps were advice,” he said. “Because the city is unstable, we have to be a little bit violent with people to stop them. Otherwise they won’t be afraid to do many other evil actions. We have to be a little bit severe.”

It’s the broken-lip theory of Iraqi crimefighting: break his lip now so you don’t have to break his head later. There’s also a great passage about Rostam, a Pesh Merga general, explaining the consequences for Afghanistan if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq. But as I say, you need to read Lasswell too; otherwise you won’t find out who the suspect was and why he was riding around with his pal popping off shots oh-so-impressively.

Rostam also explicitly blames Iran for most terrorism in the regime. A fellow Kurdish security chief tells the New York Sun the same thing, emphasizing that Tehran’s support isn’t limited to Shiite groups and implicating the Irbil Five — whom Condi Rice, you might remember, wanted returned to Iran — in jihad:

In an interview yesterday inside his headquarters, the director of the security ministry for the Sulaimaniya province, Sarkawt Hassan Jalal, said he has no doubt Iran is helping send Sunni jihadists into his territory. He listed the five border towns on the Iranian side where he says they are based: Mariwan, Pejwan, Bokan, Sina, and Serdai.

For General Jalal, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s original group, known as Tawhid and Jihad, was sent by the Iranians and Al Qaeda to attack the Kurds and Americans. At the end of a 90-minute interview, he summed up his view of Iran as follows: “Iran is at the top of the terrorism in all the world. There will be peace in the world when you change the authorities in Iran.” He is in a position to know; Kurdish Islamist groups, by his count, tried to assassinate him on three separate occasions.

Those direct public remarks are almost singularly rare for a senior Kurdish official. When American forces on January 10 seized five Iranians it claimed were members of Iran’s elite Quds Force in the Kurdistan provincial capital of Irbil, Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, publicly urged the Americans to return the men he claimed were acting as diplomats. Privately, Kurdish officials say the supposed diplomats were supporting terrorists, providing maps and training, but that the raid failed to net any senior Iranian operatives despite initial intelligence suggesting the no. 3 man in the Quds Force was there.

Bear it in mind the next time you hear Democrats describing America’s and Iran’s “mutual interest in Iraqi stability.”

Update: Michael Totten writes to say that he takes exception to my calling him “Sullivan-esque” and to emphasize, lest there by any misunderstanding, that he doesn’t consider what the police chief did inappropriate given the fact that they’re in a war zone where different rules apply. Duly noted. I’ve offered him a comment account so maybe he’ll respond further below.