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January 24, 2006

Continued Progress in Iraq

Good news from the fledgeling democracy in Iraq: The 3 main factions have agreed to work together (H/T Mark Kilmer at "No End But Victory"):

The main Shi’ite bloc in Iraq, the Iraqi Alliance, fell short of gaining an absolute majority which would have enabled them to run the government themselves. They are willing to work with the Sunni parties with a proviso: the must actively combat the insurgency.
But he [Senior Iraq Alliance member Dr Hussein al-Shahristani] warned the Sunni parties that if they wanted to join the coalition, they would have to fight the insurgency actively.

“We’ll require them not only to condemn terrorism - as they do normally - but to work with us in combating terrorism and overcoming it,” he said.

The two main Sunni groups and Kurdish parties said they want to give this national unity thaang a go.

At this point, the Iraqi experiment is still working, and getting stronger. The first class of cadets from military training graduated recently, and the multi-national force continues to help Iraq beat back the insurgency.
Continued efforts by Iraqi and Coalition Forces continue to help Iraq progress toward democracy by making it harder on the insurgency, building up infrastructure and fostering stability.

“The pressure on the terrorists continues, making it harder … for them to conduct the attacks targeting large numbers of vulnerable civilians,” Brig. Gen. Donald Alston, Strategic Communication Director for Multi-National Force Iraq said in a press conference Jan. 22 in Baghdad .

“Having 227,000 Iraqi Security Forces provides capability for a wide range of security operations and more Iraqis on patrol equals greater intelligence – keys to defeating the insurgency and Al Qaeda in Iraq ,” he said.

Alston noted that attacks across Iraq were down 40 percent the previous week, and defined MNF-I’s mission:

“Our combined operations are designed to provide a safe and secure environment for the seating of the new Iraqi Government and to defeat the terrorists and foreign fighters who are attempting to derail democracy.”

It's not without its losses, but as Iraq moves more and more into self-government, the cause is a good one.

UPDATE: The BBC is reporting that "Iraqis and Afghans are among the most optimistic people in the world when it comes to their economic future".

In Afghanistan, 70% say their own circumstances are improving, and 57% believe that the country overall is on the way up.

In Iraq, 65% believe their personal life is getting better, and 56% are upbeat about the country's economy.

The experts at polling firm Globescan, who conducted the survey, venture the guess that war may have created a "year zero" experience of collectively starting again.

Posted by Doug at January 24, 2006 12:57 PM

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Why on earth are we in Iraq anyway? No matter the rosy scenario that is painted on this website, there are a couple of facts that are undeniable: One, the Iraqis are not loyal to a central government; they are loyal to either their shiite, sunni, kurdish base, or their local tribe--or both, in some degree. Next, because of their inablity to stand up for one thing together, they can't stand up and demand that the Al Qaeda get out of their neighborhoods, cities, and country.

The bottom line is that America can't do everything. We can't just invade a country because their leader is doing things that we don't condon. It is one thing when there is a WWII scenario that has a wild man trying to take over the world; it is quite another when you invade a country to "disarm them", then, after finding nothing, change your mission to "Operation enduring freedom." What's next? Are we to invade the Sudan, or any other country in Africa? Maybe Iran? Where does it all stop? Is there anything else that we could be doing to try to to subvert these evil empires? Maybe using our intelligence agencies would do the trick. We sure didn't do that in Iraq, after all there wasn't a single (not one) intelligence agent on the ground in Iraq before we went in--NOT ONE!

Posted by: Jeff at June 21, 2006 02:54 PM