From Radio Sawa:
A joint US and Iraqi force stormed al-Azamiyah neighborhood in Baghdad in what an American military official described as the start for the awaited security operation in Baghdad.
Major Robbie Park said 2,000 US soldiers are working side by side with soldiers from the 1st and 9th divisions of the Iraqi army…The troops searched dozens of homes in and around Azamiyah and confiscated large amounts of weapons.
But an assistant to PM Maliki denied that this was the start of the new security operation, saying that this is a limited operation (the government ordered) after receiving information that insurgents are hiding in the neighborhood.
Whether this is the start of Operation Baghdad or not, the operation is taking place without making any noise; in fact tonight is even quieter than the average Baghdad night!
US military spokesman Major General William Caldwell confirmed that Iraqi and US forces were engaged in putting the Baghdad security plan into effect.
"The plan is being fully implemented as we speak," Caldwell told reporters.
Stressing that Iraqis under the command of Lieutenant General Abboud Gambar were in charge of the operation, he added: "They are still currently today moving additional forces into the city."
US Major General Kenneth Hunzeker, who commands the training programme for Iraqi police, provided details about his part of the plan.
"There are 54 police stations in Baghdad right now," he said. "Those will be used throughout the plan and that's for the 25,000 police that are part of the police force."
They would integrate or be supplemented by so-called joint security stations manned by Iraqi police and army units on a 24-hour basis by US troops, Caldwell said.
"They'll be down in the neighbourhoods this time," he said, referring to US forces, which have previously patrolled the streets of Baghdad before returning to large and well-secured bases.
Of the planned security stations, "10 are up and running, and there's going to be at least double if not triple that number that will eventually be out there," Caldwell said.
In one of the first major clearing and holding operations, US forces thrust deep into one of Baghdad's most notorious Sunni bastions, making arrests and seizing weapons.
It starts and those that wish to see it succeed are fighting their own battle here in the US against those that have a deep desire to see it fail.
Case in point, the NYT which headlines their story with "Iraqi Premier Admits Errors in Introducing Security Plan in Baghdad"
“I feel that we are late,” he said in an address to his senior military commanders that was broadcast live on Iraqi national television. “This delay is giving a negative impression and has led some people to say that we have already failed.”Instead of reporting on the new operation starting, they choose to focus on anything negative they can...which is par for the course with NYT.....no big surprise there.
Pressure is increasing on the Maliki government to show signs of progress on the security plan that was announced more than a month ago, especially after three weeks of bloody violence that has killed 3,000 civilians.
Mr. Maliki made it clear to the commanders that they needed to show results soon. “I call on you to quickly finish the preparations so that we don’t disappoint people,” he said.
Second case in point is a couple of articles, one from Wapo and one from MSNBC TV....in one the Senate continues to squabble over Iraq and the second, Exasperated House Bypasses Senate on Iraq.
From MSNBC TV:
House leaders got fed up with waiting around for the Senate to act and decided Tuesday to go ahead with their own vote on a resolution opposing President Bush’s plan to add 21,500 U.S. troops in Iraq.
Senate leaders squabbled yesterday over how to consider resolutions opposing President Bush's plan for more troops in Iraq, but the quarrel did not stop lawmakers from launching an informal debate on the chamber floor over the war.
Silliness prevails in the house and the senate....someone needs to give them the newsflash.
IT HAS STARTED ALREADY.
Everyone is so busy trying to cover their asses with their voters that they are not looking at the bigger picture here.
We have two possible outcomes, at the least.
It will succeed or it will fail. That IS putting it in the simplest terms possible because there are quite a few possibilities that fall in between the two categories, but for the purpose of my point I am going to stick with the two extremes here.
First, if it succeeds and we see visible progress in Baghdad then the Republicans that have insisted that the plan be given a chance will come out of this as people that stood up for what they believed was right. People that refused to abandon Iraqi's in their time of need. People with honor and backbone that is strong on national security.
The Democrats and the few Republicans that have sided with them will come out looking like the people that tried to block success. People that actively worked for failure. People that were willing to abandon the Iraqi's to a fate of the Vietnamese when we abandoned them.
The serious challenge for the Democrats andthe Republicans that are outspoken in their desire to see us retreat is this:
When all is said and done, people like backing winners.
IF, and I do say IF, the plan works, the security crackdown is effective and the violence lessens in Iraq and the Iraqi politicians come together politically.....the same people that pushed and shoved and pressured the Democrats to take the stand they have taken, will abandon them and turn against them, like rats jumping off of a sinking ship.
It is human nature to jump on a winning bandwagon.
Their base will blame them, for not stopping the surge before it could be effective. They will blame them for not coming up with a plan for "success" that was better than President Bush's or they will simply, quietly start backing a Democrat that did not come out vocally against the surge... no one likes backing a loser.
Second option: Failure.
If there is no visible decrease of violence in Iraq, then the Democratic base will be happy. We will be hearing more soundbites with the terms failed policy, flawed plan and so forth and the administration will still have to continue to try to formulate plans for success against quite a bit of opposition.
The kicker here is the Republican base.
We will remember that our politicians "tried". We will stand behind them because they stood on priniciple and tried to honor our promises to the Iraqi people that came out in the millions, at risk of life and limb, to vote in a democratic proccess.
My question in all of this though is this: Why would the Democratic base actively wish for failure when it is definitely in our national interest to succeed?
I understand why the politicians would do everything in their power to see us fail in Iraq....they are trying to take the White House in 2008.
Despite pundits opinions on both sides of this issue the one undeniable fact is this:
Unless one can read the future, no one knows, as a fact, whether the new strategy will work or not. Some will hope for success, some will hope for failure.....but only time will tell. That is why the anti-war crowd wishes to see this plan stopped before it has the chance to succeed.
Personally I believe that we will see something in between the two ends of the spectrum, we will see two steps forward and a step back.
I will leave you with the last paragraph from another Wapo Article:
Graham said he grabbed Petraeus last week and had him wait in McConnell's office while he ushered in senators to see the general. "From my conversation with him, he understands the gravity of the situation," said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.). "He understands it's probably 10 minutes to 12 on the clock. And he believes he can do something about it."
Petraeus is a capable commander, everyone seems to agree on that if they can agree on nothing else and he believes he can make a difference.
Good luck General.
We here at Wake up America, wish you every success.
[UPDATE] The NYT finally catches up on the news.