After being technically in progress for about over a week, Operation Imposing the Law officially started yesterday.
Al-Maliki who's been on a tour in the mid-southern region announced the beginning of the operation from Kerbala. This choice I think delivers two messages; first it looks that Maliki was trying to show that the plan is solid enough and could go on without his immediate supervision and presence in Baghdad and that the military commanders are operating without interference from politicians. And second I think he wanted to say that even though the focus has been in Baghdad for months, the situation elsewhere was not ignored; and this part could be seen in the tough-worded warnings he made to local officials and militants alike.
First he gave militants in Kerbala 48 hours to disarm or face the consequences and then turned to the local officials and told them if they couldn't do their job right they'd better step down and let someone better take their place.
The Kerbala provincial administration's reputation isn't quite impressive when it comes to corruption and involvement in violence and Maliki didn't forget to give a stern warning against corruption calling corruption a crime just as serious as terrorism.
Back in Baghdad the most significant raid conducted yesterday was the one on Buratha mosque, one of the most important Shia mosques in Baghdad which is also considered a SCIRI territory.
The raid ended without blood but the preacher of the mosque, a lawmaker from the SCIRI, expressed his dismay about the raid "because it was American soldiers who searched the mosque" and this seems to be one of the changes in rules of engagement. I recall that there was some kind of a rule that said only Iraqi soldiers or police were allowed to walk into places of worship while American troops would have to stay outside.
This raid too is of political significance as it can be used to prove to that the operation is impartial and not directed against one sect without the other.
On the streets, checkpoints and roadblocks are becoming increasingly serious and strict in doing their job; soldiers and policemen are sparing no vehicles or convoys from searching and I personally saw a case yesterday where an ambulance driver tried to rush his vehicle through a checkpoint but the soldiers ordered him to stop and let him pass only after they checked the inside of the vehicle finding only a civilian medical emergency.
Strict checkpoints always mean slow traffic and inconvenient delays for Baghdadis but this downside is welcome when these security measures make the streets safer.
Read the rest and keep up with that blog because he is there and his news is up to date and very telling.
Yet another sign that Bush's strategy is already showing potential is the confirmation that al-Sadr has boogied outta town.
February 15, 2007 -- LOOKS like our team won this round of Spook-the- Mook. A best-in-show source in Baghdad confirms that Muqtada al-Sadr took off on a road-trip to Iran. And he wasn't just cruising in search of a Reuben sandwich.
The game ain't over until the fat mullah's scared. No matter how he tries to explain it away, Muqtada's public cowardice is going to hurt him - after he encouraged his followers to martyr themselves. There already had been rumors of mutinies in the Mahdi Army that threatened Mookie himself.
One more reason to run.
It's going to be hard for him to maintain his image as an Iraqi nationalist after running to mommy back in Qom or Tehran. To be fair, the Mookster hasn't always done Iran's bidding in the past - but now he's going to owe the Shiraz Sopranos.
Oh, and that trusted source tells me that Mookie's not the only bad actor who's fled the country - he's the marquee act, but the supporting cast took off, too. Leaving the chumps with the push-brooms to deal with the mess.
We and the Free Iraqis shouldn't miss a chance to portray that melon-bellied bigmouth as a wuss. He's always been glad to deliver fiery sermons, but whenever we delivered firepower he disappeared - letting others do the fighting for him.
In the past he at least went to ground on his home turf, hunkering down while his underlings fought and died. This time, his nerve failed him so badly that he jumped the border.
Read the rest...
As I am writing this, Geraldo has given the microphone to a couple of our troops in Baghdad and as soon as I find the video I will post it here as an update.
[UPDATE] Allah at Hot Air has posted the video, he isn't very impressed with the way Geraldo handled it, neither was I, but nonetheless, he captured the troops words for us. Head on over and take a look. Gotta say, I LOVE that site. [End Update]
The troops said... to let them do their job.
Maybe Congress should try listening to those who KNOW how things are going and stop thinking that their careers and political posturing is more important than winning the war on terror.
Either they should get serious about national security or they should get the hell out of the way.
How many more troops have to tell them that their idiocy with these resolutions are HURTING THE TROOPS, not helping.
The only people they are determined to help is the terrorists...