Benchmarks can be a good thing if the followup is handled correctly.
On to the Good News From Iraq.
Bill Roggio reports:
In March, we noted the successful model of the Anbar Salvation Council will very likely be replicated elsewhere in regions where al Qaeda has established bases of operation. We singled out Diyala in particular, as al Qaeda's campaign of murder and intimidation was beginning to anger the tribes much as it did in Anbar province. Al Qaeda's establishment of its Islamic State of Iraq, with its capital in Baqubah made the province ripe for a major Coalition operation in the region. In early March, Al Sabaah reported the local sheikhs in Diyala were organizing against al-Qaeda and its Islamic State of Iraq, "which [is] spreading corruption in the province districts." Today, the speculation has become a reality, as "Arab tribesmen in Baqubah have said they will form a tribal alliance to cleanse the Diyala province of foreign fighters and those of the al-Qaeda terrorist network in Iraq."
Read the rest...
In other news about Iraq, we see that Sadr is encouraging American timelines (the head of a the most dangerous militia in Iraq agrees with the Democrats.....the trend continues of our enemies aligning with our democratic politicians), the people of Baghdad as well as many other areas disagree and plea for American forces to help them.
I wasn't surprised when I saw Al Qaeda's second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, appear on Al Jazeera to announce America's defeat last week, not long after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid did. Zawahiri claims Al Qaeda has won, and Reid claims America has lost.
But from here in Baghdad, I see only a war that's still raging - with no victory in sight for Al Qaeda or any other entity. In fact, I see Al Qaeda on the ropes, losing support among my fellow Iraqis.
In the midst of such a fierce war, sending more wrong messages could only further complicate an already complicated situation. It would only create more of a mess inside Iraq - a mess that would then be exploited by Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia for their own purposes: more iron-fisted control of the peoples and treasures of the region, more pushing the Middle East to crises and confrontations, and more spreading of their dark, backward ideologies.
And so, as an Iraqi, I say without hesitation: the American forces should stay here, and further reinforcements should be sent if the situation requires them. Not only that, these forces should be prepared to expand their operations whenever and wherever necessary to strike hard at the nests of evil that not only threaten Iraq and the Middle East, but seek to blackmail the whole world in the ugliest way through pursuing nuclear weapons.
It is up to us to show tyrants and murderers like Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah's Hassan Nasrallah, Syria's Bashar Assad, and their would-be imitators who seek to control Iraq's people and wealth that we, the people, are not their possessions. They can't take out our humanity and they can't force us to back down.
The world should ask them to leave our land before asking the soldiers of freedom to do so.
The cost of liberating Europe in the last century was enormous in blood and treasure. In fact, it took half a century of American military presence thereafter to protect those nations from subsequent threats. If that made sense during a Cold War, and it did, then I don't understand why anyone would demand a pullout from Iraq (and maybe later, the entire Middle East) when the enemies are using every evil technique, from booby trapped dead animals to hijacked civilian aircrafts, to kill innocents.
And so, my friends, I will call for fighting this war just as powerfully as the bad guys do - because I must show them that I'm stronger than they are. The people of America need to understand this: the enemies of a stable Iraq are America's enemies, and they simply do not understand the language of civilization and reason.
They understand only power. It is with power they took over their countries and held their peoples hostage. Everything they accomplished was through absolute control over the assets of their nations through murder, torture, repression and intimidation.
Those who prefer to bury their heads in the dirt today, and withdraw from this difficult fight, will be cursed forever for abandoning their duty when they were most capable. I don't understand why someone who has all the tools for victory would refuse to fight an enemy that reminds us every day that it is evil - with all the daily beheadings, torture and violations of all humane laws and values.
With America's help - and only with its help - the decent people of Iraq can still prevail.
So, the Sadr militia and splinter groups wish us to leave but the ordinary Iraqi people beg us to stay.
From an article in the Khaleej Times we see that the bill Sadr is pushing for may not even pass and will fall to the wayside as previous ones have before. (Hat Tip to Hot Air)
Deputy Speaker Khaled Al Attiyah told The Associated Press said the draft legislation had not been officially submitted to the speaker, but was currently being reviewed by the house’s legal department, apparently the final step before it can be submitted.
Al Rubaie said Al Mashhadani had a week to schedule a debate on the bill before he would use the majority that backs it to force one.
However, his majority might be shaky.
Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman said he had backed the draft but only on the condition that the withdrawal timetable be linked to a schedule for training and equipping Iraq’s security forces.
“But the sponsors of the legislation did not include our observations in the draft. This is deception,” he said.
Al Sadr’s Mahdi Army militia, which launched two uprisings against U.S. troops in 2004, has been blamed in much of the recent sectarian violence against Sunnis and has been one of the main targets of a U.S.-Iraqi security crackdown.
Last month, the cleric ordered his six Cabinet ministers to leave the government after the Shiite prime minister refused to put a timetable for foreign troops withdrawal.
Once again we are in a wait and see mode....