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Monday, November 20, 2006

Good News From Iraq Part #16

This 16th part of my Good News From Iraq series is going to focus on Ramadi. There is good news coming from Ramadi that deserves to have its own post.

Progress.. a dirty word to those that are anti-war, anti-military, but a tribute to those that are actively fighting....and winning.

Insurgents on the streets of Ramadi, the city that has been their stronghold for two years. US troops have now moved in to what was a no-go area, with the support of local Iraqi police, whose ranks have swelled from 35 to 1,300 recruits with the backing of tribal chiefs.

Fighting back: the city determined not to become al-Qaeda's capital.

Martin Fletcher in Ramadi:

A power struggle is taking place in the Sunni triangle, with tribal leaders and coalition forces aligning against a common enemy.

While the world’s attention has been focused on Baghdad’s slide into sectarian warfare, something remarkable has been happening in Ramadi, a city of 400,000 inhabitants that al-Qaeda and its Iraqi allies have controlled since mid-2004 and would like to make the capital of their cherished Islamic caliphate.

A power struggle has erupted: al-Qaeda’s reign of terror is being challenged. Sheikh Sittar and many of his fellow tribal leaders have cast their lot with the once-reviled US military. They are persuading hundreds of their followers to sign up for the previously defunct Iraqi police. American troops are moving into a city that was, until recently, a virtual no-go area. A battle is raging for the allegiance of Ramadi’s battered and terrified citizens and the outcome could have far-reaching consequences.

Ramadi has been the insurgency’s stronghold for the past two years. It is the conduit for weapons and foreign fighters arriving from Syria and Saudi Arabia. To reclaim it would deal a severe blow to the insurgency throughout the Sunni triangle and counter mounting criticism of the war back in America.

Sheikh Sittar and US commanders believe that the tide is turning in their favour. “Most of the people are now convinced that coalition forces are friends, and that the enemy is al-Qaeda,” the 35-year-old Sheikh claimed in his first face-to-face interview with a Western newspaper.

Michael Furmento in Ramadi says:

For this very reason, Ramadi is both a litmus test for the counterinsurgency effort in Iraq and a laboratory. If we can defeat the insurgent and terrorist forces here, there is no place we cannot defeat them. And from what I found, we are defeating them. It's painfully slow, and our men there are still dying in inordinate numbers from a broad variety of attacks. But a multitude of factors, including tribal cooperation, the continual introduction of more Iraqi army and police, the beginning of public works projects, the building of more Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), the installation of more small operational posts (OPs), and plunking down company-sized Combat Operation Posts (COPs) smack in the middle of hostile territory are destroying both the size and the mobility of the enemy. This time the rats are dying in place.

In the Times Online Article , this particular paragraph caught my attention.

Last month a record 409 new recruits were dispatched to the police academy in Jordan, and 1,300 are now signed up, many of them former Baathists. The US and Iraqi armies have armed and protected them against al-Qaeda attacks, and as fear of al-Qaeda has dissipated, so the process has accelerated.

The beauty of the police is that they serve — unlike the Iraqi army — in their own communities. They know exactly who the enemies are. “The Iraqi police are absolutely the most potent weapon we have right now because they are of the people, by the people and for the people,” says Colonel MacFarland.

“Instead of being afraid of al-Qaeda, now al-Qaeda is afraid of the police. It’s going underground, moving out, and the folks who were sitting on the fence are now coming on our side.”

I will say it again, we need to understand the nature of our enemy and no one said that war was going to be pretty or that it wasn't going to take time.

In fact,on the floor of the senate, John Kerry, Mr. Botched Joke himself, stated VERY clearly, to everyone before we went into Iraq:

"So other nations in the region and all of us will need to help create an Iraq that is a place and a force for stability and openness in the region. That effort is going to be long term, costly, and not without difficulty, given Iraq's ethnic and religious divisions and history of domestic turbulence. In Afghanistan, the administration has given more lipservice than resources to the rebuilding effort. We cannot allow that to happen in Iraq, and we must be prepared to stay the course over however many years it takes to do it right."

That was October 9th, 2002, on the senate floor.

My how quickly we forget. Everyone KNEW this would be a long battle, a costly battle and that we would lose valiant soldiers in it.

Another piece to read is the New York Sun article.

Sadly, what has been lost on the American public is the relationship between cause and effect in Iraq. Graphics in major American newspapers compare electricity output and oil production under Saddam to the current numbers in Iraq to demonstrate a stark degradation in services. What is missing is the "cause" that the likes of al-Muhajir and the Baathists have been "effecting" to achieve those stats. This perception gap is happening because there seems to be a reluctance endemic among American journalists and a comfort-obsessed American public to take a long, hard look at the very nature of the enemy. Most major newspapers chose to keep al-Muhajir away from the main page so as not to crowd the " Iraq is failing" angle.

This evasion of reality has resulted in the bizarre situation, where describing the enemy as evil is somehow not politically correct, even after September 11, the graphic beheadings, and al-Muhajir's words, while tagging the neoconservatives as nefarious is a journalistic standard.

But the enemy is evil nonetheless. There will not be a let-up if you meet the terrorists' demands. Al-Muhajir flaunts his evil for all to hear when he says that "we have not yet quenched our thirst" for American blood. Whether the American public, or the Democrats, choose to hear him or not at this stage is beyond the point: Al-Muhajir plans to make his evil presence felt and soon. And it will be painful — if Al Qaeda's declaration of victory in Iraq is left unchallenged.

Success is Iraq is vital and people should understand this. We saw what these lunatics are capable of with 9/11.... imagine a nuclear 9/11. That is our future if we do not fight and defeat terrorism and Islamic Extremists, wherever we find them.

Which brings us to another fanatic lunatic, the president of Iran...but that as they say, is another story and I will leave it for another post.

Others discussing this:
Weekly Standard, The Strata-Sphere , Right Wing Guy, Flopping Aces