Dec 20 2007

Iraq Update 12/20/07 – Reconciliation Spreads Across Iraq

Published by at 8:58 am under All General Discussions,Diyala,Iraq

The news from Iraq is following a pattern that should be no surprise to those watching events as Iraq comes out of its dark dance with al-Qaeda. Ever since the Muslim street in Iraq determined al-Qaeda was the real enemy the country has fought its way towards a brighter future. And along this path we continue to see the remnants of the old path Iraq was on. Dark, sinister and brutal – we will see and hear the stories of al-Qaeda atrocities probably for years to come:

Coalition forces found 26 bodies buried in mass graves and a bloodstained “torture complex” with chains hanging from walls and ceilings and a bed connected to an electrical system, the military said Wednesday.

The troops were conducting an operation north of Muqdadiya, Iraq, when they made the discovery.

From December 8-11, the troops who found the complex also killed 24 people they said were terrorists and detained 37 suspects, according to a statement issued by Multinational Division North at Camp Speicher in Tikrit.

“Evidence of murder, torture and intimidation against local villagers was found throughout the area,” the military statement said.

Photos given to the news media show a filthy bed wired to an electrical system, with an outlet hanging from wires on the wall. Other photos show an entrance to the underground bunker and barbed wire stretched outside it.

No word on whether the media will show the pictures of the torture chamber, or whether Congress or the far left will condemn real torture with the same vigor as the act of making someone believe they are drowning – something all ‘victims’ walk away from unharmed.

Putting aside the fact the media still resists presenting a full picture of our enemies to the public, the fact is they cannot control the good news coming out of Iraq. During this period where al-Qaeda has promised a resurgence of its violent bombings of innocent Muslims the facts on the ground show a force retreating through the North of Iraq. And as they are pushed out of Iraq the vast majority of violence goes with them (exploding another liberal fantasy about al-Qaeda and Iraq):

The top U.S. commander in northern Iraq warned Wednesday that al-Qaeda in Iraq was still capable of staging spectacular attacks despite a 50% drop in bombings and other violence in his region.
Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling said that al-Qaeda in Iraq was being pushed north by the increased numbers of U.S. troops that surged into Baghdad over the summer and fall, and from Anbar province by “awakening councils” — the groups of Iraqi Sunni tribesmen that the U.S. military has backed to help fight al-Qaeda in Iraq and its allies.

“Many of them have transited our province” of Diyala, which has seen some of the worst violence in Iraq, he said. “There are still some very bad things happening in that province but we are continuing to pursue al-Qaeda so they don’t find a safe haven anywhere.”

For the math challenged liberals still grasping onto their mythologies about Iraq, the 50% reduction in violence with the terrorists still transiting Diyala Province means they are on the run, incapable of getting their footing to execute any serious counter attacks. When they are pushed out of Diyala in the coming weeks, then the majority of the violence will have been removed – since it is half gone already.

This pattern has been repeated all over Iraq, so why people deny it is happening simply begs a question about the person in denial, not the path Iraq is on. That is because, while Diyala is experiencing the effects of terrorists being flushed out of their Province, other areas which were the birth place of the Surge are seeing grass roots reconciliation. Shiites and Sunnis are welcoming each other back to rebuild their neighborhoods.

Back at work in the truck chassis repair shop where gunmen murdered his brother for being a Shi’ite, Yasir Yacoub says he is glad to be home 18 months after fleeing with his family.

Yacoub is part of the small Shi’ite Muslim minority in Falluja, an overwhelmingly Sunni Arab city west of Baghdad that just last year was notorious as a stronghold of al Qaeda militants who declared war on Shi’ites and Americans alike.

His family fled the city but returned last month, reassured after local tribes largely turned against the guerrillas.

The return of displaced Shi’ite families to Falluja and the rest of western Iraq’s Anbar province is one of the clearest signs that the sectarian conflict in this part of Iraq is ending, local authorities say. Families say they now feel safe.

The Shiia and Sunni locals are not just living side by side, they have taken up arms and are defending their communities side by side – they are fighting al-Qaeda together:

Attacks plummet as Shias join Sunnis in neighbourhood patrols to tackle militants and reunite communities Muhammad is one of the thousands of young Baghdadi men to have joined neighbourhood security groups, which have mushroomed over the last year and are a crucial factor in the dramatic decline in civilian deaths. US soldiers call them “concerned local citizens”; Iraqis just call them sahwa (awakening) after the so-called Anbar awakening in western Iraq, which has seen Sunni tribal sheikhs take on foreign-led Islamists.

There are now an estimated 72,000 members in some 300 groups set up in 12 of Iraq’s 18 provinces, and the numbers are growing. They are funded, but supposedly not armed, by the US military. “It is Iraq’s own surge,” said a western diplomat, “and it is certainly making a difference.”

Major General Joseph Fil, the outgoing US commander for Baghdad, said this week that the number of attacks in the capital had fallen almost 80% since November 2006, while murders in Baghdad province were down by 90% over the same time period, and vehicle-borne bombs had declined by 70%.

The city’s neighbourhood security groups vary greatly in form, content and function. But they all appear to have sprung from a shared desire to rise above the sectarian tensions tearing apart large areas of their city.

Though they are still dominated by Sunnis, the patrols’ make-up increasingly reflects the ethnic and sectarian community they are guarding. An increasing number of Shia are now joining their ranks, some in a bid to counter the influence of Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi army in their area.

The result is more confidence in themselves, local heroes who became such fighting al-Qaeda, and life returning to the streets – with a new future to explore:

Sunni Muslims marked the beginning of the Eid al-Adha holiday Wednesday, with thousands of worshippers gathering in mosques around Baghdad in an atmosphere of optimism after months of declining violence.

“This Eid differs from the previous ones, as we have received unexpected numbers of worshippers,” Jamal al-Kubaisi, imam of Abu Hanifa, the biggest Sunni mosque in the Iraqi capital, told The Associated Press.

He said there were so many people at the mosque that they spilled over into the backyard of the mosque and into the streets.

The Iraqis are giving thanks for coming out of the darkness al-Qaeda brings with it. They have taken control of their destiny and their choice for their future is aligned against al-Qaeda. The change in Iraq is stunning, almost like the Berlin Wall falling. There will still be setbacks and challenges, but the path is the right one for them and the world. The only ones it is not going to be good for is al-Qaeda, and all those Neville Chamberlains on the left here in the US who were convinced Iraq was a lost cause and would have left it for al-Qaeda to rule and plunder.

One response so far

One Response to “Iraq Update 12/20/07 – Reconciliation Spreads Across Iraq”

  1. crosspatch says:

    A couple of things to keep in mind when watching this month’s statistics.

    1. A lot of old mass graves were found this month. This month’s “civilian casualty” numbers are going to include a huge portion (probably more than half) that were actually killed months ago. So this month’s numbers are not going to reflect this month’s deaths … or be any indication of the danger of living in Iraq this month.

    2. We are getting to the point where US casualty rates will not drop much further. We average about 10 non-combat deaths a month in Iraq from illness, injury, traffic accidents, aircraft crashes, etc. To give an example using last month’s statistics: last month there were 37 US deaths in Iraq and 8 of those were from “non-hostile” causes. So there were 29 deaths from hostile causes. This month so far there are 5 “non-hostile” deaths and 10 “hostile” or 15 US deaths. It is going to be very difficult to get much below 10 even if ALL hostile activity stops simply due to the number of troops in the area and the nature of their daily activities.