Sunday, November 04, 2007

  • Iraqi Islamic Party: “Al Qaeda is Defeated” Michael Yon. November 1, 2007:
    “Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated,” according to Sheik Omar Jabouri, spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party and a member of the widespread and influential Jabouri Tribe. Speaking through an interpreter at a 31 October meeting at the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters in downtown Baghdad, Sheik Omar said that al Qaeda had been “defeated mentally, and therefore is defeated physically,” referring to how clear it has become that the terrorist group’s tactics have backfired. Operatives who could once disappear back into the crowd after committing an increasingly atrocious attack no longer find safe haven among the Iraqis who live in the southern part of Baghdad. They are being hunted down and killed. Or, if they are lucky, captured by Americans.

    Colonel Ricky Gibbs, the American brigade commander with responsibility for the Rashid District in south Baghdad today told me, “So goes South Baghdad goes Baghdad.” General Petraeus had told me similar things about the importance of South Baghdad. In fact, Rashid is quickly developing into what might be one of the final serious battlegrounds of the war.

    During the meeting, another member of the Iraqi Islamic Party said that al Qaeda has changed its strategy now that fomenting civil war between Sunni and Shia has backfired. Al Qaeda has shifted targets, now trying to generate friction between tribes. This time, however, the tribes are onto the game early, and they are not playing.

  • Concerned Citizens fend off attack, Iraqi Army Mechanized Company Slams the Door MultiNationalForce-Iraq:
    Coalition forces saw a possible glimpse of the future in Hawr Rajab recently, when they observed Concerned Local Citizens (CLC) at a checkpoint come under attack from insurgents, defend themselves, and then receive reinforcements from Iraqi Army troops, Oct. 31.
  • The Real Iraqi Miracle: Opting for tolerance, by Dean Barnett. Weekly Standard October 31, 2007:
    ... the greatest progress hasn't been on the military front, impressive as those strides have been. The real breakthrough has been with the Iraqi people. Throughout Iraq, Iraqi citizens have decided that the fighting must end. They have tired of the sectarian strife that made swaths of their country a killing field. Having sampled something that could be called a civil war, they have collectively decided that they would rather live in a peaceful society. This means that each sect will have to tolerate the other sects' presence.

    Throughout Iraq, ordinary citizens have tipped off American troops to the presence of not only al Qaeda forces but members of their own sect bent on violence. They have also tipped off American troops to the presence of hundreds of IEDs, saving countless American lives. And they have done all of this knowing that they were risking death by doing so.

    Although grassroots politics in America is of a less perilous sort, this too is a form of grassroots politics. Ordinary people have involved themselves with the fate of their nation, and made an enormous difference. While the Iraqi government remains mostly dysfunctional and enmeshed in squabbling, the Iraqi people have chosen the course their country will take.

  • Inconvenient Civilians IraqPundit. Nov. 4, 2007:
    Recently, I've been puzzled by the reactions of friends or colleagues who ask after my family in Baghdad. When I reply that the relatives say things are getting better, I hear: "Better than what?" I also get strange looks and laughter. So, I remain quiet.

    In a way, I can't blame them. Most friends and colleagues get their information from rented experts (whether American or Arab) who know nothing about Iraq. And stories such as this get little play in the media.

    The Associated Press reports: "In a dramatic turnaround, more than 3,000 Iraqi families driven out of their Baghdad neighborhoods have returned to their homes in the past three months as sectarian violence has dropped, the government said Saturday." . . .