13 November 2007

Where is the good news in Iraq

Haven't heard much in the news about Iraq? Well you're not alone. Seems like the news outlets are cutting back on coverage in Iraq due to the lack of car bombs and death. I understand that there is some pressing issues elsewhere such as emergency rule in Pakistan, and Hamas opening fire on Fatah gathering in Gaza. However, it seems that American media would be happy to cover the developments in Iraq since it's generated so many sales in the past. Well, either "If it doesn't bleed it doesn't lead", or the media has an interest in assuring failure in Iraq to usher in a new administration in 2008, or people just don't give a damn. Only time will tell.

I think it has become quite clear that the Democrats want to see more deaths (particularly US ones) since that will justify full-scale withdrawal, defense budget cutbacks, and more money for to expand their entitlement bureaucracies. That was evident during the Petraeus/Crocker testimony when that yahoo SEN Boxer (D-CA) pulled out her own charts of the US death toll to illustrate her elation that it was the deadliest summer for US troops. But, hey, it's a democracy and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Well some big things have happened in the last couple of weeks. Former insurgents of the Islamic Army have taken on Al-Qaeda in the troubled Diyala Province:

"At least 18 people were killed in clashes between al-Qaida fighters and former insurgents who turned against the terror network, Iraqi police and a former insurgent leader said Saturday.

Most members of the Islamic Army, a major Sunni Arab insurgent group that includes former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, joined U.S. forces battling al-Qaida in Iraq earlier this year, though some of the group's leaders deny any contact with American troops.

A top Islamic Army leader, known as Abu Ibrahim, told The Associated Press that his fighters ambushed al-Qaida members near Samarra on Friday, killing 18 people and seizing 16 prisoners.

An Iraqi police officer in the area corroborated Abu Ibrahim's account, and said the hostages would not be transferred to Iraqi police. Instead, he said he believed the Islamic Army would offer a prisoner swap for some of its members held by al-Qaida. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because of the situation's sensitivity."

And leaders in the once written-off Anbar province (home to Fallujah, Ramadi) have visited the Prez in the hopes of encouraging reconstruction opportunities.

"RAMADI, Iraq_Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, who took over as leader of anti-al-Qaida Sunni tribes after his brother was assassinated, said he will leave Thursday for a two-week trip to the United States.

Abu Risha's younger brother, Sheik Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha, was largely credited with bringing a measure of peace to Iraq's vast and western Anbar province by uniting tribal forces and siding with the U.S. military against the terror network. The Sunni stronghold, which shares borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, was among the most violent
in Iraq a year ago.
The Anbar Awakening Council founder was killed Sept. 13 in a bombing, just 10 days after he met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Anbar. Bush hailed the Sunni leader's courage and pledged to help rebuild the province.

Sheik Ahmed Abu Risha, who took over the movement, told The Associated Press in an interview this week that he will leave Thursday and will visit Vermont, New York, Texas and Washington, D.C., where he hopes to meet Bush, although his itinerary was not fully determined.

"I will not come back to Anbar if I don't meet with President Bush. If he doesn't meet with me, I'll go to the Democrats and see what they have to say," he said, laughing.

The sheik said he wanted to learn how individual states work within the larger U.S. federal system. He hoped to attract investors to Anbar to provide jobs.

"We defeated al-Qaida, but what then? People need jobs," said Sameer Rashid, Abu Risha's assistant and translator.

Abu Risha said he will visit the 1st Battalion, 172nd Armor Division of the Vermont Army National Guard, a unit he befriended when they were stationed in Ramadi from July 2005 until June 2006. He also will stop at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, the nation's first private military college.

Abu Risha will travel with Maamoun Sami Rashid, the governor of Anbar.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad confirmed that Iraqi officials from Anbar were traveling to the United States as part of an international visitor's program, which aims to increase mutual understanding.

Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said the delegates would meet with state and local leaders as well as hold meetings on the national level. But she declined to give more details about the trip or confirm the identities of the travelers."

Former insurgency groups working with us in Iraq has been proven to improve security and paving the way for economic development. It's squeezing Al-Qaeda which explains Osama's latest ruckus. The arabic media is abuzz of the sharp drop in violence, perhaps even a little too jubilant since there is still more fighting, reconstruction, and legitimizing the Iraqi government on the plate. You didn't hear anything about this? Well, no worries I got your back.