16 December 2007

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly News of Iraq (week of 16 Dec)

The weekly roundup of what's important in Iraq in my humble opinion. Coverage of the Iraq war in American media has freakin' tanked, so thanks for keeping yourself informed if you're reading this. If you're from a coalition country, you're paying for it, so here's what's happening.

The Good: Despite a lot of naysaying in British media about Basrah looking like the set of Road Warrior once the British turned over security, the British turned over security responsibility of the southern province to the Iraqis in an upbeat ceremony today. This marks the 9th province that the Iraqi Security Forces are responsible for with only 9 left to go (see MNF-I press release as well). The British were always ahead of the power curve in matters of counter-insurgency, possibly due to their harsh experiences in Northern Ireland. So kudos to the British, as this marks a success in highlighting their stabilization efforts in Iraq, cheerio! Us yanks could learn a lesson from the British and understand a good model for properly transitioning security in some of the larger, more populated provinces. I certainly don't think we should be here forever, and neither does National Security Advisor Rubaie who said "No permanent US Bases" this week. Iraq's oil exports are up above pre-war levels, which probably explains how they paid off their IMF loan early. Say whatever Al Gore soundbite you want about the perils of oil, but the oil exports here means more money for reconstruction and services for the Iraqis.

The Bad: More nasty terrorist attacks this week including one that targeted sheikhs who promoted awakening and reconciliation in the troubled Diyala province northeast of Baghdad. There was also a car bomb attack in the quiet Shiite province of Maysan. Predictably, the media focused on these spectacular attacks giving terrorists more incentive to repeat their tactics, sigh. It's still unclear who was responsible for these vicious attacks: Al-Qaeda in Iraq, ex-baathists, or maybe even Iranian-backed Special Groups? Well whoever it was, the Badr Corps holds a lot of sway in the southern provinces and is probably going to lay the smack down. I definitely wouldn't want to be a foreign terrorist down in the Shiite heartleand after this atrocity.

The Ugly: Looks like it's Back to School for Moqtada al-Sadr! I'm not expecting the hilarious romp that the late, great Rodney Dangerfield had, but rather as a way for Mooqdie to gain more legitimacy for the Sadrists and Mahdi Army. They've been lying low and the Iraqi citizens, government, and coalition commanders are very appreciative (that includes LT Nixon, mortars suck!); however, it looks like they might be biding their time and re-organizing. Things change in a heartbeat in this country and it would be wise to pay attention to the activities of the Mahdi Army lest we all get caught with our pants around our ankles.


Iraqis take charge of security in Basrah

2 comments:

themorethingschange... said...

"it looks like they might be biding their time and re-organizing. Things change in a heartbeat in this country and it would be wise to pay attention to the activities of the Mahdi Army lest we all get caught with our pants around our ankles."
I think you're 100%, smack-dab, right on about that...the kind of glory MaS craves doesn't die because of a few hundred thousand foreign military types taking up temporary residency in Iraq and environs.

LT Nixon said...

Sadr is a strange dude. Check out this discussion from a gamer link about "Muqtada Atari"