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The Iraqi Insurgency Is Collapsing!

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There are growing signs of hostility between secular Iraqi insurgents and Muslim extremists — some of them foreigners — fighting under the banner of al-Qaida.

The factions have exchanged threats and are increasingly divided over the strategy of violence, much of it targeting civilians, that aims undermine the fragile new government.

[…]

In Ramadi, the capital of Anbar Province and a stronghold of the insurgency, homegrown Iraqi fighters have begun recently to air their differences in menacing fliers plastered on walls and distributed in mosques — making threats and denouncing the tactics of the extremists, according to witnesses who have seen the fliers.

Some of the fliers threaten reprisals against the militants or threaten to inform police of their identity and whereabouts. The extremists have not publicly responded, but residents say the fighters have kept a low profile since the appearance of the fliers in the Euphrates-side city and that some of them may have moved to the outskirts to avoid clashes.

Ramadi’s insurgents argue that al-Qaida fighters are giving the resistance a bad name and demand they stop targeting civilians and kidnappings. Al-Qaida militants counter that Iraqis who join the army and police are “apostates” — Muslims who renounce their faith — and deserve to be killed.

“They have tarnished our image and used the jihad to make personal gains,” said Ahmed Hussein, a 30-year-old mosque imam from Ramadi, speaking of al-Qaida fighters. “They have no legitimacy,” said Hussein, who claims insurgency links but says he’s not a fighter himself.

In Baghdad’s mainly Sunni Azamiyah district, another insurgency hotbed, residents have repeatedly brought down from walls and street light poles the black banners of al-Qaida in Iraq.

The rift also involves Sunni Arab tribal leaders frustrated by the continuing violence. And it is being encouraged by Iraqi authorities in the hope that it would isolate the militants. Iraq’s local TV channel, Al-Iraqiya has recently been showing nightly interviews with captured Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters, many who speak of alleged links to Syrian intelligence.

Iraq’s newly elected president, Kurdish leader Jalal Talabani, urged insurgents to sit down and talk with the new government, but he’s made it clear his offer is exclusively available to homegrown Iraqi insurgents and not to extremists or foreign fighters.

“We must find political and peaceful solutions with those duped Iraqis who have been involved in terrorism and pardon them, and invite them to join the democratic process,” Talabani said Thursday as he was sworn in at parliament. “But we must firmly counter and isolate the criminal terrorism that’s imported from abroad and is allied with criminal Baathists.”

[…]

Meanwhile, there are unconfirmed news reports in Arab media that factions of the insurgency may be indirectly negotiating with authorities to lay down their arms in return for amnesty, jobs and reconstruction money. The Iraqi government has not commented.

There is a growing feeling among Sunni Arabs that boycotting the landmark Jan. 30 election may have been a mistake. Shunning the vote left Sunni Arabs, who make up 15 percent to 20 percent of Iraq’s estimated 26 million people, with less than 20 of parliament’s 275 seats.

[…]

In the most striking example so far of the shifting Sunni ground, the Association of Muslim Scholars — which has tacitly supported the insurgency — made a surprise about-face last week and appealed to supporters to join Iraq’s nascent army and police.

If heeded, that move could improve the perception of Iraq’s U.S.-trained army and police as the exclusive domain of Shiites and Kurds. it also could — significantly — lure away from the insurgency any fighters looking for a regular income and a less perilous life.

Let’s all remember that there was one particular event that has caused the insurgency to weaken so dramatically. And that was the successful election in January.

Kerry, had he been elected, would have indefinitely postponed the election, and would have gone on a trip around the world, groveling and begging the French and Germans for a few extra troops in Iraq. It is unlikely they would have complied.

But even if they had sent a handful of military personnel to Iraq, without the successful election, the insurgency would have only grown stronger. And instead of a fledgling democracy in an increasingly stable Iraq, we would have more chaos and death, and a new President desperate to get the hell out of there ASAP.

And the media, along with their Democrat friends, would have blamed it all on Bush, and said that Kerry was handed an impossible mission by his incompetent predecessor. And that cutting and running was the only sensible thing to do.

But that’s not going to happen now. Instead, we are seeing the birth of a great democratic movement in the Muslim World.

You can compare our President to a retarded chimp or a NAZI dictator all you want. But history will speak much more kindly of him…

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About RJ

  • SFC SKI

    Well, I would hol off on the triumphalism and I-told-you-so for a bit longer. I firmly believe, and events back up my guarded optimism that the situation is improving daily in Iraq, and that stability will be achieved, we still have a long way to go.
    On thing this article does touch on is that not all insurgent forces have the same motivation. If Iraqi insurgents do become more poilitically involved, and if they feel the foreign fighters are doing more harm than good, they will split further, and in fact actively work or fight against the foreign fighters, and that can only be a good thing.

  • gonzo marx

    ya know..i was very pleased reading the first part of this Article..happy that things were going well for our Troops, and that progress could be made…

    then RJ sez..
    *Kerry, had he been elected, would have indefinitely postponed the election, and would have gone on a trip around the world, groveling and begging the French and Germans for a few extra troops in Iraq. It is unlikely they would have complied.

    But even if they had sent a handful of military personnel to Iraq, without the successful election, the insurgency would have only grown stronger. And instead of a fledgling democracy in an increasingly stable Iraq, we would have more chaos and death, and a new President desperate to get the hell out of there ASAP.

    And the media, along with their Democrat friends, would have blamed it all on Bush, and said that Kerry was handed an impossible mission by his incompetent predecessor. And that cutting and running was the only sensible thing to do. *
    RJ heading into political assasination attempts, spin and a bullshit fairy tale on his speculation of “what would have happened”

    should have stuck with just the Facts…instead you had to try and “score” with your made up whining

    so my Question is..

    how long have you been staring into those Crystal Balls and tea leaves?

    this isn’t quite as bad as your “thalidimide baby” crap …but the attempt is just as feeble and transparent…tho not quite as offensive
    and here we see

    final score in the Respect column..

    RJ minus 3 points

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    What RJ posted does make a lot of sense, though. There’s no reason why the outside terrorists and internal insurgents should be terribly friendly towards each other. Their objectives in Iraq were different from the start, and their attitudes towards the Iraqi people are certainly radically different.

    Now that the government is getting going I bet a lot of the insurgents are trying to figure out how to ease their way back into society, and I imagine that ratting out some Al Quaeda would put them in pretty good standing with the powers that be.

    Dave

  • gonzo marx

    like i said Dave…the first part was pleasing enough..and not too far fetched speculation based on plenty of “unconfirmed sources” but still…within the Realm of reality..and with just enough Facts in there to be plausable

    i Quoted where he jumped the shark and showed his True Colors…

    he earns yet another Insidious Troglodyte Award

    congratulations RJ!!

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    GM:

    This isn’t mere crystal ball gazing.

    Kerry said REPEATEDLY that elections COULD NOT TAKE PLACE, and that, if elected, he would postpone them.

    Kerry also said that he believed French troops and German politicans would come to the table and send “peacekeepers” to Iraq if only the arrogant Bush was finally out of office.

    But Kerry lost. And the elections went ahead on schedule. And they were successful. And the insurgency has been stifled largely because of it.

    So…how exactly am I wrong here?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Call me all the names you want to, GM. It just reflects poorly on you.

    As for the MSM, they had it in for Bush for MONTHS before the election. Everytime I opened NEWSWEEK or TIME, it was “Iraq in chaos” or “Bush blundered” or some such, every fucking issue.

    If Kerry would have won, it’s OBVIOUS that these same people would have claimed that Bush lost because of Iraq, and that it’s a mess because of him, a needless and pointless war for OIL or whatever.

    And Kerry also pledged, during the campaign, to bring home THOUSANDS OF TROOPS regardless of the situation in Iraq, and he also pledged to announce a date for TOTAL WITHDRAWAL.

    So, yeah. If Kerry had won, Iraq would be a much different place right now (and in the future). Sorry if that hurts your delicate feelings, but it’s clearly true…

  • gonzo marx

    RJ…because you are speculating on something that DID NOT HAPPEN…ie: Kerry winning the election

    it is just as likely that he MIGHT have said…”wow..after actually seeing all the info available to the White House , i am going to keep Colin Powell on as Sec of STate and let him go ahead as planned and see how it works out”

    both your’s and my “predictions” are equally worthless

    let’s stick with the facts shall we?

    or are you just pissed because you can’t pick on Clinton now that he and Bush Sr. are getting along after the whole tsunami thing?

    i’m no Dem, and could care less about Kerry…but the type of cowardly bullshit tactics you are attempting here by bashing someone NOT EVEN INVOLVED since November is just childish and silly

    and we all know, gentle Readers…that when childish and silly rears it’s silly putty head from out of the dumpster that yours truly will be there to giggle

    nuff said?

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “you are speculating on something that DID NOT HAPPEN…”

    Of course (thank God!).

    But Kerry’s own statements are evidence that my alternte-universe prediction is spot-on. Unless, of course, he was just a lying bastard during the election, and would have done a 180 after inauguration day…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    it is just as likely that he MIGHT have said…”wow..after actually seeing all the info available to the White House , i am going to keep Colin Powell on as Sec of STate and let him go ahead as planned and see how it works out”

    That scenario is “just as likely”?

    C’mon. This guy was, no IS, a Senator. He gets pretty much the same info as the Prez.

    The only way he would have pulled a 180 is if he was a lying bastard. (Which he is! So maybe you have a point!)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “when childish and silly rears it’s silly putty head from out of the dumpster that yours truly will be there to giggle”

    Call me all the names you want. The facts back me up.

    Kerry said REPEATEDLY that the election COULD NOT EVER take place in January.

    But it did.

    Oh, and Kerry wouldn’t have been inaugurated until late January.

    So, not only does he pull a 180, but he does it just a few days after becoming Prez?

    Unlikely.

    Naw, he woulda postponed the election. And the terrorists would have been therefore emboldened.

    And there would not be an elected gov’t in Iraq today. And the insurgency would still be going strong. And Kerry would be pulling troops out, and begging for an exit strategy, and announcing a date for complete withdrawal.

    Hey, those are HIS OWN FUCKING WORDS!

    Smile, GM. :)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    it is just as likely that he MIGHT have said…”wow..after actually seeing all the info available to the White House , i am going to keep Colin Powell on as Sec of STate and let him go ahead as planned and see how it works out”

    Sooo…Bush was right?

    Thanks! :)

  • gonzo marx

    yer just too much kid..but that’s ok

    if Bush was correct or not is still pending..looks good so far..

    my problem with the war in Iraq stems ONLY from the fact that we were decieved about the WHY of it

    where are those pesky WMD’s again?

    if you believe ousting Saddam was worth a pre-emptive strike into a sovereign nation..ok…he is the president and it’s his call

    folks like you impeached th elast president for lying about a blow job..howabout fro lying abuot the reasons to go to war and getting our troops killed an dspending hundreds of billions of tax payers dollars?

    but you want to skip all that and instead bash the guy that lost the election

    RJ sez..
    *Kerry said REPEATEDLY that the election COULD NOT EVER take place in January.*

    ok..show me that Quote once please…some news article, stump speech..anything..i don’t quite remember those words coming from his mouth…i am not certain he didn’t say it..but toss up a source

    as for #11 above me there..

    note what you quoted from me was a FANRASY of what Kerry MIGHT have said..just as likely as your ficticious scenario..

    you win the dittohead award for quoting out of context in a juvenile attempt at making points..

    read closely RJ..my ONLY beef with you here was the ficticious speculation and bashing …i gave you NO shit for the speculation based on dubious unconfirmed sources..or any of the rest of it

    that’s because..being ex-military myself..i only want for our Troops to be safe, and for this to be all over with..

    but the same President who said “we will not be involved in Nation building” is doing just that…note the Pentagon request for a few hundred billion over the next few years to build PERMANENT bases in Iraq..they are asking for 10 at this time

    me?..i just want the Troops home and safe, not being killed and wounded for SOMEONE ELSE’S WAR

    simple enough for ya?

    Excelsior!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “where are those pesky WMD’s again?”

    Ask the French, Russians, and Germans who ALSO felt that Saddam’s Iraq was still in possession of WMDs…

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    So.

    Iraq is becoming more stable.

    Afghanistan is alright.

    Lebanon is moving in the right direction.

    Egypt and Saudi Arabia have offered semi-democratic elections.

    The Palestinians have actually elected someone other than Yasser Arafat…

    Libya is WMD-free…

    And numerous former-Soviet satellite states are marching towards freedom.

    All within the last 4 years…

    But, let’s not credit Bush with anything!

  • gonzo marx

    but i do credit him with some things

    lying about the reasons we went to war

    not catching bin Laden

    not being able to pronounce nuclear

    a bunch of stuff

    kidding aside..i also give him credit where it is due ni some areas…just not some of the ones you seem to

    Arafat died, hence the elections..or are you claiming Bush killed Arafat?

    Libya never had any serious WMD’s and has been wanting back into normal relations for well over 10 years..

    Egypt and Saudi Arabia ain’t done shit but talk yet..we will see what happens..i am hoping it works out and makes progress..but not laying any money down on it

    Afghanistan is where we SHOULD BE…still not stable..the number 1 opium producer in the world..and where is Osama?

    you know..the fucking mastermind behind the Towers falling down…public enemy number one

    still ain’t found him..ain’t heard the President say SHIT about him since the whole march to Iraq started…

    ya wan tme to think he is serious about fighting terrorists..then fucking fight some…get bin Laden…

    remember…there were NO Iraqi’s on those planes..a bunch of Saudi’s…but NO Iraqi’s

    part of why i am pissed at the Shrub is he hasn';t gotten bin Laden yet

    that clear enough for ya?

    and the Soviet Union now appoints their governors and the Duma..you only vote for which Party you want…democracy in Russia has been set back by how far under Putin?

    i am very happy about the Ukraine tho..how did Bush do that exactly?…i thought it was those protestors

    stick with Facts, RJ..and you and i can agree on stuff..or disagree honestly and without rancor

    keep spouting off an dtrying to tak ecredit for stuff that is NOT involved and we will keep going round and round, and i will leave it to the gentle Readers to decide who is trying to be honest here and who is trying to spin

    nuff said?

    Excelsior!

  • SFC SKI

    Gonzo, a brief note on “permanent” bases.
    Soldiers living in all but the biggest headquarters bases live in what can be kindly called squalid shitholes. I lived in a building that had had most of the roof and an entire wall removed by nearby bombing. It was hastily rebulit and reroofed, and the intermittent electricy was provided by a 30kw generator running 220 volts through single extnsion cord that bracnched out to power a small store bought AC unit, and whatever comforts I and my 6 roomates might use packed into a room approximately 12′ x 20′.
    It was palacial compared to the plywood shanty built inside the food processing plant, where I walked through pools of standing water of dubious origin to wait my turn for 1 of 10 computers set aside for email use in a large tent.
    Showers were open camp style, hot water depending on the time of day and the heat of the sun.
    THat was a big step up from the un-airconditioned tent next to the fuel tanks of a power plant, where we fought with flies to eat food in a shaded area that had been an open -air maintenance bay.
    Which seemed like heaven compared to the ancient and disused abandoned British army compound where the toilet facilities were a hole in the floor, and the rooms where we were to sleep were covered in blown out glass and sheep and human feces. Showers were a five gallon can and a washcloth, privacy optional if you wanted to sweep out another room.

    If you’re not getting the point, we are building better accomodations for the people that need to live and work there for the duration, and if you are going to build it, you might as well make it durable, because when we leave we will turn it over to the Iraqis to use in either a civilian or military capacity.
    Permanent, more like built to last.

  • gonzo marx

    fair enough Ski..and thanks for the input..

    i was not criticizing the Army here..merely pointing out some facts

    being ex-Navy myself..well, we look at some things differntly than grunts have to

    NEVER take my being upset over the reasons we got into this for anything other than that

    as i have said repeatedly…all i want is our Troops home and safe…i KNOW they are doing the best job possible under the circumstances, and i am all for getting them whatever they need to do so

    like armor for the Humvees, which they SHOULD have had BEFORE entering into an elective, pre-emptive war…it’s one thing responding to an attack and not being able o set th etime an dplace…then you do with what ya have

    it IS inexcusable to not be prepared to the utmost when you are calling the shots

    THAT is part of my problem as well..sheer fucking incompetence on the part of those IN CHARGE…NOT the commanders and troops on the ground

    hope that help to clarify..and thanks again for the input

    Excelsior!

  • SFC SKI

    I did not take any of the above as criticism, buzzwords or all CAPS gets my attention.

    I’d prefer to only go back to Iraq as a tourinst, but we are years from that, and getting there takes the actions we are taking now.

    Iraq is one ugly country, and I have been all over the world. Really, the only redeeming feature is its people, and slowly buit surely htey are taking over and working for the future. We don’t want to stay there, they only want us to stay long enough to get the kob done, sounds good to me.

  • http://mistwereld.blogspot.com Floris Vermeir

    I think its a good evolution. And as David and other wrote, if the iraqi insurgents want to reintegrate, then identifying the Al-queda insurgents is an advantage for them.

    The election as written in the article was indeed a turning point. And as for the Suni boycot, well maybe that this way they will learn that boycotting, is a good symbol, but is of no use if you want to take part in governing your own country.

  • http://cranialcavity.net/wordpress/index.php Marc

    GM “how long have you been staring into those Crystal Balls and tea leaves?

    Answer: The same length of time Kerry did that prompted him into repeatedly declaring “I have spoken to foriegn leaders.”

  • http://cranialcavity.net/wordpress/index.php marc

    OBTW get of this crap GM “my problem with the war in Iraq stems ONLY from the fact that we were decieved about the WHY of it

    where are those pesky WMD’s again?”

    Are you that disingenious to believe your were “decieved” or just so misinformed that you believe it was the only reason the war was justified?

    OR like many of your ilk you choose to ignore the other double digit number of valid reasons, plainly outlined before the war, and pick on the sole issue where you can be close to stateing the truth.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    Well I think if Gore had been elected in 2000, September 11 would not have happened.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    >>Well I think if Gore had been elected in 2000, September 11 would not have happened.<<

    Are you really that clueless? They attacked the WTC the first time while he was Vice President, what would be different if he’d been elected president?

    Dave

  • Tw@

    Okay… I’m tiring of this form of exponential smoothing going on here about JFK2 (That’s John Fitzgerald Kerry with the 2 indicating the 2nd JFK, or shall we attach demi-god status and make it jfk2 in non-captial font).

    Kerry showed his butt in Nam,

    Received MORE combat medals in a shorter amount of time than… are you ready…. Audie Murphy (the most highly decorated soldier in WWII).

    Does that seem odd. Okay, he boogers out of the conflict overseas with the magic 3 (purple hearts) joins the anti-war movement (can’t blame him)… he’s a suck up all around.

    He sucked up to the establishment by going to war. He sucked up to the darlings of the peace movement. And missed movement with the American voters during the campaign.

    It wasn’t all his fault, the Hollyweed egomanics probably had something to do with it… they jumped on the band wagon and opened their mouths… emitting loud oral flatuance, which turned off many (would-be) supporters of the democratic party, but not necessarily Kerry.

    People vote like playing chess. It’s not about the person… it’s about the party — ’til hell freezes over. In a word Groupthink. Which as you know is not considered an attribute, but rather a deficit. Lemming like, marching to the sea to fall off of the cliff… and then… wonder of wonders, can’t see their own shortcomings with the tactics and with great howling and gnashing of teeth continue to show they’re pimply asses with puffery about Bush this and Bush that… Cheney this and Cheney that…

    Pick you sorry asses up, dust your sorry asses off… shut your pie holes and get a flippin’ plan put together…. NOW!

    Wishing, and whinin’ is not going to cut it. Tell the dorks on the far left (with media buyin’) to shut the *&#% up, take the Carvelles, Kerrys, Gores and Clintons out to dumpster and RE-INVENT the party… RE-INVIGORATE the discussion, RE-INVEST in core values, RE-INHABIT the political landscape.

    American’s don’t like losers, sore-losers are even loathed all the more.

    Oh… and if YOU didn’t vote (which a fair percentage didn’t)

    a) You don’t have shit to say about it
    b) Shame on you

    Enlighten people… don’t turn them off

    Educate people… don’t engage in nasty name calling.

    Engage in logical, reasoned discourse.

    Embrace the NEW capitalism, it’s what pays your rent.

  • http://counter-point.blogspot.com Scott

    “Are you really that clueless? They attacked the WTC the first time while he was Vice President, what would be different if he’d been elected president?”

    Dave, I was using hyperbole the same way RJ used it in his article concerning Kerry. It’s a good enough piece without going into speculation on what Iraq would or would not be like now if Kerry had been elected and supposedly postponed the elections. It’s mixing fact with fiction and is really nothing more than a bash at Kerry for something he didn’t do and that didn’t happen.

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    It was a hypothtical and not a terribly relevant one since Kerry is history.

    Dave

  • WTF

    Pesky WMD’s again….

    Personnaly I don’t care if there was WMD’s there or not. I want the oil, I want 25 cent per gallon gas to put in ma pick up, I want them Al-Quedi sum bitches keep up the good work impalin’ themselves on our weapons.

    I want to let evera’ ‘merican in uniform to know, that God is lookin’ out fer ya. He loves ya, we love ya, we respect ya, no matter what some of the internet idiots blindly repeat… they’re all brainwashed, haven’t got an original thought in the stupid gourds sittin atop their stooped shoulders… I should know, I TRY to teach those little sumbitches evera day at the U., slothful idiots, slackers, cheaters, dopers, drunks… to a large percentage.

    They don’t understand, and they don’t want to either….

    What did Kurt Vonnegutt say once…

    something like… “what was really scary was waking up one morning and finding out that my high school class was now in charge of the country”

    Just think… these stupid fuggers in college now… are REALLY stoopid. Hopefully the washout rate and a few other sifts for granularity in life, will separate most of the wheat from the chaff, and things won’t be too bad.

    Sometime I just gotta’ quoate Churchill when he stated that….

    A young person who isn’t a liberal has no heart, An older person who isn’t a conservative… has no brains.

    I’ll jist leave it at that.

  • Eric Olsen

    back to the original, thanks RJ, good job pointing out important day-to-day positives that we don’t hear enough about – not sure the Kerry bashing was necessary or even particularly germane: there are plenty of people now who daily proclaim the war and aftermath an unmitigated disaster and your story is more aptly directed at them than the guy history left behind

  • ALA

    What’s with all the smiles?

    If Iraq stabilizes and the muslim radicals evaporate into the sand, how does this help in the war on terrorism?

    Wasn’t Iraq supposed to be our surrogate battleground?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    Iraq wasn’t supposed to be a surrogate battleground. It just sort of worked out that way.

    If Iraq stabilizes, the radicals might go somewhere else, sure. They’re already active in plenty of other places, though, so the world wouldn’t be significantly worse off than it is right now.

    A stable, well-governed Iraq would be a step toward more stability throughout the Middle East, which would make the world significantly better off than it is right now.

  • Eric Olsen

    and a concerted “insurgency” will have been overcome, which will not go unnoticed in Arab/Islamic world

  • ALA

    Victor – your optimisum is admirable as is your reasoned answer

    But

    re:”A stable, well-governed Iraq would be a step toward more stability throughout the Middle East, which would make the world significantly better off than it is right now.”

    What ‘Middle East stability’ are you referring to? A bit more democratic instability in Iran and Syria might not be such a bad thing.

    Iraq was a fundamental stage in the war on terrorism, or so it was portrayed. How has success impacted that struggle?

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    I don’t know enough to be optimistic or pessimistic on this subject. I said “IF Iraq stabilizes,” very carefully avoiding any predictions about the likelihood of such an event.

    My focus was on explaining why it would be beneficial for Iraq to stabilize and for its terrorist so-called “insurgency” to fall apart in as ignominious and humiliating a failure as possible.

    Iran and Syria are not really stable. Repressive regimes are inherently brittle, and tend to collapse. All too often they leave chaos in their wake.

    If Iraq transitions to a representative government, changing rulers every few years through elections instead of through revolutions, and if its people can enjoy prosperity flowing from such stability, it could encourage other Middle East nations to move in similar directions. They could all become more stable by moving away from the repressive dictatorships and theocracies currently in power.

    Of course that’s a very big “if” but at the moment I’m simply explaining why it could be a positive development for these events to occur, and leaving aside the whole question of how likely or unlikely they may be.

  • MCH

    “Call me all the names you want to, it just reflects poorly on you.”
    – R.J. (Bobby) Elliott, comment #6, April 10, 05

    Bobby, me thinks thou doth whine to much…
    see below:

    “…giant thalidomide baby Max Cleland…”
    – R.J. (Bobby) Elliott, Kerry Dissed by Marines, B.C. post, July 31, 04

    “…Kerry voters are fucking communists…”
    – R.J. (Bobby) Elliott, Kerry Dissed by Marines, B.C. comment, July 31, 04

  • SFC SKI

    ALA, you are confusing the issue. The reason there is instability in Syria and Lebanon ( I’lll leave Iran for the moment) is not becasue of terrorist activity in Iraq, it is because slowly but surely Iraq is emerging as a self-governed nation with its people involved in the process. These people want that in their own country, and that is where the instability lies for their current regimes.
    Further, as the native Iraqi insurgents turn towards the political process, the foreign terrorists have one less safe place to turn, and those who might support them or join them see that too, and it has an effect on their own willingness to join. Fewer people will back the wrong horse when it is seen as weak and failing.

  • ALA

    SFC says-“as the native Iraqi insurgents turn towards the political process, the foreign terrorists have one less safe place to turn, and those who might support them or join them see that too, and it has an effect on their own willingness to join. Fewer people will back the wrong horse when it is seen as weak and failing.”

    more admirable optimism. Here’s an alternative take:

    When the terrorists see that once again they have failed in the face of secularism they return to their pre Iraq tactics and seek out and strike spectacular targets so as not to be seen as weak and failing. The US has not hardened its vulnerable targets in the meantime, so spectacular success is possible for them. Recruitment then goes way up.

  • SFC SKI

    Obviously, you did not read my whol;e post:
    1. As Iraq stabilizes, the insurgents will have one less safe are to hide and train in, and terrorsits do need to train.

    2. AS more people see the terrorists failing they will be less likely to join or support them, and terrorists need both support and fresh bodies. (outside of the disgruntled few in any society, most folks prefer ballots to bullets)

    So, looking at those 2 statements, you can probably see that the terrrorist networks will have less places to base and train and run ops out of, and less support and fewer people to do it with. So, where do you suppose they will go next to prepare for another large operation, and from where will they draw those people?

  • ALA

    SFC said – So, where do you suppose they will go next to prepare for another large operation

    Cleveland, or maybe Somalia. The world is a big place.

    “from where will they draw those people?”

    Wahabi recruitment and anti-American retoric might be down, but is it not still signifcant? Is there any reason to believe that we have driven a wedge between terrorism and radical islam?

    “you can probably see that the terrrorist networks will have less places to base and train and run ops out of, and less support and fewer people to do it with”

    perhaps this is true, but is ‘less’ significant when it only takes a few to carry out suicide attacks.

  • SFC SKI

    You want a timeline for peace to break out?

    I mean, what is your point here? Doing nothing to change the situation in the ME was not going to lessen the threat to the US or the rest of the world. Doing what we are doing now will obviously not bring about peace overnight, this is not some James Bond movie, but progress is being made slowly, measurably, and inexorably. Every place in which terrorsist can neither train nor recruit is one place less for them to draw support from as well, and they must in turn become diminshed in power. None of this will happen overnight, but doing nothing will ensure it never happens.

  • ALA

    SFC-“progress is being made slowly, measurably, and inexorably. Every place in which terrorsist can neither train nor recruit is one place less for them to draw support from as well, and they must in turn become diminshed in power”

    I hope that you are right, but I fail to see the inexorable logic of your argument. The good guys do not always win. Time will tell.

    “I mean, what is your point here?”

    My initial question was whether stability in Iraq was such good news for our war on terrorism if it has served as a gathering place for terrorists and a focus for their activities.

  • SFC SKI

    The use of “inexorable” may be predictive and hopeful, the outcome is far from being realized, but I do believe that if we do not turn aside from the task at hand, it will come about.

    I hope that now your question has been answered; the stabilization of Iraq will reduce terrorsim in the region and I believe in the world, for the reasons I outlined above.

  • http://cranialcavity.net/wordpress/index.php Marc

    Well said TW, exceopt this part

    Oh… and if YOU didn’t vote (which a fair percentage didn’t)

    a) You don’t have shit to say about it
    b) Shame on you

    Sorry that old line don’t fly. vote or not if you still pat federal taxes these idiot are still accountable to you. As long as you pat their salary thru taxes you have every right and obligation to be critical

  • TW@

    Marc,
    Good comeback, but not good enough. If you want it all, you have to commit.
    Which is how just about everything in life works out.
    You can’t change taxes, if you don’t vote in the right people to make it happen.

    TW

  • http://victorplenty.blogspot.com Victor Plenty

    “If you don’t vote, don’t speak” is a popular shibboleth in some quarters, but utterly lacking in moral weight.

    There are many ways to participate in a representative system of governance. Some participate by voting, some by speaking, and some by both. The person who chooses not to vote does not lose any other rights.

    The secret ballot protects us from those who would persecute us for voting against them, but also from those who would persecute us if they learn we did not vote the way they wanted us to.

    Attempting to silence those who do not vote is just as tyrannical as trying to silence those who vote for your political opponents.

  • Tw

    Okay, what ever you say. Unless you voted, then you just a disgruntled citizen who didn’t exercise a basic right.

    Wait a minute… now you’re complaining about rights… why?

    Obviously you don’t care enough about rights, so you now you want them, even tho you don’t use them…. but

    Come on, that’s a cop out. Everything that happens… no wait

    The government runs things (any government any country) They’re in charge… period.

    But Democratic Republics allow the citizens (who keep the government functioning) can pick and choose who they want running the Republic part….

    And you don’t want to do that? It’s not important? Moreover if you choose not to, it’s okay cuz you are entitled to an opinion.

    I agree… only if you don’t vote.

    Your political opinion, doesn’t mean shit, and carries little weight.

    SeeYah

  • HW Saxton

    I’m reading along, thinking pretty good
    job there RJ and then:”Kerry,had he been
    elected,would’ve indefinitely postponed
    the election… blah blah blibbity blah.

    C’mon now RJ get real.How in the fuck do
    you know what Kerry would have or would
    not have done? Are you psychic? In the
    throes of an ayahuasca induced vision of
    the political future of the Mid – East?
    Sharing telepathic communication with a
    cabinet of Kerry’s political advisors
    that don’t exist? Friend of Miss Cleo’s?

    Kerry didn’t even know what he was going
    to do about the situation if he made it
    into the Presidential office.That was a
    major part of his problem(s).Yet,you RJ,
    deign to inform the world at large of
    Kerry’s grand design for the political
    future of Iraq? Please R.J. keep them
    coming. Usually I have to watch Pay Per
    View for such great entertainment. Dude,
    go into comedy.Wait,never mind.I think
    you already have.

  • MCH

    Blasts kill 18 in market south of Baghdad
    By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN – Associated Press Writer – 10/22/06

    BAGHDAD, Iraq — Five bicycle bombs and a hail of mortar shells ripped apart a market south of Baghdad on Saturday, killing 18 people in yet another sign that Iraq’s government and U.S. forces were struggling to contain sectarian violence. Three U.S. Marines also were killed, making October the deadliest month for American forces this year.

    In Washington, President Bush met with his top military and security advisers to study new tactics to curb the staggering violence in Iraq, where more than 3½ years of war have now taken more American lives — at least 2,791 — than the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center.

    U.S. officials have blamed the skyrocketing violence on the holy month of Ramadan, which ends Sunday for Sunni Muslims, as well as the increased vulnerability of American forces during a major two-month security sweep in Baghdad and the approaching U.S. midterm election.

    A senior U.S. State Department official offered an unusually candid assessment of the security situation in an interview Saturday with Al-Jazeera television, saying the U.S. had shown ‘‘arrogance’’ and ‘‘stupidity’’ in Iraq. Alberto Fernandez, director of public diplomacy in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, also said the U.S. was ready to talk with any Iraqi group except al-Qaida in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation.

    At least 44 Iraqis were killed or found dead Saturday, keeping the month on pace to be the deadliest for Iraqis since April 2005, when The Associated Press began tracking the deaths. So far this month, at least 907 Iraqis have been killed in war-related violence, an average of 43 a day.

    That compares to an average daily death toll of about 27 since April 2005. The AP count includes civilians, government officials and police and security forces, and is considered a minimum based on AP reporting. The actual number is likely higher, as many killings go unreported.

    **The United Nations has said at least 100 Iraqis are now killed daily.**

    The deaths of the Marines raised the October death toll for American troops to 78, surpassing the year’s previous high figure of 76 in April. With more than a week left in the month, October is on course to be the deadliest month for American service members in two years.

    Despite the grim statistics, a British government minister said Saturday he expects Iraqis to take over much of the work being done by coalition troops within a year.

    The brutal market attack occurred in the violence-ravaged town of Mahmoudiyah shortly before Muslims began to prepare iftar, their evening meal to break the day’s Ramadan fast.

    A dozen mortars rained down on the market soon after the bombs hidden in plastic bags left on bicycles exploded, said police Lt. Hayder Satar. Such dual attacks are frequently employed by armed groups to inflict additional damage on crowds that form after the initial bombing.

    Police said they discovered and disarmed a sixth bomb-laden bicycle, Satar said. He said about 70 people were wounded and taken to hospitals.

    As violence spiraled closer to civil war this month, it also took an ominous new course with the outbreak of fighting among Shiites — the Mahdi Army and its rival Badr Brigade militia, the armed wing of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, or SCIRI.

    Both groups are believed to receive training, arms and money from the Shiite theocracy that runs neighboring Iran. Much of the top SCIRI leadership and Badr Brigade chieftains took refuge in Iran during Saddam’s Hussein’s rule, which was marked by brutal persecution of Shiites.

    Gunfights between the two militia groups broke out Saturday in Hamza al-Gharbi, about 60 miles south of Baghdad, after a bomb exploded near SCIRI offices. SCIRI supporters accused Madhi Army fighters of setting off the blast, police Capt. Muthana Khalid Ali said.

    At least two people were killed and four injured in the fighting, said another police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

    Ali said Iraqi army and police called for backup from American forces, who imposed a curfew on the city. There was no immediate confirmation of U.S. involvement from military spokesmen.

    The new bloodshed came after Iraqi security forces reasserted control over the southern city of Amarah, where rogue members of the Mahdi Army briefly seized control Friday. Twenty-five gunmen and police died in gunbattles before the Iraqi army moved in to retake the city, where the security forces are dominated by members of the Badr Brigade.

    The Shiite-on-Shiite violence was particularly alarming because the groups’ political wings both back Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Shiites are dominant in parliament. Further conflict between the militias could wreck Shiite unity and bring down al-Maliki’s government.

    Until February, violence in Iraq had largely been the work of Sunni Muslim insurgent attacks on U.S. forces or Shiites. But the Feb. 22 insurgent bombing of a major Shiite shrine in Samarra unleashed a rampage of sectarian killings among Shiites and Sunnis.

    Iraq’s main Sunni Arab party on Saturday strongly backed an accord signed the day before between Sunni and Shiite religious figures in Islam’s holiest city, Mecca. Organizers say they aim only to stop sectarian killings, rather than impose a truce to halt attacks against U.S. forces.

    Associated Press writers Hamza Hendawi and Sinan Salaheddin contributed to this report.

  • http://freedomnowonline.blogspot.com/ Freedom Now

    It took two years but the factors detailed in this article finally came to fruition.

    While there are still suicide attacks launched from out of town hitting the outskirts of Ramadi, the U.S. military now has control of the city.

    For political reasons many people are not willing to give U.S. forces time to finish the job. Its a pity…

    In Ramadi, a ragtag solution with real results
    Adapting to changing conditions, the U.S. trains and arms an auxiliary police unit, which has helped turn the tide against violence.

    By Chris Kraul, Times Staff Writer
    May 7, 2007

    RAMADI, IRAQ — Call it Neighborhood Watch, Iraqi-style.

    As recently as two months ago, U.S. forces didn’t dare stake out the Al Tash neighborhood of this insurgent stronghold in Al Anbar province. Enter 22-year-old Saif Sahed, a go-getter recruit for the Provincial Security Force, a new auxiliary police unit that offers hope for at least a bit of stability in the mean streets of Ramadi.

    Sahed lives in Al Tash, the kind of neighborhood where everyone knows everyone and newcomers are immediately noticed — and in recent years often have been insurgents.

    “If I find strangers or strange cars, I go to tell my officer. Last week we found some who were insurgents and they were detained,” Sahed said matter-of-factly. “The important thing is to make my neighborhood safe.”

    Because Sahed is young and illiterate, he ordinarily would not qualify for the Iraqi army or police. But for the last several weeks, he and his ragtag cohorts, wearing castoff army fatigues and numbering about 2,200, have filled crucial intelligence-gathering, patrol and checkpoint functions in the new provincial force.

    And some of them, including Sahed, are even going without pay, in hopes of someday getting the chance to join the police force and make $400 a month.

    The provincial force is an example of how the United States is adapting its military strategy to changing conditions. It is difficult to imagine U.S. forces earlier in the war arming and training a force made up mainly of unschooled rural Sunni Arab youths and Iraqi army veterans, groups once considered unsuitable for the post-Saddam Hussein security forces.

    Today, Sahed and other members of the force are helping staff “joint security stations.” The new inner-city military outposts, made up of U.S. and Iraqi forces, give the coalition a presence in areas such as Al Tash that just weeks ago were conceded to the insurgents.

    ‘Tipping point’ seen

    Together with the 4,500 police officers recruited in Ramadi since last May, the members of the Provincial Security Force, or PSF, have helped effect an improvement in security that has seen attacks on U.S. forces plummet and a surge in discoveries of insurgents’ weapons and munitions caches. U.S. military officers now talk of a “tipping point” in the three-year battle in Ramadi that has left much of this city in ruins.

    A lead collected by Sahed’s crew recently was a case in point. After an attack on a coalition Humvee cost a GI his legs, the group fanned out in Al Tash. The tip soon led them to a “stranger” who had a 155-millimeter artillery shell in his house and said, “Don’t worry, I’m using it against the Americans, not you.”

    Sahed’s commander, Maj. Sabaa Yusef Ju, arrested him on the spot.

    “We could have never developed that kind of actionable intelligence that fast,” said Lt. Jimm Spannagel with the Army 1st Infantry Division’s 2nd Brigade. “The PSF speaks the same language, establishes rapport with the locals and inspires trust. It’s allowing us to extend our reach.”

    Enlistments have grown, and the number of uniformed Iraqi police officers and provincial troops on Ramadi’s streets has multiplied to 6,700 from only 200 in July. Security has improved correspondingly.

    From an average of 30 insurgent attacks per day in December, such assaults had fallen to an average of fewer than four by last month, said the coalition’s commander in Ramadi, U.S. Army Col. John Charlton.

    Roadside bombs are still a major problem in Ramadi, but the numbers are declining. On one day in January, 11 bombs were triggered along a four-mile stretch of highway in west Ramadi that the GIs call Gremlin Road. There have been several days recently when none exploded anywhere in town.

    U.S. military officers credit the provincial force with much of the improvement.

    “About 10% of our intelligence is actionable, while 90% of their intelligence is actionable,” said Lt. Ed Clark, whose Army platoon patrols west Ramadi.

    Thanks to the swelling ranks of Iraqi police and provincial troops, the U.S. military is beginning to secure the second and third legs of its “clear, hold and build” counterinsurgency strategy, goals that just a few months ago seemed unreachable, said Capt. Jay McGee, an intelligence specialist.

    “Before, we’d do clearing operations with sweeps through town but fail to hold ground once our troops left. It was like playing whack-a-mole. Hit it here, come back and hit it over and over again…. Now we’re holding our ground, and Ramadi may have reached a tipping point.”

    The change came about at the urging of Sunni Muslim sheiks in the Ramadi area who in recent months have coalesced to support the U.S.-led coalition. Fed up with the insurgents’ killings and their acts of intimidation in Ramadi, the sheiks came to the coalition in September to tell the U.S.-led force that they were ready to cooperate and would urge their tribes to supply recruits for the Iraqi army and police.

    The sheiks also suggested that the coalition legitimize hundreds of irregular bands, consisting mainly of armed family and tribal members, by creating a separate force for those who technically didn’t meet recruitment standards for the army or police.

    U.S. officers, who were at the time fighting insurgents to a standoff, at best, accepted the idea of another column of allied troops in Ramadi.

    So were born the so-called emergency response units, which last month were rechristened the Provincial Security Force.

    Surprise response

    But even the most optimistic U.S. colonel was not prepared for the flood of recruits once the sheiks got the word out that joining the army, police and provincial force had their approval. Recently, 1,500 Iraqi youths showed up to enlist in the police, more than recruiters could take.

    Charlton says he now puts recruits in the provincial force until they can qualify for army or police slots. Literacy classes are beginning in several units to help members qualify to advance.

    “Kids come up and ask if they can join the army or police. We make them irregulars in the PSF until there is a place for them,” he said.

    Another change that helped recruiting was a policy introduced in February promising army recruits from Al Anbar that they would be based close to home if they enlisted. Within two days of the switch, 400 youths had signed up.

    “These guys are getting to the attacks before they happen,” Army Staff Sgt. Todd Bair said. “They know who the bad guys are, and they are helping us get weapons and snipers off the streets.”

    It remains to be seen whether the improved conditions can be sustained. Much will depend on the 25 Ramadi-area sheiks staying on the same page, and the new security forces submitting to training, organizational norms and rules. The tribes must also coordinate with the provincial government, with which relations have been thorny.

    Maj. Ju, Sahed’s commander, said the involvement of local youths in Ramadi’s security was a point of honor. Those once scared of Al Qaeda, he said, were now fighting back.

    “They see them as terrorists who were using religion to trick the people.

    “We are like the rose that seemed to die but, given water, comes back to life.”