BAGHDAD IS SAVED–Iraqis Celebrate Surge Anniversary!!
Today is the one year anniversary of the launch of operation ‘Rule of Law’ or the ‘Surge’ as we know it. Iraqis are celebrating all over Iraq and especially in Baghdad for this occasion. Military parades were held in Baghdad with a commemorative laying of flower wreaths at the tomb of the unknown soldier.
What a difference a year makes! This was possible thanks to all of the effort and sacrifices of our men and women and the efforts and sacrifices of the Iraqis, who trust our military and their military more than their own government (this a good sign). There has been a tremendous decline in violence and a continued defeat of Al-Qaeda thanks to this Surge and operation Rule of law and the awakening committees. The rebuilding of the Shrine in Samara has started. The bombing of the Shrine in Samara by Al-Qaeda, as you know, sparked much of the sectarian violence two years ago.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (C) cuts a cake during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Operation Imposing Law in Baghdad February 15, 2008. (REUTERS/Iraqi Government Office)
The following two articles on good news from Iraq was passed on by Iraqi-American Haider Ajina.
Passage of Three Key Laws Dominates Baghdad Press
Baghdad – Voices of Iraq
Thursday , 14 /02 /2008 Time 8:35:29
Baghdad, Feb 14, (VOI) – Baghdad newspapers on Thursday focused on the Iraqi parliament’s passage of three contentious legislative items on the 2008 budget, general amnesty, and provinces not affiliated with a province.
The independent daily al-Sharq al-Iraqiyya newspaper published an opinion article by its Editor-in-Chief Abdul Rasoul in which he described the parliamentary approval of the law as a “new beginning” that indicates a good sign for the future.
“The parliament’s belated vote on the budget came at a time when we most need funds to embark on programs and projects in a bid to counteract the negligence caused in previous eras,” the author said.
The author explained that the general amnesty law can be a real start for national reconciliation efforts in the country and a new stage of real tolerance.
Yesterday, Iraq’s parliament passed three crucial laws that set legislations for provincial elections, allotted $ 48 billion for 2008 spending, and provided general amnesty to detainees in Iraqi custody.
The Sadrists and some members of the Shiite Fadhila Party, the Iraqi National List (INL), the Shiite Unified Iraqi Coalition (UIC), and the Iraqi Accordance Front (IAF) withdrew from the session.
The U.S. administration has demanded the passage of a provincial powers law as one of 18 benchmarks for political reconciliation in Iraq.
The last time Iraqis voted for local officials was in January 2005, when nationwide elections ushered in representational government across Iraq for the first time in modern history.
Al-Muwatin, another independent daily, published an article entitled, ‘Parliament between collusion and accordance,’ by its Editor-in-Chief, Salam al-Haidari in which he raised doubts about possible collusion between Iraqi politicians to pass the three laws.
“Statistics released by the Ministry of Planning and Development say that Kurds constitute 13% of the total population. Why then would they be given 17% (of the budget)? How could a vote be taken on a general amnesty law that includes criminals and murderers? Doesn’t that suggest that there is a bargain between these parties?” the author wondered.
Haider Ajina Comments:
An Iraqi elected parliament has passed three highly important laws. This shows reconciliation and cooperation. Many annalysts inside and outside of Iraq and many politicians outside Iraq have said that the Iraqi government is paralyzed and can not get anything done. The passage of these three laws and the recently passed law which replaced the Bremer de-Baathification law show this not to be the case.
Politics of debate reconciliation and cooperation is a new skill to be learned and exercised in Iraq. While tribal leaders elders and other Iraqis are familiar with the concept of cooperation and reconciliation and consensus building they have not used it in governing the country before. In addition to it being new, matters in Iraq proceed much slower than what we are used to in the States. It is the nature of the country and the people.
The Iraqi executive branch is in the midst of a major ministerial (cabinet) restructure, with a focus on technocrat ministers rather than sectarian and ethnic favors. This is taking place because of the recent and substantial decline in violence and increase in revenue from Oil exports. These editorials in the Iraqi papers are a modern occurrence unheard of just over four short years ago.
Iraqis can think, discuss, engage, debate and criticize their government freely now.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki (C) lays a wreath along with honor guards at the monument of the unknown soldier during a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Operation Imposing Law in Baghdad February 15, 2008. (REUTERS/Iraqi Government Office)
And, Haider sends this other article on the latest security successes:
Adwaniyah Residents Look to Brighter Future, Normalcy Thursday, 14 February 2008
FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU — Last year, the community of Adwaniyah witnessed the worst of what the insurgency brought to the people of Iraq. There were reports of kidnappings and murders. Members of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) were said to have forced residents out of their homes. Soon, Adwaniyah residents realized that life under AQI would be a step backward and they began to work with Coalition forces to rid their community of AQI…
Now, Troop B, 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th BCT, 3rd Inf. Div. controls the battle space and the future of Adwaniyah is bright.
“The local leadership, the Sons of Iraq and Iraqi Army all played an important part in making this a success and they continue to do so,” said Capt. Douglas Hoyt, Troop B, 6-8th Cav. Regt. commander, from Columbus, Ohio. “The willingness to make a stand, to sacrifice and work hard has paid off.”
In December, a SoI headquarters was set up and a town council was established.
By January, word began to spread that the community was safer. Residents began moving back into the city and businesses started re-opening.
“The situation has gone from bad to better,” said local SoI co-founder Ahmen. “The task has begun to improve the security, economic and employment situation and the relationship with the central Government of Iraq.”
(Story by 3rd Infantry Division Public Affairs)
Haider Ajina comments:
Iraqis voice their support of the recently passed amnesty law in predominantly Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiyah in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Feb. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
Michael Totten has more on the great Surge success today including that, “Overall violence has been reduced by almost 90 percent. 75 percent of Baghdad is now secure.”
It goes without saying… There would be no party, parade or cake today if the Democrats would have had their way.