The surge is working
I had noticed a lack of news from Iraq in recent months.
Tucked away on page 20 of today's Guardian we discover why. The US "surge" in troop numbers is actually working. Much deried by anti-war activists, it turns out that there actually was a military solution to the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.
In Simon Tisdall's article we learn that:
- Iraq's government is optimistic because of "Improved security, an expanding economy and new understandings with Iran, Syria and Turkey"
- The Iraqi National Security Adviser believes "We are out of the woods ... We are building a new Iraq under a democratic parliamentary system. There is a new sense of belonging in Iraq" ... "Iraq is going to lead the region in a new way, with democracy and a new nationalism and a western orientation" ... "Our strategic direction is very clear to everybody in the region. We are heading west".
- "Senior US officials advising the Baghdad government say they, too, are increasingly hopeful about current trends, while adding the usual caveats about fragility of the security environment and deep-rooted political animosities. They say infiltration of jihadis from Syria has measurably declined, as has some of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's more objectionable pot stirring. "
- "Civilian deaths are down 60% across Iraq, and down 75% in Baghdad, since the US military surge began in February."
- " a key reason for recent progress is the Sunni Arab Awakening movement in Anbar and other provinces, where tribal leaders have turned against al-Qaida. On the other side of the sectarian divide, the ceasefire by Moqtada al-Sadr's Shia Mahdi army, and a largely unpublicised US operation to clean up the interior ministry, have also been crucial."
- "a senior Iraqi adviser to the country's leadership who asked not to be identified said he believed the past few months had brought changes that were irreversible."
Now why isn't this cautious good news being reported more prominently? Could it be because it contradicts the doom-laden narrative that is received wisdom about Iraq?