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News from Iraq
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Omar from the Iraqi blog "Iraq the Model" has some interesting news gleaned from Iraqi news sources:
Eyewitnesses in some volatile areas said that large numbers of militants have fled to Syria to avoid being trapped in the incoming security operations.

According to those witnesses, residents and shopkeepers are no longer concerned about militants whose existence in public used to bring on clashes that put the lives of civilians in danger.

A shopkeeper in al-Karkh [western Baghdad] said that many of them [militants] packed their stuff and headed to Syria to wait and see what the operations are going to be like.

While experts consider this a failure in protecting the plan's secrecy which might lead to the loss of the surprise factor, they also say it indicates the seriousness and resolve in this plan that is already scaring away the militants. PM Maliki pointed out that seeing them run away is a good thing but he returned and said the security forces would chase them down everywhere after Baghdad is clear.
Given the politics of the situation there was no way to really keep the plan a secret, but, the point to be made here is, if true, the insurgents/terrorists/militias are voluntarily giving up the contested area. Regardless of how that is accomplished, it is vital to success. The whole point is to clear and hold. It really doesn't matter how the clearing is accomplished, just so it's done. That allows the government to then establish itself as the legitimate authority in the area, and frankly the more peacefully that can be done the quicker the political and economic elements of the plan can be started.

According to Omar's post, the plan is for operations within Baghdad to begin on Feb. 5th. Another interesting thing he notes:
Immediately after president Bush authorized the US military to capture and kill Iran's agents who are involved in the violence in Iraq, the Iranian Khalq opposition group released a list with the names of 31,000 Iraqis the group said are paid agents for Tehran operating in Iraq, story in the same report linked above.

Jawad Dberan the spokesman of the national council of Iranian resistance, the political wing of Khalq duing a press conference in Germany, accused Tehran of sending weapons and millions of dollars in cash to Iraq every month.

According to Azzaman which quoted from Jawad's statement, that list includes only elements who were directly recruited by the Quds force in Iran. The list is said to provide the Arabic and Farsi names of recruits, their monthly payment in Iranian money along with the code name they use during operations.
Obviously the first thing anyone is going to wonder is how many of these names are legitimate and how many are on the list because someone has a grudge or bad information. But certainly, given the influence of Iran, they have to be investigated and I assume this will also be part of the ISF mission.

Anyway, Omar seems somewhat optimistic about the new operation and the apparent stiffening of the Iraqi government:
As we said in the last update, Maliki won unanimous support for his plan in the parliament and despite some opposition from the radical factions the major blocs are expressing their support and approval of the plan:

Spokesman of the Accord front Saleem Abdullah said after the session that the principles of the security plan have the approval of the front and "constitutes a quality leap toward serving Iraq's people".

Hussein al-Sha'lan of the Iraqi bloc stressed on the importance of cooperation among political powers to ensure the success of the plan which he called "realistic and well-thought".

Abdul Khaliq Zangana of the Kurdish alliance said the plan would deal a heavy blow to Iraq's enemies and put an end to the crimes of outlaws and their backers.

On the other hand citizens we talked to after the prime minister made his speech before the parliament say that there's no place for mistakes or weakness this time but they also seemed confident that Maliki has prepared the right tools for success.
If you don't read "Iraq the Model" you should. It provides a look from inside Iraq from someone who gives you a perspective missing from outside media accounts. I certainly hope these two reports shape up to be legitimate and portend an easier time establishing security in Baghdad than I've been anticipating. If so, even with my concerns about unity of command, they may be able to pull the military portion off successfully. That will leave the political and economic legs of the stool to be accomplished. I'll be blogging about that some either today or tomorrow (based on the Petraeus testimony). (HT: Keith_Indy)
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Previous Comments to this Post 

I find it amazing that when the time comes to put aside bickering and show a unified front, the Iraq parliament is light years ahead of the Congress of the US. The Iraqies understand the ramifications and the commitment of the fight and our own Congress doesn’t. Congress should be ashamed. Pathetic! John Warner pathetic and weak! Jim Webb clueless (see Pelosi article above)!
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
This is also entertaining - none of the ’supporters’ of the American forces in Iraq have had word one to say about this post.

[sarcasm] I wonder why [\sarcasm]
Written By: looker
URL: http://
The Iraqies understand the ramifications and the commitment of the fight and our own Congress doesn’t.
Oh, I think Congress understands. They understand that loosing can actually benifit them, for one . . .
This is also entertaining - none of the ’supporters’ of the American forces in Iraq have had word one to say about this post.
They are trying to fit this in with the antiwar "meme".
Written By: Don
URL: http://
I would have thought they’d get in here and tell us this guy in Iraq is either

1) Not really in Iraq
2) working from some script provided by Rove
3) a liar
4) all of the above
Written By: looker
URL: http://

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