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Certainly anecdotal but also indicative
Posted by: McQ on Sunday, October 14, 2007

Indicative of an apparent trend:
The civilian death toll in Iraq fell to its lowest level in recent memory Saturday, with only four people killed or found dead nationwide, according to reports from police, morgue officials and credible witnesses.

Saturday marked the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr feast for Shiites, the three-day capstone closing out the Ramadan month of fasting. Sunnis began celebrating the holiday on Sunday.

The daily number of civilians killed, not including those on days when there were massive casualties from car bombs, had climbed above 100 at the end of last year and the beginning of 2007.

Saturday's decline in deaths was in line with a sharp drop in September of both Iraqi civilian and U.S. military fatalities.

The four dead included three death squad victims found in Baghdad and the bodyguard of the Kirkuk police commander who was killed in a roadside bombing.
Has anyone else noticed how little news is being reported out of or concerning Iraq lately? While we may not be where we want to be politically at this time, there is no denying, at least temporarily, that there has been dramatic improvement in the level of violence in the country.

The other side of that, of course, is now that the violence is down dramatically, the Iraqi government has few if any excuses to delay it's reconciliation process or pass the promised legislation. For Iraq's government the relative peace is a double-edged sword. The decrease in violence starts the withdrawal clock ticking. Peace will speed up the training cycle for the ISF and mean that at some point fairly soon they will be deemed sufficiently trained to take the security job over.

If the Iraqi government is still floundering around at that point, it is going to be hard to argue that we have to stay longer. Being cynical and knowing the politics of this thing, I'd hazard a guess that declaration concerning the ISF will be made somewhere in the August/September time-frame of next year. Any takers?

 
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As long as military deaths are way, way down, how is this any different from Kosovo (12 years on...no political solution.) or Korea (55 years on...no political solution.) or East Timor. or Haiti. or any other less than peaceful country trying to get its act together in a rough neighborhood? Yet foreign soldiers remain in those countries.

Again, jaw jaw is better than war war, so as long as they aren’t blowing up each other too much, I am not too worried about political solutions coming slowly as long as their military keeps building. Keep in mind they have elections eventually, this time with Sunni participation. Possibly with new parties forming (such as a grouping of the Awakening movement) and loss of election pull for Sadr. (underline possible there.)

Then again, if its that peaceful in the future, we would have started drawing down troops anyways which will immediately relieve a lot of political pressure here.
 
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