Wednesday, March 07, 2007

More Encouraging News From Iraq

The White House released an excellent Fact Sheet on Iraq yesterday. According to the White House recent gains include:

+ The Iraqi government has completed the deployment of three additional Iraqi Army brigades to the capital. These additional forces join the nine National Police and seven Iraqi Army brigades already in the Greater Baghdad area.
+ Iraq's leaders have lifted restrictions on Iraqi and Coalition forces that prevented them from going into certain areas, and U.S. and Iraqi troops are now pursuing the enemy in neighborhoods like Sadr City, where our operations were once restricted.
+ About half of the joint security stations have been established in neighborhoods across Baghdad.
+ Iraqi and U.S. forces have rounded up more than 700 people affiliated with Shia extremists and have recovered large weapons caches, including mortar weapons systems and rocket-propelled grenades.
+ Iraqi and U.S. forces have launched successful operations against Sunni extremists, recently killing al Qaida terrorists in Baghdad, who were responsible for numerous bomb attacks.
+ In the past two weeks, U.S. and Iraqi forces have uncovered large stockpiles of Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs), which are used by extremist groups to attack our troops.

Iraqis Are Beginning To Deliver On Benchmarks To Achieve Political Reconciliation.
+ Iraq's Council of Ministers approved a national hydrocarbon law that provides for an equitable distribution of oil revenues throughout the country. The draft law will need to be enacted by the Iraqi Council of Representatives when it returns from recess, but the prospects for passage are excellent because all the major parliamentary blocs are represented in the cabinet.
+ Last month, the Iraqi government approved a $41 billion budget that includes $10 billion dollars for reconstruction and capital investment.
+ Iraq's leaders must meet the other pledges they have made. These include:
1) Narrowing the limitations of the de-Baathification law; 2) Establishing the framework and setting a date for provincial elections; and 3) Pursuing the constitutional review process.

In addition to the President's message. Brian Williams from NBC has noted that Americans are in total control of Hit and Ramadi, two cities that were former hot spots for insurgents. Williams also quoted several military officers making statements like, "The people here are very glad to see us — very hesitant for us to go. They want us to stay and to keep beating down the insurgents."

Just today CBN News reports:
The locals appear to be noting the changes as well. Since US and Iraqi troops made their joint push into Baghdad, streets are getting busier. Stores that were closed down are re-opening and murders are down. There has even been little resistance in Sadr City.
For the sake of Iraqis and the whole world, I hope the good news from Iraq continues.

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