24 October 2007

Good News in Iraq

Don't expect to hear it from the American "news" media, though. This piece was largely ignored by US media. Reuters reported on it.

Here's the link. (For those of you who need sources.)

Here's what the story says, for those of you who don't like links.

By Aseel Kami

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Violence in Iraq has dropped by 70 percent since
the end of June, when U.S. forces completed their build-up of 30,000 extra troops to stabilize the war-torn country, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.

The ministry released the new figures as bomb blasts in Baghdad and the
northern city of Mosul killed five people and six gunmen died in clashes with
police in the holy Shi'ite city of Kerbala south of the Iraqi capital.

Washington began dispatching reinforcements to Iraq in February to try to
buy Iraq's feuding political leaders time to reach a political accommodation to
end violence between majority Shi'ites and minority Sunni Arabs that has killed
tens of thousands and forced millions from their homes.

While the leaders have failed to agree on key laws aimed at reconciling the
country's warring sects, the troop buildup has succeeded in quelling

Under the plan, U.S. troops left their large bases and set up combat
outposts in neighborhoods while launching a series of summer offensives against
Sunni Islamist al Qaeda, other Sunni Arab militants and Shi'ite militias in the
Baghdad beltway.

Interior Ministry spokesman Major-General Abdul-Karim Khalaf told reporters
that there had been a 70 percent decrease in violence countrywide in the three
months from July to September over the previous quarter.


In Baghdad, considered the epicenter of the violence because of its mix of
Shi'ites and Sunni Arabs, car bombs had decreased by 67 percent and roadside
bombs by 40 percent, he said. There had also been a 28 percent decline in the
number of bodies found dumped in the capital's streets.

In Anbar, a former insurgent hotbed where Sunni Arab tribes have joined
U.S. forces against al Qaeda, there has been an 82 percent drop in violent

"These figures show a gradual improvement in controlling the security
situation," Khalaf said.
However, in the northern province of Nineveh, where
many al Qaeda and other Sunni Arab militants fled to escape the crackdown in
Baghdad and surrounding region, there had been a 129 percent rise in car
bombings and a corresponding 114 percent increase in the number of people killed
in violence.

While the figures confirm U.S. data showing a positive trend in combating
al Qaeda bombers, there is growing instability in southern Iraq, where rival
Shi'ite factions are fighting for political dominance.

Police said six gunmen were killed in police raids in Kerbala, 110 km (70
miles) southwest of Baghdad.

Some 50 people were killed in Kerbala in August in fierce clashes between
fighters loyal to Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and local police, who are seen
as aligned to the rival Supreme Iraqi Islamic Council's armed wing, the Badr

After the clashes, Sadr said he was imposing a six-month freeze on the
activities of the Mehdi Army, increasingly seen as beyond his control, so that
he could reorganize it.

In Baghdad, three roadside bombs killed four people, including three
policemen, while in Mosul one policeman was killed when a blast hit a police

© Reuters2007All rights reserved

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