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  • Iraq War Violence Down 60%

    Petraeus cites violence decline in Iraq

    By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer 1 hour, 25 minutes ago

    BAGHDAD - Citing a 60 percent decline in violence in Iraq over the last six months, Gen. David Petraeus said Thursday that maintaining security is easier than establishing it and gives him more flexibility in deploying forces.

    Armed with charts showing that as of Wednesday, weekly attacks and Iraqi civilian deaths have plunged to levels not seen here since early 2006, Petraeus said the reduction lets him make force adjustments to address remaining problem areas, which would include northern Iraq.

    Speaking to reporters at the U.S. military's Camp Victory, he said the improved security is due to a number of factors including a "a reduction in some of the signature attacks that are associated with weapons provided by Iran," as well as a cease-fire called by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that he said had a particularly noticeable impact what had been one of the most violent areas of Baghdad.

    And he said there has been a "reduction in some of the signature attacks" associated with insurgents using Iranian weapons, including deadly armor-piercing rounds.

    But, he added, that it is "hard to tell if that's because there has already been a cessation of provision of those items, or if there has been direction to stop."

    At the same time, he said the military has detained individuals as recently as October who were trained by Iranians, evidence that the instruction has continued.

    Petreaus, who is scheduled to give Congress and the American people an update next March on progress in Iraq, and map out some plans for U.S. force levels down the road, refused to offer too much optimism.

    "Nobody says anything about turning a corner, seeing lights at the end of tunnels, any of those other phrases," said Petraeus. "You just keep your head down and keep moving."

    He said that around Thanksgiving commanders looked back at violence levels a year ago, and six months ago, and found a declining line in which violence had declined from a time when hundreds of Iraqis were killed and injured and US troops took heavy losses in a number of horrific attacks, to a time of still somewhat steady but less deadly attacks, to a day last month when there were just 45-50 attacks.

    Petraeus met for about an hour Thursday with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who was in Iraq for his sixth visit in the past year.

    The general has overseen the military's build up in Iraq this year, as force levels jumped to 20 combat brigades, with more than 180,000 troops, during certain times when some of the units overlapped as they moved in and out of the country.

    "There's nobody in uniform who is doing victory dances in the end zone," said Petraeus, saying it will require more tough work against a very dangerous adversary.

  • #2
    Good news is still good news.

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    • #3
      Indeed...

      Comment


      • #4
        Rather bad timing.

        Wall Street Journal today 12/6, page 1:

        A car bomb killed 16 in Baghdad, one of four attacks across Iraq that killed at least 25. A short time after the bombing, Gates said security is improving and a stable Iraq is within reach.
        I guess the message is, things are great in Iraq, never mind those explosions in the background.

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        • #5
          Ah Phebe mine sweet...dont be coy....things are never perfect ANYWHERE.

          b.
          CV

          Comment


          • #6
            Phebe, its definitely better there compared to what it has been.The bombings last year were of epedemic proportions but it certainly isnt that now. Now if this is down to new tactics or there's less people to bomb in terms of ethnic cleansing I'm not sure. It seems to be certainly improving though. I am no fan of the Iraq war, I think its been a distrtaction but if the co-alition can pull this off it will be a big nail in the coffin of the fundamentalists who tried very hard to beat us there.As such we may send a message out that the west can be successful and can put a few more nails in the coffin especially in Afghanistan where its well overdue.



            P.S Also it may send out a message to the politicians that the Petraeus way of doing things always was the way to go in terms of COIN and to do these kind of ops without proper planning and a careless attitude only causes avoidable strife or avoided entirely but thats another debate.
            Last edited by copenhagen; 06 Dec 07, 09:18.

            Comment


            • #7
              The opinion of the editorial board of liberal bastion Madison, Wisconsin's The Capital Times:

              Reality, not spin, on Iraq
              An editorial — 12/04/2007 11:12 am

              President Bush and his supporters say that the surge of U.S. troops into the quagmire that is Iraq has worked -- that the country is being stabilized and that the occupation has turned some sort of corner.

              But a new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. journalists covering the war reveals that almost 90 percent of them say that Baghdad is still too dangerous to visit.

              That is the reality on the ground. And it is the reality against which policymakers in the U.S. should weigh their decisions about the continued U.S. occupation of that distant land. To simply listen to the Bush administration's spin now would be as foolish as it was to take seriously that "Mission Accomplished" banner in front of which George Bush posed in flight suit drag four long years ago.
              From the milblog Blackfive:

              That is one un PC phrase and thoughtful, good-hearted, progressives never allow the visceral hatred they have for Bush & Cheney to cloud their judgment or cloud their sunny dispositions. They hate Bush like I hate child molesters, that's scary.
              And the opinion of GEN David Petraeus:

              Petraeus Cites Violence Decline in Iraq

              BAGHDAD — Citing a 60 percent decline in violence in Iraq over the last six months, Gen. David Petraeus said Thursday that maintaining security is easier than establishing it and gives him more flexibility in deploying forces.

              Armed with charts showing that as of Wednesday, weekly attacks and Iraqi civilian deaths have plunged to levels not seen here since early 2006, Petraeus said the reduction lets him make force adjustments to address remaining problem areas, which would include northern Iraq.

              Speaking to reporters at the U.S. military's Camp Victory, he said the improved security is due to a number of factors including a "a reduction in some of the signature attacks that are associated with weapons provided by Iran," as well as a cease-fire called by radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that he said had a particularly noticeable impact what had been one of the most violent areas of Baghdad.

              And he said there has been a "reduction in some of the signature attacks" associated with insurgents using Iranian weapons, including deadly armor-piercing rounds.

              He said that around Thanksgiving commanders looked back at violence levels a year ago, and six months ago, and found a declining line in which violence had declined from a time when hundreds of Iraqis were killed and injured and US troops took heavy losses in a number of horrific attacks, to a time of still somewhat steady but less deadly attacks, to a day last month when there were just 45-50 attacks.

              "There's nobody in uniform who is doing victory dances in the end zone," said Petraeus, saying it will require more tough work against a very dangerous adversary.
              Whose opinion is closer to reality, and which side is behaving so psychotically they sound like they're from another planet?

              GEN Petraeus can't say it, because it would be irresponsible of someone in his position at this point, but I will: We have turned the corner in Iraq. We are winning; we will win. We are not doing victory dances in the end zone, but it is first and goal on the opponent's five yard line. I want to stay focused and get the ball across the goal line. The Democrats want to punt. Phebe wants to forfeit the game and load the team onto the bus.

              Comment


              • #8
                Id be interested to know why Muqtada al-Sadr called a cease fire. Lack of supplies from Iran?; ran out of personnel to be effective?; a deal under the table?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                  Id be interested to know why Muqtada al-Sadr called a cease fire. Lack of supplies from Iran?; ran out of personnel to be effective?; a deal under the table?
                  It could be any of those, or a combination of things. I just don't know right now, but maybe the intelligence agencies and the military do. It could be he has legitimately decided to lay down arms and join the political process; he could claim a victory of sorts to his minions by doing that. In any case, JAM has been effectively "neutralized" for now. I do know that attacks by and seizures of EFPs have decreased somewhat, but as for personnel there are JAM splinter groups that still commit attacks. My gut feeling, for what that's worth, is that Mookie got "scared straight." We thumped JAM in Najaf a couple years ago, and he probably doesn't want to lose everything he's "worked" for.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                    Id be interested to know why Muqtada al-Sadr called a cease fire. Lack of supplies from Iran?; ran out of personnel to be effective?; a deal under the table?

                    So we'll give him Iraq when we leave, I assume, copenhagen: he'll be the new Saddam. A deal under the table, sure. He can't expect support from us (and we're good for a lot of money for cleanup if he plays his cards right) if he keeps his army busy killing Americans, after all.

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                    • #11
                      No he can't Phebe and that's why it's still callllllllled 'international real politik' altho personaly i'd like to see him swinging; ala Sadam.

                      But the last time i checked his 'people' got the other ones in the theocratic market outnumbered hence it's never to late to 'unfuc' a fuc.... either militarily or from apolitical perspective.

                      besides Phebe if we dont like him we get rid of him....been done before.

                      To late for the naysayers in this affair...the only way ya going to win...is to win....and sometimes...well hell..all the time that takes lives, money and moral courage.....

                      irregardless of what the defense industry stands to gain...

                      hell that's just free market captailismmmmm...

                      nutting new here Phebe.....

                      THE MAN said that way back when... in ECCLESIASTES.

                      Now i know that made ya feel better...so keep smiling.

                      b.
                      CV

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                      • #12
                        Okay, Centrix.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          From the fantastic Bill Roggio, over at The Long War Journal:

                          Iran's Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq
                          By Bill Roggio
                          December 5, 2007 12:26 PM

                          Local intolerance of Iranian influence

                          The Iraqi Shia in the south have begun to organize against Iranian activities inside their country. In November, over 300,000 Shia, including 600 tribal leaders “signed a petition accusing Iran of sowing ‘disorder’ in southern Iraq.” "More than 300,000 people from the southern provinces condemned the interference of the Iranian regime in Iraq and especially in spreading security disorder in the provinces," the sheikhs said in a statement released to Reuters.

                          Tribal militias in Wasit province formed to help secure the Iranian border. "The leader of the Migasees tribe here in Wasit province, acknowledged tribal leaders have discussed creating a brigade of young men trained by the Americans to bolster local security as well as help patrol the border with Iran," the Associated Press reported. Tribal militias are forming in Maysan and Basrah provinces, Multination Forces Iraq told The Long War Journal in a recent inquiry on the status of the Concerned Local Citizens forces currently forming nationwide.

                          Iran’s complicity with the Iraqi insurgency has been a problem since the Coalition invasion of Iraq in March 2003. It was only in late 2006 that the US began to address this problem seriously. Whether Iranian intervention in Iraq is increasing, decreasing, or unchanged, Coalition and Iraqi forces must continue military and counterterrorism operations against the Ramazan Corps inside Iraq. While there have been several reports of Coalition special forces conducting raids inside Iran these accounts are unconfirmed. The Iraqi and Coalition governments must continue to pressure Iran both militarily and diplomatically to halt its terror operations inside Iraq in order for the central government to gain stronger control of the security of the country as a whole.
                          That is just the conclusion to a very balanced piece that is worth reading in its entirety.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by copenhagen View Post
                            Id be interested to know why Muqtada al-Sadr called a cease fire. Lack of supplies from Iran?; ran out of personnel to be effective?; a deal under the table?
                            Al-Sadr's greatest mistake was to leave Iraq as the Coalition and Government forces began their offensive earlier this year. His army was really a loose ban of gangs and clans, not entirely behind al-Sadr. When he fled to Iran, it further cast doubt about his power and commitment. As a result, his militia began to break up.

                            What al-Sadr is trying to do by declaring a ceasefire is keep government pressure off him while he consolidates his position. Rogue elements are being hunted down, smacked, and killed while overall violence has plunged.

                            al-Sadr wants is a ruthless politician. Iraq's future would be better if people like him were thrown in prison rather than be given the opportunity to legitimize violent anti-democratic power plays.

                            That being said, the Coalition should encourage any decline in violence. It might be the only way to obtain some kind of success, which can finally permit a withdrawal of US forces.
                            "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

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                            • #15
                              Something really interesting is happening between US and the Iran. Can we really believe that the intelligence community would make such a sharp 180 degree turnaround from something they had been saying for years now?

                              Something is up. Is Bush going to pull a rabbit out of his hat soon?

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