When members of your own party are positive about changes they are seeing first hand in Iraq, maybe it’s time to give up on giving up.
“I feel we’ve made progress, and the other part is I feel we can see an end game in sight,” Donnelly, D-Ind., told reporters on a conference call Tuesday from Washington. “It isn’t we just keep plugging away in the hopes something will turn out right. Gen. (David) Petraeus is working a plan and we seem to be heading toward a place where the Iraqis can be self-sustaining and we’ll have a smaller presence in the background.”
“Things are better than they were in their first few months of deployment,” Donnelly said.
The only area where there doesn’t appear to be improvement is in the Iraqi national government, “which has proven itself to almost be dysfunctional,” Donnelly said. “The provincial governments have been working together with each other almost in spite of the national government.”
So, what’s the scorecard say?
Security - big improvement
Provincial Governments - working together
National Government - not gelling as hoped
Diplomatic Front - improving
Of course, just to shut some critics up, reconciliation is happening, at local levels and now on a national scale.
Iraq’s Shiite-dominated government has agreed to take over support of a U.S.-funded plan that has organized thousands of Iraqis — including former insurgents and their sympathizers — into local security groups.
The move is a long-awaited step toward national reconciliation, said Saad al-Muttalibi, an official at Iraq’s Ministry of National Dialogue and Reconciliation.
More good news below the fold!!
Sunni and Shia tribal sheiks, local government leaders, senior Iraqi Army officials and local Iraqi Police officials from throughout the Taji area recently met at the Prayer Town Hall to continue reconciliation efforts and celebrate the “awakening”—a term used to describe a turning away from sectarianism and violence.
More than 200 attendees from the villages of Hor Al Bosh, Sheik Ahmer, Shat Al Taji, Falahat and other areas dined as they discussed issues affecting their villages and ways in which they can improve the quality of life for the people living there.
“They decided to have a Sawa (lunch) to bring both Sunni and Shia tribal leaders together for solidarity,” said Anchorage, Alaska native Capt. Martin Wohlgemuth, commander for Troop D, 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, which is attached to the 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment. “This is a continued extension of the Sunni and Shia partnership which has truly spread to every corner of North Taji.”
“As the security situation continues to improve, Sunnis are able to travel to mainly Shia areas and the Shia can go to Sunni areas. In many cases, these are places they have never been before or never dared to go before,” added Wohlgemuth, whose troops patrol in Assiriyah. “They are only able to do this because of reconciliation and forgiveness. This is a continued sign of progress.”
Sheiks of all tribes, Iraqi Army and Police leaders, representatives of the Iraqi government and leaders from the 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division and Multi-National Division-Baghdad gathered at an Iraqi Police station in Nassir Wa Salam, to discuss further steps to advance bringing the region back to the government of Iraq during the Northwest Baghdad Regional Security Summit, Dec 6.
Approximately 1,000 sheiks and local leaders attended the second installment in a series of reconciliation meetings that have taken place between the Sunni and Shia sheiks in the 1st Cavalry Division’s area of operations. Tribal and governmental leadership from Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Tarmiyah, and the Anbar province came together to meet with senior leaders from the Baghdad provincial government, national government and the Iraqi security forces.
The meeting was recognized by representatives of the prime minister, councilmen, senior Iraqi tribal and military leaders as well as the national party, ‘Iraq Awakening’.
“This meeting is a great opportunity to bring together local leaders, tribal leaders and government leaders to speak with the national and provincial government to develop solutions to the problems in the area.” said Boulder, Colo., native Maj. Geoffrey Norman, executive officer, 2nd Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cav. Div. “It affords them the opportunity to exchange dialogue on how to move forward and rid the community of the cancer of extremism.”
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari on Wednesday praised Syria’s efforts to stop the flow of fighters into his war-torn country, saying the security situation in Iraq was improving.
“There is better security cooperation on the part of Syria to help the Iraqi government to police the (Syria-Iraq) border and to prevent the movement of fighters” into Iraq, Zebari told a news conference in Damascus.
“The security situation in Iraq has started to improve. We appreciate the measures taken by Syria,” he said at the joint conference with Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem without specifying the nature of the measures.
“The data on the ground shows a drop in the movement of members of criminal gangs and terrorists in Iraq, because of the (Syrian) application of these measures.”
Brennan @ the American Pundit has another turn of phrase that ought to get used extensively, “Senator Harry Reid (D-Denial)”
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