Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday's good news from Iraq

Helpfully summarized by an editorial in today's Wall Street Journal. Quote:
What's more important is to note the changes that have taken place in Iraq, all of which indicate that the "surge" is working and that we are at last on our way toward a positive military outcome. As General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker prepare their testimony to Congress later this month, it's worth pointing to a few indicators:

• There were 30 "multiple fatality" (usually suicide) bombings in August 2007. In August 2006 there were 52.

• There were 120 daily attacks by insurgents and militias last month, down from 160 in August 2006.

• 60,000 prisoners were being held by the U.S. and Iraq as of last month, up from 27,000 a year earlier.

• Iraqi security forces currently number 360,000, up from 298,000 a year ago.

Lest one suspect the figures cited above are Bush Administration propaganda, we hasten to add they were assembled by Michael O'Hanlon and Jason Campbell of the liberal-oriented Brookings Institution and published Tuesday on the op-ed page of the New York Times.

Nor are these the only positive indicators. According to General Petraeus, the number of weapons caches seized by coalition forces rose to 4,141 in August from 1,977 in January. At the same time, he says, the incidence of sectarian violence is down by 75%.

In Anbar province--which last year the U.S. military judged "lost" to the insurgents--tens of thousands of Sunni men are joining local, U.S.-allied security forces as well as the Shiite-dominated Iraqi Security Forces. It turns out al Qaeda overstayed its welcome. The ring of cities and towns around Baghdad, which for years had provided sanctuary for the insurgents, are being cleared out by U.S. and Iraqi military forces. Radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has unilaterally called a halt to attacks by his militia on coalition and Iraqi forces. Sadr is reportedly hiding out in Iran.