Monday, March 28, 2005

Smells Like Iraq Spirit

Chrenkoff's posted a huge 24th edition of "Good News from Iraq." Some highlights:
  • The Sunnis, who because of the boycott and violence have missed out on greater representation in the National Assembly, are uniting politically in order not to miss the boat completely in shaping the future Iraq: "Outgoing interim Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawir he has formed a committee of leading Sunni Muslim figures to negotiate for posts in an eventual Shia-Kurd coalition government. 'In order to avoid multiple efforts, we have decided to form a committee that would preserve a role for Sunnis in the next government,' he said."

  • A Christian Science Monitor article about Iraq's economy:
    While unemployment is about 48 percent, according to the Ministry of Labor and Social Labor and Social Affairs, salaries are higher for the jobs that are available, typically ones linked to the government. Salaries of teachers, bureaucrats, and policemen, have gone up, as have pensions. The starting salary of a policeman is about $220, enough for a family to live on and, to many Iraqis, worth the risk of being targeted by insurgents. Some pensioners and teachers have seen their income grow tenfold.

    As a result, many families say they can now afford meat with most meals and a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. This, despite prices that have spiked by about a third on some food items, including meat, fruits, and vegetables, according to merchants in Baghdad. But canned foods, soft drinks, and bananas, virtually taxed out of existence before the war, are now available at a fraction of their Hussein-era prices.

    Electronic equipment has also been flying off the shelves since the war opened borders once shuttered by sanctions.

    Many Iraqis can also afford a mobile phone, a modern convenience banned under Saddam Hussein. Egyptian-owned Orascom Telecom, which provides mobile-phone service to Baghdad and central Iraq, had 82,000 subscribers at the end of 2003, the year the company began operating in Iraq. By November 2004, it had signed up 480,000 subscribers and is now planning to reach 1 million subscribers by the end of this year by spreading its services to southern and northern Iraq, according to the company's website.
    Moreover, the rate of inflation is slowing.

  • In oil news, the Oil Ministry "is preparing long term plans to increase the level of oil production to 3.5 million b/d [barrels per day]...The cost of implementing of these plans would be US$4 billion, and that the production increase will be gradual. According to the plans, it will be achieved by 2007... The ministry also set plans to increase the production level of liquefied natural gas (LNG) with the cooperation of leading foreign companies." . .

    The authorities have recently signed $50 million contracts with Indian and German companies to transport gas from Basra to Alnaseriya Almoseib, outside Baghdad. Under a three-year, $3.8 million program, the government of Norway is preparing to assist the Iraqi oil industry with "training and education for Iraqi oil officials, setting up regulations for oil field operations and accounting for the income."

  • In electricity news, the Ministry of Electricity has announced that the level of 5,000 MW has been reached and the Ministry plans to provide Iraqis with 18 hours of electricity a day by adding further 1,500 MW over the near future.

  • And Iraqi firefighters, have benefited from training:
    "Iraq's firefighters are better off today than they were under the regime of Saddam Hussein -- when fire service was largely ignored." Because firefighters received little or no training, they merely contained fires. When called on to fight fires, they lacked the basic equipment their stateside brothers take for granted. Fireproof gear, hardhats, oxygen tanks and mask, even an ax were rare or nonexistent.
  • The pace of reconstruction is picking up:
    "We didn't realize how badly the infrastructure had decayed under Saddam Hussein," said a senior U.S. Central Command official. "Iraq's infrastructure -- its oil, water and electricity -- were rubber-banded and glued together."

    Today, restoring Iraq's infrastructure has become a critical component in the path to success in Iraq, and the United States has committed $18.4 billion to the reconstruction effort.
    Another article profiles futher reconstruction efforts:
    Since the onset of the war in Iraq, stories about explosions, gunfire, terrorism and the loss of American troops have regularly permeated the news. Less publicized is the work of civil affairs units whose role is critical to the success of Operation Iraqi Freedom. These reservists bring to the combat environment not only their military skills, but also their expertise in city planning, law enforcement, teaching, carpentry and business.
  • Most importantly, security is improving, first in Baghdad:
    Nearly two years after American troops captured Baghdad, Haifa Street is like an arrow at the city's heart. A little more than two miles long, it runs south through a canyon of mostly abandoned high-rises and majestic date palms almost to the Assassin's Gate, the imperial-style arch that is the main portal to the Green Zone compound, the principal seat of American power...

    In the first 18 months of the fighting, the insurgents mostly outmaneuvered the Americans along Haifa Street, showing they could carry the war to the capital's core with something approaching impunity.

    But American officers say there have been signs that the tide may be shifting. On Haifa Street, at least, insurgents are attacking in smaller numbers, and with less intensity; mortar attacks into the Green Zone have diminished sharply; major raids have uncovered large weapons caches; and some rebel leaders have been arrested or killed.
    And, say Iraqi authorities, in Samarra as well:
    In the days since Iraqi forces rolled in to sweep out insurgents, citizens here are showing support for the operation by streaming to local checkpoints to personally deliver information to help the mission along.
    Chrenkoff also summarizes improvements in security elsewhere in Iraq, including:
    the arrest of a female member of Al Zarqawi's network in Iraq; the arrest by the Iraqi security forces in the village of Hib Hib of 30 suspected insurgents "including the suspected leader of a bomb-planting insurgency cell and a man suspected of murdering a mayor and plotting the assassination of his successor" ("It was the first battalion-sized operation conducted by the U.S.-trained Iraqis in Diyala province in north-central Iraq"); the arrest of a Saudi national would-be suicide bomber preparing an attack on a military base near Kirkuk; the discovery of three arms caches by an Iraqi unit which has just be trained in the use and supplied with metal detectors; the foiling by Iraqi highway patrol officers in Dhi Qar of a kidnapping and, in two separate incidents, capturing hijackers in Dhi Qar and Basra; the discovery of three weapons caches in Mosul and Tal Afar; the capture by Iraqi security forces of 81 suspected insurgents in the Ninveh province and discovery of a weapons cache in the Missan province; the arrest of one of Saddam's bodyguards and one of his relatives, suspected of financing the insurgency; disarming a road-side bomb and the arrest of suspected bombmakers near Forward Operating Base Kalsu; the dismantling of three roadside bombs in Baghdad thanks to a tip from a local; the capture of a terrorist, Ramzi Hashem, who confessed to assassinating former head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Mohammed Baker al-Hakim, in a car bomb in Najaf more than a year ago, and who was planning the assassination of Grand Ayatollah Sistani; killing of 24 insurgents in a skirmish near Baghdad; the discovery of 24 buried roadside bombs in south Baghdad; killing and arrest of insurgents while planting several roadside bombs in Salah Ad Din province and Baghdad; killing of 17 and arrest of 13 suspected insurgents by Iraqi police anti-terrorism unit in a clash in Mosul; the arrest of nine suspects and recovery of an arms cache following an unsuccessful roadside bomb attack in Baghdad; recovery of arms caches (including one containing 70 land mines) in Miqdadiyah and Baghdad, following a tip from a local; locating and destroying of an insurgent training camp in a joint Iraqi-American operation in southwestern Salah Ad Din province, with reports of up to 85 Baathist insurgents and foreign terrorists killed in the operation ("At the scene, the commandos found documents indicating that there were Syrians, Algerians, other Arabs and at least one Filipino among the insurgents."); recovering by Iraqi troops of two arms caches and foiling a kidnap attempt at a Baghdad bank; and detaining by Iraqi troops around Mosul of some 80 suspects.
Gary at RightPundit nails it:
Not only is this a winnable war, it is a war we are winning. It ain’t over yet, but democracy is winning. No thanks to leaders in the democratic party or the old media.
Anyone still labeling Iraq a "failure" is either moving the goalposts or deaf, blind and prejudiced.


trejrco said...

Excellent summary; and I especially like your closing line : "Anyone still labeling Iraq a "failure" is either moving the goalposts or deaf, blind and prejudiced"!

Keep it up,
... NIF
... The Wide Awakes

@nooil4pacifists said...

Thanks! If I can find a co-blogger, I intend to keep going. And thanks for the link on what's becoming my favorite Internet news summary page, NIF.