According to the BBC’s Nicholas Witchell in a series of interviews in Baghdad called Voices from Inside Iraq. Watch them all. Especially the ones from the coffee shop and the female MP footage.
In other Iraq news, the US administration are now talking about troop withdrawals. In fact, the differences on Iraq between the Democrats and the Republicans are merely presentational. Republicans are talking of withdrawal, and Obama will not wish to endanger the benefits of the surge that provide hope of an honourable exit under his watch:
It has been 18 months since President Bush announced the surge. As I have said many times, our troops have performed brilliantly in lowering the level of violence. General Petraeus has used new tactics to protect the Iraqi population. We have talked directly to Sunni tribes that used to be hostile to America, and supported their fight against al-Qaida. Shiite militias have generally respected a cease-fire. Those are the facts, and all Americans welcome them.
Let me be clear: we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 – one year after Iraqi Security Forces will be prepared to stand up; two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, we’ll keep a residual force to perform specific missions in Iraq: targeting any remnants of al-Qaida; protecting our service members and diplomats; and training and supporting Iraq’s Security Forces, so long as the Iraqis make political progress.
I want Iraqis to take responsibility for their own future, and to reach the political accommodation necessary for long-term stability. That’s victory. That’s success. That’s what’s best for Iraq, that’s what’s best for America, and that’s why I will end this war as President.
Obama has decided his yardstick for success and it isn’t helicopters hurriedly leaving the roofs of buildings in the Green Zone.
At last, we have a consensus on Iraq.
It’s worth reading this again:
These poor Iraqis — ragged people, with their sandals, with their Kalashnikovs, with the lightest and most basic of weapons are writing the names of their cities and towns in the stars, with 145 military operations every day, which has made the country ungovernable by the people who occupy it. We don’t know who they are, we don’t know their names, we never saw their faces, they don’t put up photographs of their martyrs, we don’t know the names of their leaders They are the base of this society. They are the young men and young women who decided, whatever their feelings about the former regime, some are with, some are against. But they decided, when the foreign invaders came, to defend their country, to defend their honor, to defend their families, their religion, their way of life from a military superpower, which landed amongst them. And they are winning the war. American is losing the war in Iraq, and even the Americans now admit it And this will not change.
The resistance is getting stronger every day, and the will to remain as an occupier by Britain and America is getting weaker everyday. Therefore, it can be said, truly said, that the Iraqi resistance is not just defending Iraq. They are defending all the Arabs, and they are defending all the people of the world from American hegemony.
Galloway speech entitled, Justice in the New World Order! delivered at the al-Assad Library in Damascus on July 30, 2005. Broadcast on Al Jazeera TV, July 31, 2005
Well, that prediction worked out didn’t it?
Gene adds: Iraq’s largest Sunni political bloc has rejoined the government after a year “in another step toward healing the sectarian rifts that once brought almost daily bloodshed.”
And Prime Minister Maliki told Der Spiegel he backs Barack Obama’s plan to withdraw US troops from the country in 16 months. Although Maliki declined to take sides between Obama’s and John McCain’s Iraq policies, he said, “Whoever is thinking about the shorter term is closer to reality. Artificially extending the stay of U.S. troops would cause problems.”