Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Iraqi Security

I don't have much time for reading right now. We have an excavator coming this week to start prepping the ground for our new play room (you know, the shop we're building.) I did catch this news tidbit this morning, though. It seems that there's a bit of momentum being gained in Iraq, coinciding with the death of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and a surprise visit to Baghdad by President Bush. The visit by the President was expected to last about five hours, and included a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, to discuss future steps in achieving security for the country. Associated Press writer Kim Gamel writes today that Iraq's new prime minister is promising to show "no mercy" to terrorists:

Security officials said tens of thousands of Iraqi and multinational forces would deploy Wednesday throughout Baghdad, securing roads, launching raids against insurgent hideouts and calling in airstrikes if necessary.
It looks like the new Iraqi government is starting to get serious about securing the more dangerous areas in Baghdad, which is at the heart of ongoing terrorist activity. Gamel went on to say:

Iraqi security forces planned to deploy 75,000 Iraqi and multinational forces in Baghdad as part of al-Maliki's ambitious plan to crack down on security in the capital, a top Iraqi police official said.

Bush's visit came on the final day of a two-day work session aimed at keeping up the momentum generated by last week's swearing-in of key Iraqi national security officials, and the U.S. airstrike that killed Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq.

Maj. Gen. Mahdi al-Gharrawi, the commander of public order forces under the Interior Ministry, said al-Maliki's plan includes securing roads in and out of Baghdad, banning personal weapons and implementing a 9 p.m.-6 a.m. curfew.

Al-Gharrawi told The Associated Press that the plan to be launched at 6 a.m. Wednesday would be the biggest operation of its kind in Baghdad since the U.S. handed over sovereignty to Iraq in 2004.

Although the country is not there yet, Iraq continues to make strides toward a fully functioning society. With the new government in place, there are escalating efforts to establish safety for its citizens. The Iraqi government is also taking steps to clarify to citizens which of the forces operating in the city are actually government employees, rather than "sectarian death squads" believed to have infiltrated the legitimate police. Special uniforms and badges will distinguish the real deal from the impostors. It may seem like standard operating procedure to anyone growing up Averageville, Anystate, USA, but this country is just starting to operate in anything like an organized fashion. Checkpoints and raids of terrorist strongholds are also in the offing, something we don't generally see much of in Averageville. These are some important steps for the government to be taking, especially as they take more and more responsibility for their own security concerns.

Some of the intended raids will be carried out based on intelligence gathered from the "safe" house where Zarqawi met his end. Officials expect terrorist action in Iraq to increase substantially in the weeks to come, in revenge for the death of Zarqawi, and, in fact, it has increased already. The government, however, is taking action of its own, according to Gamel:

More than 200 raids have been carried out since al-Zarqawi's death June 7, some directly connected to what the U.S. military has described as a "treasure trove" of intelligence gleaned from his safehouse. U.S. troops killed seven insurgents in a raid Monday that also killed two children not far from the U.S. bombing raid that killed al-Zarqawi.

Maj. Gen. William Caldwell, a U.S. military spokesman in Baghdad, also said a "high-value individual" with a $50,000 price on his head was detained. He did not name the suspect, but said he was picked up based on a tip.

That's good news. The more terrorists they capture, the more information they obtain, leading to the capture of more terrorists, which leads to more information. It's a bit like a perpetual motion machine, except that the intended goal is to stop all terrorist motion completely. Hopefully the momentum will continue to swing in the direction of increased security. It certainly looks like both the Iraqi and U.S. governments are making a concerted effort toward that end.