Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Iraq News

There's a very interesting, really long, and rather encouraging update of the situation in Ramadi, by Michael Fumento, at The Weekly Standard. Fumento reports from his embed with the 1st Brigade Combat Team in Ramadi, where he arrived in October, returning to the region after half a year away. He had previously visited both Ramadi and Fallujah--this is his third embed in the Anbar Province--and wanted to see what changes had occurred since he last saw the city of 400,000. Ramadi has been an enemy stronghold in Iraq for a long time, more so since the insurgents lost nearby Fallujah. It's a highly contentious and dangerous part of Iraq. However, Fumento outlines the real progress that is being made to root out terrorists and insurgents as both the Iraqi security forces and the Coalition are receiving ever increasing cooperation from the local Sunni tribes. The Weekly Standard article will take some time to read, but in keeping with this week's theme of Thanksgiving, I offer it to you as something for which to be thankful. Excerpt:

...Ramadi is both a litmus test for the counterinsurgency effort in Iraq and a laboratory. If we can defeat the insurgent and terrorist forces here, there is no place we cannot defeat them. And from what I found, we are defeating them. It's painfully slow, and our men there are still dying in inordinate numbers from a broad variety of attacks. But a multitude of factors, including tribal cooperation, the continual introduction of more Iraqi army and police, the beginning of public works projects, the building of more Forward Operating Bases (FOBs), the installation of more small operational posts (OPs), and plunking down company-sized Combat Operation Posts (COPs) smack in the middle of hostile territory are destroying both the size and the mobility of the enemy. This time the rats are dying in place.
It's clear from reading Fumento's piece that he is putting himself in substantial danger to bring us this report. What he's writing is not coming out of the relative safety of the green zone in Baghdad. It's eyewitness news, news that says we are winning in Ramadi. Read it if you have the time.

Update: (via Instapundit) More on progress in Ramadi, from Bill Roggio, who examines the growing support among the tribal leaders of Anbar for Iraqi and U.S. efforts to oust the terrorists:
The turning of the Sunni tribes is directly related to al-Qaeda in Iraq's attempts to install a Taliban like rule in the region. Al-Qaeda looks upon the tribal system with open contempt, and has killed, intimidated and humiliated tribal leaders during the past three years under the leadership of the slain Zarqawi.
This coincides with what Fumento wrote for The Weekly Standard. The Roggio post's not so long, but fills out Fumento's story a bit more. Worth a read.