Iraq's prime minister said yesterday that the government has defeated terrorism in the country, a sign of growing confidence after recent crackdowns against Sunni extremists and Shiite militias. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki began the crackdowns to extend the authority of the government over areas in Baghdad and elsewhere that have largely been under the control of armed groups since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
"They were intending to besiege Baghdad and control it," al-Maliki said. "But thanks to the will of the tribes, security forces, army and all Iraqis, we defeated them." He was speaking at ceremonies marking the fifth anniversary of the assassination in 2003 of Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim, a leading opponent of Saddam Hussein who was killed in a truck bombing in Najaf after returning from exile in Iran. Such attacks plagued Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion, but violence in the country has now fallen to its lowest level in four years. The change has been driven by the 2007 buildup of American forces, the Sunni tribal revolt against Al Qaeda in Iraq and al-Maliki's crackdowns, among other factors."Under the national unity government, the Iraqis have achieved national feats ... that are now lighting the course of our march," al-Maliki said. Maliki declares terrorism defeated
Big mistake! Hasn't Maliki learned anything from the Chief Braggart that every time you declare victory over there you get a little more defeated? You embolden and push the so called terrorists to renew their efforts! So of course Despite these security gains, daily attacks continue throughout the country. A Kurdish party member was injured Sunday in an assassination attempt by a roadside bomb that killed seven people and wounded three others in Iraq's eastern Diyala province, said a local government official.
The bomb targeted a vehicle carrying Muhammad Ramadan Issa of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, killing five members of his family and two of his guards, said Sirwan Shukr. The four people wounded in the bombing, including Issa, were taken to a hospital in the area, some 75 miles northwest of Diyala's capital of Baqouba, added Shukr. Also Sunday, a car bomb in northern Baghdad killed six people and injured 14 others, including three policemen, said police and medical officials. The car was parked near a security building in the Shiite area of Shaab when it exploded, and the injured were taken to nearby al-Kindi hospital, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. Destruction continues
Not just that but Americans continue to die too after terrorism is declared defeated. A military statement says the soldier died Saturday. The statement released Sunday does not elaborate. It says the soldier was assigned to Multinational Corps-Iraq. Another US soldier dies after victory declared
Meanwhile No matter who is elected president in November, his foreign policy team will have to deal with one of the most frustrating realities in Iraq: the slow pace with which the government in Baghdad operates. Iraq's political and military success is considered vital to U.S. interests, whether troops stay or go. And while the Iraqi government has made measurable progress in recent months, the pace at which it's done so has been achingly slow. The White House sees the progress in a particularly positive light, declaring in a new assessment to Congress that Iraq's efforts on 15 of 18 benchmarks are "satisfactory" - almost twice of what it determined to be the case a year ago. The May 2008 report card, obtained by the Associated Press, determines that only two of the benchmarks - enacting and implementing laws to disarm militias and distribute oil revenues - are unsatisfactory.
In the past 12 months, since the White House released its first formal assessment of Iraq's military and political progress, Baghdad politicians have reached several new agreements seen as critical to easing sectarian tensions. They have passed, for example, legislation that grants amnesty for some prisoners and allows former members of Saddam Hussein's political party to recover lost jobs or pensions. They also determined that provincial elections would be held by Oct. 1. But for every small step forward, Iraq has several more giant steps to take before victory can be declared on any one issue. Check this out
Anyway if terrorism is defeated and Iraq has made so much progress why stay there? Iraq and the United States have been negotiating agreements that will detail their relationship in all areas, including rules governing the conduct of American troops in Iraq, where civilians and political officials are concerned about sovereignty. The rules on forces would replace a U.N. mandate that allows U.S. troops to operate in Iraq through 2008. Zebari is hopeful that the agreement will be reached by the time the mandate expires at year's end. If a deal isn't reached by then, he said, an interim arrangement or an extension of the U.N. mandate could be possible. The United States has said it wanted to complete the negotiations by the end of July. Deal reachable on US occupation
* I don't get it! Terrorism continues, Americans and Iraqi's continue to die, as progress touted and terrorism declared beat in Iraq. If that is true why do we have to make a deal to stay there unless to go after Iran? Can't we leave now? Can't we concentrate on the supposed real target Afghanistan?