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A Little Hope Here?


I hate hope. It comes along and teases you into lowering your guard so the Irony Gods can plant a hard, fast one on your nose.
BAGHDAD - Sunni residents of a west Baghdad neighborhood used assault rifles and a roadside bomb to battle the Sunni insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq this week, leaving at least 28 people dead and six injured, residents said Thursday.

The mayor of the Amiriyah neighborhood, Mohammed Abdul Khaliq, said in a telephone interview that residents were rising up to try to expel al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has alienated other Sunnis with its indiscriminate violence and attacks on members of its own sect.

Meanwhile in chic, sun-drenched Anbar province, General David (Call me Ulysses) Petraeus sees progress:
And the tribal leaders in Sunni al Anbar Province, the general reports, "have had enough." Not only are the al Qaeda fighters causing civil disruption by fomenting sectarian violence and killing civilians, but on a more prosaic but practical side, al Qaeda is bad for business. "All of the sheiks up there are businessmen," Petraeus said. "They are entrepreneurial and involved in scores of different businesses. The presence of the foreign fighters is hitting them hard in the pocketbook and they are tired of it."

A large hospital project - meant to be one of the largest in the Sunni Triangle - had been put on hold by terrorist attacks when al Qaeda had control of the area. Now it's back on track. So are similar infrastructure projects.

These aren't just the usual girl's-school-opening, Iraqi-kid-hugging, they-like-us-they-really-like-us happy talk bullshit. This is real. This is potentially important. Screw the school openings, this is Iraqis putting bullets in Al Qaeda fighters.

Unfortunately this from Bill Roggio is also real:

Shortly after arriving at Camp Liberty, I wrote about the day-to-day difficulties that soldiers face, with the desert heat, the long hours, and the constant dangers. But most of the soldiers I spoke with said the biggest difficulty is the grueling deployments of 12 months or more. I asked virtually all of the servicemen I spoke with whether they believed this was hurting reenlistment. The vast majority, from privates all the way up to the rank of captain, believed that the long deployments were indeed causing talented people not to reenlist. There was particular concern about young officers. An Army staff sergeant commented, “A lot of young officers who could be great commanders are signing out.” Although reenlistment rates have been strong so far, the staff sergeant argued that these figures were somewhat skewed by the military’s stop-loss orders -- and he further expects reenlistment rates to decline over the next few years, as servicemen hit their fourth and fifth deployments. There was no consensus on what to do about this. A senior Army official argued that we need to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq as soon as possible because the Iraq war is “breaking the Army.” Other servicemen said they are committed to the mission, but argued that deployments should be shortened.

And this, too, is real:

Iraq's Parliament is increasingly hamstrung by sectarian rivalries.

Shouting matches are commonplace, and there are many absences. Key legislation has yet to be debated on the floor. Ordinary Iraqis are fed up with the lawmakers. And U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that the legislature will fail to take action on moves aimed at ending sectarian violence.

In Parliament last week, Shiite lawmaker Shatha al-Mousawi was complaining bitterly about her recent visit with displaced Shiites from Diyala province. They were expelled from their homes because of sectarian violence.

It's intolerable that the government allows this bloodshed to happen, she said, demanding that the prime minister and other top officials be summoned to Parliament to respond.

The speaker of Parliament reacted to her emotional diatribe with laughter.

Kind of makes you wonder if a two month vacation might not be a good thing.

Look, I realize this anti-Qaeda movement is at base just more sectarian infighting. And I still see the odds of success (and a degraded version of success at that) as about on a par with hitting a single number at roulette. But the good news is, well, good. Iraqis shooting Qaeda? Caveat that all you like, but it's hard to see much downside there.

Props to TMV.

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“A Little Hope Here?”

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