Thursday, June 15, 2006

Some good news from Iraq..and some not so good news

Zarqawi's extreme makeover at the hands of our wonderful military has become the gift that keeps on giving.

Combing through the rubble of Zarqawi's safe house, Iraqi and US intel found a virtual treasure trove of information on al Qaeda and its networks in Iraq, including numerous lists, files and Zarqawi's laptop hardrive.

I love the interview I heard with Iraq's National Security Adviser Mouwafak al-Rubaie.....some idiot reporter asked how they knew the hard drive was `authentic' and the Intel officer replied `We found the thumbdrive still in his pocket doesn't get more authentic than that!'

Based on what they found, Iraqi and US forces have been conducting a virtual firestorm of raids, killing over 104 jihadis and arresting hundreds more at other bases and safehouses...which of course are yielding even more intel.

The nationwide raids led to the discovery of 28 significant arms caches. 255 of the raids were joint operations, while 143 were carried out by Iraqi forces alone.

In short, Zarqawi's network is being rolled up. And al Qaeda is having massive problems.

Mouwafak al-Rubaie called it "the beginning of the end of al-Qaida in Iraq."

"Now we have the upper hand," he said at a news conference in Baghdad. "We feel that we know their locations, the names of their leaders, their whereabouts, their movements, through the documents we found during the last few days."

In Baghdad, a huge security crackdown involving 75,000 Iraqi army and police forces backed by U.S. forces is now ongoing. It includes a curfew extended by 4 1/2 hours — from 8:30 p.m. until dawn — a weapons ban, and the frisking of motorists at checkpoints around the capital.

Iraq's never going to be Belgium, because of that one word, Islam..but it looks like things may have turned the corner. I'm cautiously optomistic.

Additionally, Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki proposed having talks with insurgents opposed to the country's political process as part of a national reconciliation initiative, but he said any negotiations would exclude terrorist groups. The plan could include a pardon for some prisoners.

The not so good news is that some of the pardons may go to Iraqis who have killed Americans as `insurgents' rather than say, blowing up a bus in Tikrit. Apparently al-Maliki is still working out some of those nasty little details. I hope so. I have a feeling that amnesty for terrorists who limited their violence to Americans might not sit too well with people in Peoria or San Antonio.

Stay tuned....

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