Monday, September 01, 2008

Anbar Handed Over To Iraqi Government

Today marks another historic day in Iraq.

Anbar province, once regarding as lost and proclaimed by our enemies as 'the capitol of Al-Qaeda in Iraq' was handed over to complete Iraqi control today.Anbar is predominantly Sunni, and this is the first Sunni province to be turned over fully to the Iraqi government.

There was a brief ceremony in Ramadi, the provincial capitol to commemorate this historic day.

President Bush remarked, "Today, Anbar is no longer lost to Al-Qaeda - it is Al-Qaeda that lost Anbar." he added.

"Anbar has been transformed and reclaimed by the Iraqi people. This achievement is a credit to the courage of our troops, the Iraqi security forces, and the brave tribes and other civilians from Anbar who worked alongside them," Bush added.

US Ambassador Ryan Crocker and the top commander of American forces in the region, General David Petraeus, said Iraqi forces had already been operating independently for the past two months in Anbar.

The Iraqis will now have responsibility for security in the entire province. With the official transfer, US forces will withdraw to their bases and take part in any military operations only at the request of the provincial governor.

It's a lot different than the old days, when Anbar was the most dangerous place in Iraq.It was the heartland of Al Qaeda assault against our forces there, with bloody battles in Fallujah and Ramadi.Around one third of the 4,00 US fatalities, 1,305 of our brave warriors, fell in Anbar an untold number of Iraqi civilians, who were murdered by Al Qaeda.

That was the key to things, in a way. The Sunnis were the first to hop on the Al Qaeda bandwagon after the US invasion, and the first to find out exactly how brutal and murderous these cockroaches actually are, even to the people they claimed to be defending.

As you know, I have my own questions about what we achieved in Iraq. But our victory over an in country terrorist insurgency that had nations on its borders that were havens, training grounds and transit points, something thought to be impossible in modern warfare, is something military strategists will be studying and marvelling at for a long time to come.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From the beginning the goals for Iraq were as follows: 1.) a democratic Iraq, 2.)a stable Iraq, and 3.) an Iraq that would be allied with us in the war on terror, as Mr. Bush and his advisors call it. For better or worse, the goals were in that order. I would have placed goal nubmer three first. If we achieve a situation where Iraq is allied with us in the war against Islamic terrorists and is stable, this would be a huge strategic victory for the US even if the country is not democratic. To have a democratic Iraq is hardly mission critical to American interests though. It would simply be icing on the proverbial cake.

The goal of a democratic Iraq has been achieved and we are well on the way to achieving a stable Iraq, however, an Iraq that is allied with us in the war against Islamic terrorism is problematic at best. I think about the best we can hope for at this point would be a situation where Iraq does not allow its territory to be used as a base for Islamic terrorists to plan for, train for, and launch attacks against America or its interests. I would expect little if any help from the Iraqi government beyond this. If we can achieve this situation, this would certainly be a vast improvement over the regime of Saddam Hussein who actively supported Islamic terrorists.

While this might not be the ideal situation, it would certainly be an improvement over the former situation. As such, it would be a strategic victory. Unfortnuatley, if Iraq becomes allied with Islamic terrorists and allows its territory to be used by Al Qaeda and others to train for, plan for, and launch attacks on America or its interests this would be a monumental strategic defeat for Aemrica even though we achieved a tactical victory against the insurgency. This would be likely be a catastrophic defeat for the US. It would be the kind of defeat that the country would be unlikely to recover from for decades, if ever. I pray it does not come to that.