I thought I saw Al Gore’s cold breath in the air last week…. the New York Times finally admits success in recent surge by Iraqi troops in Basra.
Three hundred miles south of Baghdad, the oil-saturated city of Basra has been transformed by its own surge, now seven weeks old.
In a rare success, forces loyal to Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki have largely quieted the city, to the initial surprise and growing delight of many inhabitants who only a month ago shuddered under deadly clashes between Iraqi troops and Shiite militias.
Just as in Baghdad, Iraqi and Western officials emphasize that the gains here are â€œfragile,â€ like the newly planted roadside saplings that fail to conceal mounds of garbage and pools of foul-smelling water in the historic port city’s slums.
Among the many uncertainties are whether the government, criticized for incompetence at the start of the operation, can maintain the high level of troops here. But in interviews across Basra, residents overwhelmingly reported a substantial improvement in their everyday lives.
â€œThe circle of fear is broken,â€ said Shaker, owner of a floating restaurant on Basra’s famed Corniche promenade, who, although optimistic, was still afraid to give his full name, as were many of those interviewed.
You might recall the US Democrats who were quick to condemn the Iraqi troops actions in Basra when it began.
Oh, you don’t? Well, here ya go….Â All of these statements were made as the result of Maliki’s actions in Basra:
Not-My Speaker Pelosi (D-CA):Â â€œI hope we don’t hear any glorification of what happened in Basra,â€ said Pelosi, referring to a recent military offensive against Shiite militants in the city led by the Iraqi government and supported by U.S. forces.
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE):Â “Violence has come down, but the Iraqis have not come together.”
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI):Â “The Bush administration has put all of our eggs in Maliki’s basket,” Levin said. “And he’s shown himself to be a political leader who is excessively sectarian, who’s incompetent and who runs a corrupt administration.”
I could go on and on and on….