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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Iraqi Prime Minister Declares Al-Qaeda Defeated in Baghdad

Prime Minister of Iraq Nuri al-Maliki declared on Saturday that the terrorists in Baghdad have been defeated! The statement follows incredibly reduced levels of violence there in recent weeks, all a result of the "Surge Strategy" implemented by the United States just over a year ago:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Saturday that the country's security forces have managed to save Baghdad from a "siege by terrorists" backed by foreign nations.

"When we took over Baghdad it was under siege, with all roads leading to neighbouring provinces controlled by terrorists. They had surrounded Baghdad from all sides, backed by the bad intentions of other countries," Maliki told a gathering of top Iraqi and US officials including Washington's envoy to Baghdad Ryan Crocker.

"We wanted these nations to support and assist us in stabilising the country but they were thinking of finishing Baghdad," he said, without naming the countries.

"But Baghdad continues to stand," the Shiite prime minister said in a speech marking the fifth anniversary of the killing of prominent Shiite leader Mohammed Bakr al-Hakim in a 2003 car bombing in the holy city of Najaf.

"Yes, there are still Al-Qaeda militants left but they are being chased. We are hunting them. But we have been able to lift the siege of Baghdad."

Baghdad was the epicenter of violence in Iraq when sectarian bloodshed broke out in early 2006.

Daily car bombing, suicide attacks, and militia shoot-outs ripped through the Iraqi capital leaving tens of thousands of people dead, until mid-2007 when violence started to ebb following a US military troop "surge".

The US military claims most of the insurgent attacks in Baghdad and other regions of Iraq have been carried out by Al-Qaeda fighters, many of whom are foreigners entering the country from Syria.

It also accuses Iranian-linked groups of arming, funding and training Shiite groups to wage attacks against Sunni Arabs and foreign forces operating in the violence-wracked country.

These are words many thought would never be uttered about Baghdad. The results are a repudiation of the Democratic Party's leadership in both the House and Senate who fought the "Surge Strategy" in every way possible, declaring the war in Iraq was "lost."

It is also an indictment of the judgment of Sen. Barack Obama who was so beholden to the radical left-wing of his party that he opposed the "Surge Strategy" which aimed at victory in Iraq. The Democrats are invested in defeat there.

But Obama can see that we are now winning in Iraq, and he is moving quickly to "refine" his position on a precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. Now that he has used the immediate withdrawal position to defeat Hillary Clinton, he is trying to co-opt John McCain's victory position in Iraq with a stance that is willing to listen to commanders on the ground and take current conditions into account in making decisions. The mainstream press is not reporting the good news from Iraq, and they should be asking Obama why he now wants to listen to the very commanders on the ground he dismissed and ignored when opposing the surge strategy a year ago. They are also not reporting that John McCain was calling for the "Surge Strategy" in 2003, just a few months after the successful invasion of Iraq and drive to Baghdad. McCain has shown the judgment to be President on the Iraq issue. Obama simply has not.

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