September 19, 2006
WAR: Two Down, Sixteen to Go
The second of Iraq's 18 provinces is ready for the full transfer of responsibility for security, the last step in the process that began with the transfer of civil sovereignty in June 2004 and has continued through two elections, a new constitution and the formation of a representative government:
With all its history in tow, Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq is looking toward the future. It's scheduled later this month to become the second of Iraq's 18 provinces to be transferred to provincial Iraqi control.
This means Coalition security forces will pull back and let the local provincial police and Iraqi military handle security of the province, a key step for the eventual withdrawal of Coalition forces from the country.
Both Coalition officials and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki have said they hope to have all 18 of the country's provinces under Iraqi control by the end of next year.
Dhi Qar province is an archeologist's dreamland. It contains the site of the ancient city of Ur, purported to be the hometown of the biblical figure Abraham. Near the ruins of the ancient city stands the Ziggurat of Ur, a towering ancient temple dating back more than 4,000 years.
Iraqis and tourists are now able to freely visit this area, something they could not do under the oppression of Saddam Hussein, said Maj. Gen. Kurt A. Cichowski, Multi-National Force - Iraq,Deputy Chief of Staff for Strategy, Plans and Assessment.
Note, by the way, that the Coalition and the al-Maliki government do have an aspirational timetable for this process; it's just not a cast-in-stone deadline for the removal of Coalition forces. This is the result of the "unilateral" effort in Iraq:
The responsibility for getting Dhi Qar ready to transfer has been shouldered mostly by members of the Italian contingent there, led by Brig. Gen. Carmine De Pascale, commander of the Italian Joint Task Force – Iraq.
"This result was attained by Dhi Qar provincial authorities and Coalition forces through a long and intense period of sacrifices and efforts," De Pascale said.
About 1,500 Italian troops, along with Romanian, Australian and some British Soldiers, have been based out of Camp Mittica, just outside Ali Base, near Ur. The task force has worked closely with the local government in the province – training and equipping the local Police and Army, mentoring government officials, and organizing construction projects like schools and clinics.
Naturally, and logically, the two provinces selected to go first are the easiest nuts to crack, the rural equivalent of our "red states" - Baghdad, conspicuously, remains in need of pacification - but as has been true of Iraq all along, the further we get down the road, the more momentum works in our favor.
the rural equivalent of our "red states"
Not to be confused with the dysfunctional regions of the country infested with irrational psychopaths opposed to freedom and democracy -- you know, that other color.
Exactly what is wrong right now. Whenever anyone disagrees with a conservative, they are immediatley insulted and diminished. Irrational psychopaths? Well, I might say that about bin Laden, Kim Sung Il, Fidel Castro, and their ilk, but they are sadly also rational.
The Democrats do need to develop a platform for terror, security and energy that might actually work. The Republicans need to admit that they screwed the pooch, and will listen to alternative ideas. Then we might actually accomplish something.
We need to: 1. Develop a coherent energy strategy that will allow for expansion, yet not dump excess amounts of CO2 and the like into the atmosphere, while making sure that our reliance on foreign, mostly middle east and Venezuelanan sources of energy are greatly reduced.
2. Recognize that global warming is real, whether man made or not. We have too many lawyers in power, and a lawyer's goal is to attack the process, HOW something was done. As an architect, my goal, like an engineer's, is to make sure that it comes out in the end. Credit and methods are secondary.
3. Develop a coherent strategy on Islamic Terrorism. Yes there are other sources, but be they the Tamils in Sri Lanka, the far right fringe and/or the PETA types here, they are domestic, and must be handled domestically. Al Qaida has explicitly stated that their goal is to conquer the world for Muslim fundamentalism. Sounds like a comic book, but Jack Kirby isn't drawing our hero for us. We need to figure out ways to make the terrorists react to us. Maybe it's go after their own families, I agree that we have to follow the money trail, I consider that diffrent from capturing people and torturing them. The NYPD strategy of random searches is a good one, make them think for a change. Once we are independent of the middle east for oil, we can then deal with the governments really helping them.