It’s almost July now, and General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will present their report about the situation in Iraq, military and political, at some point in September.
…what matters more than the way of presentation would be how the data in the report is going to be read and afterwards interpreted into attitudes and actions.
One thing I hope the decision-makers and the media do when they read the report is to not isolate the war in Iraq from the war on terror and al-Qaeda as a whole, and at the same time put in mind the difference between war and nation-building. The latter takes much more time than winning a military conflict but requires different tools.
The results so far have been astounding, and please allow me to say that I’m proud of the change in attitude many of my fellow Iraqis are showing. Even if numbers don’t suggest so because the change is happening but it will take time-perhaps beyond September-before this change will show in numbers.
A nation is not a corporation and when we deal with a nation we are dealing with a society; a mass of people with ever changing hearts and minds and that’s why numbers alone can’t be enough to assess the situation—thoughtful insight and looking at the bigger image are also required.
For over a year the media and many officials were spooking us with the exaggerated ghost of civil war. I wonder what they have to say now! I think their silence is more telling than anything they would’ve said.
Iraqis are awakening, one very telling example can be seen in the ongoing operation in Diyala; members of the 1920 revolution brigades, once bitter enemies of the US military and Iraqi government are now assisting US and Iraqi military in fighting al-Qaeda even though the majority of the Iraqi soldiers and officers are Shia.
If the change in exclusively Sunni Anbar is good then the change in Diyala is good beyond words.
Another great example that I have personally been in touch with is taking place in a place outside Baghdad. Maybe you remember the story I told you about the area where members of our tribe live. For months unfortunate bloodletting was going on between the tribes, militias and al-Qaeda terrorists in which most of the victims were no more than innocent farmers.
Last week I learned from relatives that two groups of tribes have separately formed two “battalions” of several hundred young tribesmen each; not to fight the other sect or the US or Iraqi forces but to fight al-Qaeda. Even better this step has been taken in cooperation with the authorities in the region and the arrangement will ultimately lead to turning many of those tribal fighters into legitimate law enforcement personnel.