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Iraq Security Adviser Says Violence Levels Falling

This is certainly not the story I saw on the networks over the past week. Imagine my surprise when I saw the title of this post as the headline Yahoo gave this Reuters story.

The level of violence in Baghdad has fallen sharply since July thanks to troop reinforcements and the new government's efforts to reconcile warring Shi'ites and Sunnis, Iraq's national security adviser said on Tuesday.

Mowaffaq al-Rubaie insisted that the sectarian and insurgent bloodshed that has seized Iraq was not a civil war, a description U.S. President George W. Bush's administration has strenuously avoided in the face of mounting casualties.

"This is absolutely not a civil war," Rubaie told Reuters in an interview during a visit to Japan. "Al Qaeda tried for that for three years and failed miserably. But it has created a crack between Shias and Sunnis."

Some analysts say repeated talk of a civil war could pressure the Bush administration into a withdrawal of the 135,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, especially if Bush's approval ratings fall further ahead of U.S. congressional elections in November.

Rubaie declined to give a date for the pullout of American troops from Iraq, saying it would depend on the security situation, but he said it was reasonable to expect that a majority could be gone by 2008.

He challenged the notion that violence was out of control in the Iraqi capital, saying it had peaked last month.

"The surge was only until mid-July," he said. "The number of attacks is down from mid-July by 45 percent and extra-judicial murders ... are down 35 percent since mid-July. We're there, we're definitely on the mend."


Comments (29)

Of course it is a ci... (Below threshold)


Of course it is a civil war. Chris Matthews said so. So did the NY Times

Sorry, this is wrong. It's ... (Below threshold)
plainslow:

Sorry, this is wrong. It's a Civil War, and the MSM will keep saying until the Iraq's and us believe it.

Lorie-I think you ... (Below threshold)
Rory:

Lorie-

I think you will love this story-I just read a couple of minutes ago at USA Today-{You know with the advent of the internet-I'm beginning to think that Jung's theories of synchronicity and the collective subconscience are becoming more and more relevant...}

Colonel Walks Bagdad 'to make people believe'

"I am an officer, but my job is like a tribal leader," says Razzaq, who in this polarized society refuses to say whether he is a Shiite Muslim or a Sunni.

Link to USA Today article

Hopefully God will watch over this brave soul.

Boy we're close to the feeling in the quote from the article- ever afraid to admit your a Republican?

I register as a Democrat just so I don't make my Irish relatives pretend to die...

Any reason we should give m... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Any reason we should give more (or less) credence to Mowaffaq al-Rubaie opinion than someone elses? He's a security advisor, so saying violence has decreased is this guy announcing that he's doing a great job.

Maybe we should get a second opinion?

And, is this decrease in attacks (if it can be verified from an objective source) just relative to a burst of attacks in mid-July? Or an actual trend of reduced violence. It seems like a few weeks is rather quick to draw any conclusion.

What else was happening dur... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

What else was happening during July and August? Israel conflict perhaps. Once Iran gets Hezbollah back on its feet it can get back to causing trouble in Iraq.

Any reason we should give m... (Below threshold)
Publicus:

Any reason we should give more (or less) credence to Mowaffaq al-Rubaie opinion than someone elses? He's a security advisor, so saying violence has decreased is this guy announcing that he's doing a great job.

Maybe we should get a second opinion?

And, is this decrease in attacks (if it can be verified from an objective source) just relative to a burst of attacks in mid-July? Or an actual trend of reduced violence? It seems like a few weeks is rather quick to draw any conclusion.

And, if the violence subsides, does that mean that the Iraqis are now capable of managing their country and we can bring our troops home?

Well, *obviously* Publicus,... (Below threshold)

Well, *obviously* Publicus, it's a data point to add to other data points.

Did you draw "conclusions" when violence increased? I don't know how often I've heard the "conclusion" that Iraq is an unsalvagable disaster... do you take those people to task?

What I find excessively... typical is the way opinions by those who might know and understand what is going on over there such as security advisors or those who wage war as a profession are portrayed as suspect because of self-interest. While the opinions of those not directly involved are given additional weight just so long as they can't be considered "cheerleading".

Directly involved Iraqi security advisor = suspect.

Uninvolved congressman with 40 year old military experience = reliable.

Because we all know that anti-war opinions are NEVER tainted by self-interest.

''I think they're in the la... (Below threshold)
Herman:

''I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." -- Dick Cheney, May 31, 2005. That's right, 2005

Let's see here: 3,500 violently killed in Iraq last month, July 2006.

That Dick Cheney, who you all love and admire so deeply, seems to have an unusual definition of "last throes," doesn't he, conservatives???

Or was he perhaps LYING again???

Well???

Herman,Did you bot... (Below threshold)
kirktoe:

Herman,

Did you bother to look up the definition of "throes"? Here it is:

1. A violent spasm or pang, such as convulses the body, limbs, or face. Also, a spasm of feeling; a paroxysm; agony of mind; anguish. '

Cheney saying that they were in their "last" throes doesn't imply a TIMETABLE. It simply meant that the terrorists were and are losing and are desperate. Most people understand that and if Bill Clinton had said that liberals would have praised him jsut for saying it and that's really the bottom line here. It's not about what was said, it's about who said it and which party they represent.

BTW, Al-Qaeda is no longer in their last throes in Iraq because just about of of them are either dead or in prison.

Now its about down to the l... (Below threshold)
914:

Now its about down to the level of a mid Octobers night dream? after the chi sox do not win their way into the playoffs?

In other words, a normal night in any American city...

Herman's response to good n... (Below threshold)
MItchell:

Herman's response to good news in Iraq?:

"Nooooooooooooooooo!"

It cant be!!... (Below threshold)
914:

It cant be!!

Nooooooooooooooooo!<p... (Below threshold)
Rory:

Nooooooooooooooooo!

It can't be!!

Where did my dream of Kerry, with his magic hat, in the White House for Christmas go!?!

'I think they're in the ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

'I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." -- Dick Cheney, May 31, 2005. That's right, 2005
Let's see here: 3,500 violently killed in Iraq last month, July 2006.
That Dick Cheney, who you all love and admire so deeply, seems to have an unusual definition of "last throes," doesn't he, conservatives???
Or was he perhaps LYING again???
Well???

Is your question-mark key stuck? You need fewer strokes and less caffeine, I think.

That 3500 figure...did you pull it our of your arse or something? You want to cite a credible source? Are some of those numbers from terrorist-caused killings? US killing terrorists? Accidents? Illness?

I'm guessing this figure isn't coming from US sources. I'll hazard a guess and say it's the Baghdad Health Ministry. Any independent verification here?

Can I clue you into something? War is hell...people get killed, tragic as it is. This isn't a video game. At it's peak, in Vietnam, we were losing 500 A DAY.

And again, does this figure separate the terrorists--excuse me---insurgents from civilians? Does it only account for terrorist-related deaths, or all violent deaths in Iraq? I want to see a breakdown.

Last Throes? Possibly...deaths peaked in 2004 with U.S. Casualties almost 8000 (http://icasualties.org/oif/). The terrorist activites are mostly contained in the so-called Sunni Triangle. The Kurdish north, and Shi'ite Southern regions are fairly quiet. I don't think the terrorists are organised and methodical anymore, they are taking potshots at civilians. What is needed is more active Iraqi police and Army control. Compared to say, Fallujah and such, yeah, they are pretty much on it's last legs.

Now, see, this is how you present an argument, and save wear and tear on your question-mark key.

The politically inconvenien... (Below threshold)
Lee:

The politically inconvenient truth is that the Democrats were correct in calling for a timetable for the withdraw of troops from Iraq, as Britain is demonstrating:

Britain may cut its force in Iraq in half by the middle of next year after handing over security responsibility for the south to Iraqis within nine months, a senior British commander said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on condition he not be identified, the commander said Britain would leave "quite a significantly smaller force than we've got now, but probably in the region of 3,000 to 4,000 people based in a single location".

Britain handed over responsibility for one of the southern provinces it controls to Iraqi forces in July, and the commander said it hopes to hand over a second province next month.

Also read where a Brit commander is acknowledging that the situation in Iraq is reaching "civil war" proportions (as I predicted a couple of weeks ago - heh!)

WASHINGTON — The British deputy to the top U.S. commander in Iraq said Tuesday the country's sectarian conflict is not a full-blown civil war but could be described as a"civil war in miniature.

rather like saying someone is a "little pregnant"...

Why aren't these developments being reported here on Wizbang?

Lhee, nice to see you back.... (Below threshold)
Thim:

Lhee, nice to see you back. Apparently you missed the news that 16 of 18 provinces are now under the control of Iraqi forces. And when the Iraqis can take over an area, we drop our prescence there. It could be described thusly: "as Iraqi forces stand up, ours will stand down". Now where, oh where, have I heard that before? Must have been Howard Dean. Yeah, that's it - that's the ticket!

"civil war in miniature.... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

"civil war in miniature.

Huh? I guess I could describe the Crips/Bloods feuds in LA a "civil war in miniature" as well.

I noticed you didn't give a cite for your above clipping. So, I did the work for you...

http://today.reuters.com/news/articlenews.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-08-22T104645Z_01_LAL001809_RTRUKOC_0_US-BRITAIN-IRAQ.xml

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LAL001809.htm


Oh, Reuters. Lots of truthiness there. Oh, Alternet...even better. You'll excuse my scepticism when I read the next paragraph from same source:

Speaking to reporters on condition he not be identified, the commander said Britain would leave "quite a significantly smaller force than we've got now, but probably in the region of 3,000 to 4,000 people based in a single location."

Oh, great, another anonymous source...from a single commander.

Oh, and the last paragraph (in the Reuters, not Alternet link) is telling:

Most of Britain's 7,000 troops in Iraq are based around the second city of Basra, where the commander said a transition to Iraqi control could take place in the first quarter of 2007.

"These are all , but in terms of the tactical plan and the competence of the Iraqi army, it is perfectly feasible," he said.

So, it's not exactly a timetable, is it?

And now you know...the rest of the story! Good DAY!

Lee-Britain is a ... (Below threshold)
Rory:

Lee-

Britain is a different country.

The fact is that Blair is in some scandals of his own doing, his Labour party waffled and wallowed like true Liberals that believe in nothing but themselves and the scariest thing said "on open mike night" wasn't "shit".

It was Blair admitting that he and Britain were no longer world players when he said that if he-BLAIR-went to the Middle East all he could do would be "JUST TALK",

Blair's advice to President Bush-

You'd better send Condi.

And-that might just be who Republicans run right up your weak middle Lee.

Who do you have with national security and foreign diplomacy credentials?

Try that again:<b... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Try that again:

"These are all , but in terms of the tactical plan and the competence of the Iraqi army, it is perfectly feasible," he said.

Again, not exactly a timetable. A vague supposition, subject to change depending on "conditions" and "factors".

Not a timetable, and certainly not a deadline.

Rory:Good point th... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Rory:

Good point that I failed to mention:
Britain is a different country.

Also, note that the UK forces are mostly stationed in the south, where is pretty damned quiet.

A timetable!??Are ... (Below threshold)
Rory:

A timetable!??

Are we really arguing this!?

Hey Steelers give us your play book.

Damn it Liberals are stupid.

A timetable!??Are... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

A timetable!??
Are we really arguing this!?

Well, Lee and Reuters are, at any rate.

Shit, the paragraph that ke... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

Shit, the paragraph that keeps failing to post is this:


"These are all conditions-based, subject to a variety of factors,, but in terms of the tactical plan and the competence of the Iraqi army, it is perfectly feasible," he said.


PIMF...PIMF...

James-Well you act... (Below threshold)
Rory:

James-

Well you actually had the patience to follow his link and find as many holes in his thesis as holes in the nylons of a two bit hooker on Bourbon Street.

Sheesh.

Say it aint so! The left's... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Say it aint so! The left's whole agenda rests squarely on complete U.S. miltary failure!

Quagmire! Quagmire!

Er, Um, Vietnam!

Condi Rice is the republica... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Condi Rice is the republican secret weapon? Spare me.

You guys have been morally bankrupt for years -- outright lying to the American public, but now you've turned just plain stupid.

War IS hell.That's... (Below threshold)
Robert:

War IS hell.

That's why we should never let someone start one on a lark.
Or let those who have ties to war profiteers (The Carlyle Group, Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel, etc) start them.

Robert:Wa... (Below threshold)
Heralder:

Robert:

War IS hell. That's why we should never let someone start one on a lark. Or let those who have ties to war profiteers (The Carlyle Group, Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel, etc) start them.

Well, if we could have stopped Osama bin Laden from starting it we would have.

War profiteers aren't war profiteers until there's a war. Read that a few times until you get it.

Someone will get contracts to help rebuild and to provide logistics where needed in most wars...and that includes Afghanistan. Someone will get those contracts. What, are you upset Al Gore or Greenpeace didn't get the contracts?

Jawdropping that anyone sti... (Below threshold)
IntheMiddle:

Jawdropping that anyone still believes there is any relationship between bin Laden and Iraq.




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