Unconventional thinking about the Middle East.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Wow: Even the Associated Press is saying that Iraq has been won

Welcome home, Ms. Media Narrative.

Check out these excerpts from the usually negative Associated Press:

The United States is now winning the war that two years ago seemed lost. Limited, sometimes sharp fighting and periodic terrorist bombings in Iraq are likely to continue, possibly for years. But the Iraqi government and the U.S. now are able to shift focus from mainly combat to mainly building the fragile beginnings of peace — a transition that many found almost unthinkable as recently as one year ago.

Despite the occasional bursts of violence, Iraq has reached the point where the insurgents, who once controlled whole cities, no longer have the clout to threaten the viability of the central government...

Scattered battles go on, especially against al-Qaida holdouts north of Baghdad. But organized resistance, with the steady drumbeat of bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and ambushes that once rocked the capital daily, has all but ceased.
This amounts to more than a lull in the violence. It reflects a fundamental shift in the outlook for the Sunni minority, which held power under Saddam Hussein. They launched the insurgency five years ago. They now are either sidelined or have switched sides to cooperate with the Americans in return for money and political support...

Shiite militias, notably the Mahdi Army of radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, have lost their power bases in Baghdad, Basra and other major cities. An important step was the routing of Shiite extremists in the Sadr City slums of eastern Baghdad this spring — now a quiet though not fully secure district.

Al-Sadr and top lieutenants are now in Iran. Still talking of a comeback, they are facing major obstacles, including a loss of support among a Shiite population weary of war and no longer as terrified of Sunni extremists as they were two years ago...

Statistics show violence at a four-year low. The monthly American death toll appears to be at its lowest of the war — four killed in action so far this month as of Friday, compared with 66 in July a year ago. From a daily average of 160 insurgent attacks in July 2007, the average has plummeted to about two dozen a day this month. On Wednesday the nationwide total was 13.

Beyond that, there is something in the air in Iraq this summer.

In Baghdad, parks are filled every weekend with families playing and picnicking with their children. That was unthinkable only a year ago, when the first, barely visible signs of a turnaround emerged.

Now a moment has arrived for the Iraqis to try to take those positive threads and weave them into a lasting stability.

"Something's in the air"...?

The AP turns lyrical?

Remember when I began to discuss these trends in late 2006? When some (okay, everyone) was calling me crazy?

Now, how about all those Middle East 'analysts' (...the same ones who were busy lecturing us on why Iraq was lost) telling us what a stable, democratic and wealthy Iraq may portend for the future of the region...


Blogger Grandpa said...

The new MSM/Democratic talking points/Obama's stated philosophy:

"I supported the successful three-week war. I opposed the flawed occupation. My principled criticism, however, led to the salvation of Iraq, which is important and necessary. Yet I did not support the idea of being in Iraq, but now don’t oppose it either. My model of intervention in Afghanistan was the proper one; difficulties there are due either to others’ improper implementation or an unwise diversion of resources to Iraq. If the president employs unilateral action, he should be more multilateral; if multilateral, he is an outsourcer and should by more directly involved and unilateral."

2:00 AM, July 27, 2008

Blogger Gorilla Bananas said...

There was something in the air that night
The stars were bright, Fernando

6:44 AM, July 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now the MSM will act like they've always known peace would come.

Bush just did it the "wrong" way...
That will become the new narritive

Thanks for you Report Nibras, your a class act!

7:55 AM, July 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be ahead of the curve is often to be thought to be crazy. Luckily you didn't end up like Cassandra.

9:13 AM, July 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The 2 individuals who wrote this are pro-war reporters that were embedded with the Crusaders from the beginning.

The fact that the cross worshippers are unable to withdraw, or even reduce numbers from 150,000 troops
is proof enough that the insurrection is up and functioning.

IAI shoots American soldier in Baghdad:
http://ia311339.us.archive.org/1/items/KAnes_zalzala/zalzala1n.mpg (right click save)

One other reason that there is no such thing as a Coalition victory in Iraq, is that no objective was set in the first place.
Iraq was attacked as a conseqence of the 9/11 operation, the American public got behind the war because they wanted to wreck an Arab country. They had no plan for what to do after that,
which led to their multi-year agony following the "Mission Accomplished" photo op.

Now the U.S. purports to have the same goal as the Iraqi Resistance: end the occupation.

Hence, whenever they draw down from 150k to 100, 75 and 0, it will be a defeat.

That is why Bill Maher said "We lost that war when we invaded Iraq."

1:36 PM, July 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jaguar B.P., you're an idiot. It's just killing you and the rest of the self-loathing, America-hating leftists that the U.S. has won this thing, isn't it? But let's check the scoreboard, shall we?

Saddam & sons dead? Check.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq defeated? Check?
Moqtada Al-Sadr & Iran rebuffed? Check.
Democratic government in place? Check.
Electricty production on the rise?
Oil production on he rise?
Economy expanding at a double-digit rate? Check.
Iraqi security forces increasing in capability and confidence each month? Check.
Valuable ally against terrorism now in place in the heart of the Middle East? Check.

Gee, Jaguar ... Sure doesn't sound much like a "defeat" to me.

Now, why don't both you and Bill Maher go f*** yourselves? The petty bleatings of bedwetters like the two of you will soon be long forgotten.

2:33 PM, July 27, 2008

Blogger GW said...

Nibras, we would be curious to get your assessment of PM Maliki's apparent embrace of Obama and his plan for a 16 month timetable to withdraw from Iraq. Perhaps PM Maliki is playing to internal politics, but it seems a dangerous game indeed. I doubt G.A. Khamenei has given up his aspirations of uniting the Shia of Iraq under the velyat e faqi.

3:08 PM, July 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said, Anonymous, but Jaguar b.p. is probably a pro-Hezbollah jihadi rather than a leftist.

3:57 PM, July 27, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here's a little bad news for jaguar: When Maliki and Obama talk about withdrawing troops, they always say combat troops. The troops who are there to rebuild the country, such as the Army Corps of Engineers, will remain for a long, long time. There will also be training teams to continue training the Iraq Security Forces for a long time to come. You will probably see a force no smaller than 50,000 there for decades.

Jaguar: Is that the best you can do? The US military and the ISF are stacking up tens of insurgent bodies daily and putting even more in jails and all you can produce is a wounding? Yeah, it's pretty much over for the insurgency. Loved the production values, though. The title sequences were impressive and while I couldn't understand what they were singing, I liked the music as well.

5:17 AM, July 28, 2008

Blogger Don Cox said...

I still think people are being grossly over optimistic. To me, the "end of the war" means that nobody is getting killed. So long as there are terror attacks like the ones today, the war is still on. I think it will run for several years yet - there are plenty of training camps for terrorists in Iran, Pakistan, Somalia, etc.

5:58 AM, July 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don Cox,

Your definition applies to traditional wars where uniformed armies met on a battlefield. It does not apply to insurgencies, which can go on for years and years.

My definition of the "end of the war" is this: Iraq is a democracy that is stable enough to secure itself, is on the road to economic prosperity and can be a partner in the war on terror. I would say that if conditions continue to improve at the pace they have been, we could be there in two more years.

The only way for there to be no attacks like the ones you mentioned is for Iraq to go back to being a police state as under Saddam. Case in point: 9/11.

7:32 AM, July 28, 2008

Blogger fooburger said...

I think Cox' point is valid. We're still losing a soldier every other day, mostly to hostile fire. That's too much for me to call victory, even though it's a fantastic trend.
Obviously any hostile deaths of our soldiers are 'unacceptable', but so long as the perpetrators of these attacks are being tracked to their sources and eliminated, that's the best we can do.
I think there will be a turn of events, when Iraqi society is calm enough that regular police forces can clamp down on these attacks. Right now, there are *still* too many attacks for a police force to focus on apprehending these people.
It's still our job to make war (counterinsurgency) to stifle these attacks.
We've made great strides, and I think this final corner will be turned, but I also do not think we're in the final straight yet.
There's still too much violence in the air to have confidence that police forces will be able to maintain the peace themselves.

10:33 AM, July 28, 2008

Blogger bg said...


spin your chioce..


10:37 AM, July 28, 2008

Blogger bg said...


You may want to sit down for this one...


10:41 AM, July 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Qaeda in Iraq is now using female suicide bombers because they more easily escape detection.

It will be interesting to see if Najaf is forced to ban burkas!

What are the chances, d'ya reckon, Nibras?

1:07 PM, July 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think Cox' point is valid. We're still losing a soldier every other day, mostly to hostile fire.

Wrong. According to ICasualties, since June 26, 2008, FOUR U.S. military personnel have died due to hostile action, two from IEDs. That's four in thirty days, about one a week.

Amazingly, the AP article got that right:

Statistics show violence at a four-year low. The monthly American death toll appears to be at its lowest of the war — four killed in action so far this month as of Friday, compared with 66 in July a year ago. From a daily average of 160 insurgent attacks in July 2007, the average has plummeted to about two dozen a day this month. On Wednesday the nationwide total was 13.

For a humorous take on this topic, check out my blog entry from today:

Arctic Chill Slams Netherworld.


1:20 PM, July 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


While I am certainly pleased by the developments on the ground and am impressed by your prescience, it seems to me there is one reason only that the media narrative has changed... and it has little to do with events in Iraq.

In order for Obama's call for troop withdrawals to be given credence, the media has changed its tune. I believe this is the only reason. The timing is key. When Maliki appeared to approve Obama's timetable, these positive reports started hitting the newstands. Was the war suddenly won just in the past two weeks? Come now.

6:33 PM, July 28, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Daughters Of Iraq can search women without anyone being offended.

They are taking the lead on this matter

12:42 PM, July 29, 2008

Blogger bg said...


via GP

Iraqi Official: Obama Believes This is Bush's War &
Must End in Lack of Success If Not Actual Defeat


[Amir Taheri at The New York Post reported:

"He looked like a man in a hurry," a source close to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al- Maliki said last week. "He was not interested in what we had to say."

Still, many Iraqis liked Obama's claim that the improved situation in Iraq owed to Iraqi efforts rather than the Gen. David Petraeus- led surge. In public and private comments, Obama tried to give the impression that the Iraqis would've achieved the same results even without the greater resources America has poured into the country since 2007.

In private, though, Iraqi officials admit that Obama's analysis is "way off the mark." Without the surge, the Sunni tribes wouldn't have switched sides to help flush out al Qaeda. And the strong US military presence enabled the new Iraqi army to defeat Iran- backed Shiite militias in Basra and Baghdad.

Nevertheless, in public at least, no Iraqi politician wants to appear more appreciative of American sacrifices than the man who may become the next US president.

Iraqis were most surprised by Obama's apparent readiness to throw away all the gains made in Iraq simply to prove that he'd been right in opposing the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. "He gave us the impression that the last thing he wanted was for Iraq to look anything like a success for the United States," a senior Iraqi official told me. "As far as he is concerned, this is Bush's war and must end in lack of success, if not actual defeat."

Even so, Obama knows that most Americans believe they're still at war with an enemy prepared to use terror against them. So he can't do what his antiwar base wants - declare an end to the War on Terror and the start of a period of love and peace in which "citizens of the world" build bridges between civilizations.

Having announced his strategy before embarking on his "listening tour," he couldn't be expected to change his mind simply because facts on the ground offered a different picture.

In Paris, a friendly reporter asked the Illinois senator if there was anything that he'd heard or seen during his visit that might persuade him to alter any aspect of his polices. Obama's answer was clear: no.]


1:45 PM, July 29, 2008

Blogger bg said...


HT : P2 via ITM

What Bush And Batman Have In Common

Wall Street Jounral
July 25, 2008; Page A15

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That’s not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a “W.”

There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society — in which people sometimes make the wrong choices — and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.

“The Dark Knight,” then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year’s “300,” “The Dark Knight” is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.

Conversely, time after time, left-wing films about the war on terror — films like “In The Valley of Elah,” “Rendition” and “Redacted” — which preach moral equivalence and advocate surrender, that disrespect the military and their mission, that seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism, have bombed more spectacularly than Operation Shock and Awe.

Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense — values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right — only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like “300,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Narnia,” “Spiderman 3″ and now “The Dark Knight”?

The moment filmmakers take on the problem of Islamic terrorism in realistic films, suddenly those values vanish. The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us. Why should this be?

The answers to these questions seem to me to be embedded in the story of “The Dark Knight” itself: Doing what’s right is hard, and speaking the truth is dangerous. Many have been abhorred for it, some killed, one crucified.

Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They’re wrong, of course, even on their own terms.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don’t always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.

The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them — when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.

When heroes arise who take on those difficult duties themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman’s Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, “He has to run away — because we have to chase him.”

That’s real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised — then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.

Perhaps that’s when Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day.

Mr. Klavan has won two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. His new novel, “Empire of Lies” (An Otto Penzler Book, Harcourt), is about an ordinary man confronting the war on terror.



3:41 PM, July 29, 2008

Blogger Don Cox said...

"According to ICasualties, since June 26, 2008, FOUR U.S. military personnel have died due to hostile action" _____ It is great to see the number of coalition casualties going down. But IMO "the end of the war" means the end of Iraqi casualties - and a flood of returning refugees. The sooner this happens, the better, but I can't see it being in less than five years. Both Al Qaeda and the Iranian regime remain active and dangerous and will come back into Iraq if given the slightest opportunity.

1:58 AM, July 30, 2008

Blogger Iraqi Mojo said...

'But IMO "the end of the war" means the end of Iraqi casualties - and a flood of returning refugees.'

Thank you, Don!

6:07 AM, August 03, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Not sure where you are these days, but any insight into the probable outcome of Kirkuk dealings would be appreciated!

11:42 AM, August 03, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to understand...

A year ago it was politically advantageous for the Democrats to declare the war lost: their acolytes in the media sang the chorus they wrote for them. Today the Democrats so sure of winning in November that they don't think they need to lie about it anymore; they just don't care. In fact it works to their advantage because they plan on pulling the day after Obama takes the oath of office. Telling everyone the war is "won" now sets the stage for that betrayal in 2009. When the Iranian-backed insurgency surges after the US has bugged out the media will studiously ignore it as long as possible, finally declaring it as proof we should never have invaded in the first place; the collapse of the Maliki government 3-4 years down the road will entirely be "Bush's fault" even though he'll have been out of office for years.

11:08 AM, August 06, 2008

Blogger bg said...


good news for all!! :)

Moqtada Packs It In


[Now this: Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr plans to announce Friday that he will disarm his Mahdi Army, which was raining mortars on Baghdad's Green Zone as recently as April. Coupled with the near-total defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, this means the U.S. no longer faces any significant organized military foe in the country. It also marks a major setback for Iran, which had used the Mahdi Army as one of its primary vehicles for extending its influence in Iraq.]

[Mr. Maliki had little choice but to make political alliances with Shiite sectarians and seek good relations with Iran, but he has also proven to be more than a sectarian politician and no Iranian pawn. Instead, he has turned out to be a muscular Iraqi nationalist, a stance that enjoys far greater popular support than many Western "experts" on Iraq believed possible. (Remember Senator Joe Biden and others who advised only last year that Iraq had to be divided into three parts?) It's thus no surprise that the more Mr. Sadr aligned himself with Tehran, the faster his popularity declined.]


3:53 PM, August 06, 2008

Blogger bg said...


well stated Orion @ 11:08 AM..


3:54 PM, August 06, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...


Darn it all, the failure of the Kirkuk legislation to pass has given rise to a number of reports suggesting that everything is still going to fall down around our ears. I'm talking about analysis like this:


Please, Nibras! I can't seem to find the specifics of the arrangement being hashed out and know practically nothing about the personalities involved! In your estimation, what is the likely course of events?

12:02 PM, August 07, 2008

Blogger bg said...


via ITM


1:43 PM, August 07, 2008

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11:03 PM, August 08, 2008

Blogger Brian H said...

"what a stable, democratic and wealthy Iraq may portend for the future of the region" -- undoubtedly more chaos and upset and war, because Arabs (and Persians and ...) are Not Ready For Democracy And Freedom, and need a few more decades or centuries of sautéing in oil to be suitably softened up.

9:37 AM, August 23, 2008

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1:21 AM, August 28, 2008

Blogger Sam G. Stolzoff said...

When the mainstream press says something about Iraq, best to asess it in the other direction. Now is the most dangerous time, as in chess, when you have your opponent backed into a corner, and you are not expecting to lose, but you do. Continued vigilance and unbending will, insha' allah.

7:52 PM, August 29, 2008

Blogger fooburger said...

re: Jeffrey


I think Cox' point is valid. We're still losing a soldier every other day, mostly to hostile fire.

Wrong. According to ICasualties, since June 26, 2008, FOUR U.S. military personnel have died due to hostile action, two from IEDs. That's four in thirty days, about one a week.

Late late late in responding, sure, but better late than never.
Your point is disingenuous. While the preceding 30 days to this particular post certainly had a low hostile fire casualty rate, the preceding oh... *many months* were definitely on the order of one death due to hostility per day (far more so than your vaunted one-per-week).
You just as wrongly could have said: "Nobody died yesterday... so therefor we have a rate of zero per day."... with a 100% error rate.

This reminds me of some lefty claiming that in the last 60 years, dems in the white house were better for the economy... and that because it was 60 individual years, that's a statistical basis of 60, providing a 1/sqrt(60) error margin. Umm... sure.. there may have been 60 years.. but there were only some 9 Presidents in that time, meaning that the error margin was 1/sqrt(9), not 1/sqrt(60)... which is quite different. Statistics should not be used by the untrained or those trained yet stymied by laziness or disingenuity.

I'm glad this whole thing about losing soldiers in Iraq has become less of a problem lately.


10:52 PM, April 02, 2009

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