Tuesday, March 22, 2005

So how are things going in Iraq these days? 

John Burns writes in this NYT article, There Are Signs the Tide May Be Turning on Iraq's Street of Fear, about how maybe, just maybe, things are going better on Haifa Street in Iraq.
But the article gives me a whistling-past-the-graveyard feeling. "In the first 18 months of the fighting, the insurgents mostly outmaneuvered the Americans along Haifa Street, showing they could carry the war to the capital's core with something approaching impunity. But American officers say there have been signs that the tide may be shifting. On Haifa Street, at least, insurgents are attacking in smaller numbers, and with less intensity; mortar attacks into the Green Zone have diminished sharply; major raids have uncovered large weapons caches; and some rebel leaders have been arrested or killed."
This is progress? An 18 month battle for a single Baghdad street, where things are so much better now because the insurgents are attacking "in smaller numbers"? Oh wow!
And then there is Today in Iraq's reference to this Asia Times article: Shocked and awed into 'freedom' , which provides an Iraqi-eyed view of daily life now in Iraq:
"Highways in and out of Baghdad are suicidal: the Americans can't control any of them. Anyone is a potential kidnapping target, either for the Sunni guerrilla or criminal gangs. Officials at the Oil and Electricity Ministries tell of at least one attack a day. Oil pipelines are attacked and distribution interrupted virtually every week. There's a prison camp syndrome: almost 10,000 Iraqis incarcerated at any one time, in three large jails, including the infamous Abu Ghraib. . . . The Sunni guerrillas register an average of scores of attacks a day, all over the country. Roadside and car bombs are still exploding in leveled Fallujah. The Baghdad regional police commander was assassinated on Saturday. The resistance has infiltrated virtually all government and police networks . . . "
So I don't think it matters very much whether things are going better for the Americans along Haifa Street.

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