January 18, 2008

The Surge Has Worked

The military is reporting that 75% of Baghdad neighborhoods are now secure. Yay!

But wait, what's that you say? Did you forget that the news for the last two years has been filled with stories of Baghdad's Sunni population getting threatened out of their homes? Oh. Oh, right.

May, 2006:

The state of Iraq now resembles Bosnia at the height of the fighting in the 1990s when each community fled to places where its members were a majority and were able to defend themselves. "Be gone by evening prayers or we will kill you," warned one of four men who called at the house of Leila Mohammed, a pregnant mother of three children in the city of Baquba, in Diyala province north-east of Baghdad. He offered chocolate to one of her children to try to find out the names of the men in the family.

... The same pattern of intimidation, flight and death is being repeated in mixed provinces all over Iraq. By now Iraqis do not have to be reminded of the consequences of ignoring threats.

In Baquba, with a population of 350,000, gunmen last week ordered people off a bus, separated the men from the women and shot dead 11 of them. Not far away police found the mutilated body of a kidnapped six-year-old boy for whom a ransom had already been paid. ...

December, 2006:

Lt. Sam Cartee doubts the Sunni families barricading themselves in his sector can hold out much longer. Shi'ite militants thought to be from the Mahdi Army have mounted an aggressive campaign since this summer to clear Sunnis from the northern end of Ghazaliya, a formerly posh neighborhood in western Baghdad. The cleansing push has moved steadily southward, gaining ground house by house, day by day. Cartee says Mahdi Army fighters typically give Sunni families they threaten in Ghazaliya just 24 hours to leave their homes, which are then handed to Shi'ite families. Anyone who defies the deadline risks death. Few do, allowing the Mahdi Army to flip up to five houses a day. Many of the Sunni families forced from their homes have now gathered in an enclave in central Ghazaliya under the protection of a local sheik named Hamed Ne'ma Taher al-Obaydy, who has turned his block into an Alamo of sorts. Cartee's unit hopes to stop the onslaught before Hamed's holdout of about 1,200 people falls, but lately hopes on both sides have dimmed. "They're not surrounded yet, but they will be soon," says Cartee, a reedy young officer from West Virginia who speaks with a slight southern accent. Cartee thinks Hamed's flock can last perhaps weeks, not months, before the Mahdi Army overruns them. "They don't have long." ...

September, 2007, emphasis mine:

... The National Intelligence Estimate confirmed that where some “conflict levels have diminished,” it was due to ethnic cleansing. The new report by an independent 20-member military commission headed by Gen. James Jones puts this reality in a stark visual presentation. See the chart below (from p. 34 of the Jones report)

... The map above demonstrates that Shias have been gradually taking over all of Baghdad (noted by the green mass that now covers much of the city), wiping out Sunni communities that stood in their path. Center for American Progress analyst Brian Katulis estimated that Baghdad, which once used to be a 65 percent Sunni majority city, is now 75 percent Shia. ...

Hey, wait a minute, that 75% figure looks awfully familiar, doesn't it now?

The region is broken, the US military is broken, I guess the lull you get after a nice round of ethnic cleansing sounds like good news now.

Posted by natasha at January 18, 2008 07:52 AM | Iraq | Technorati links |

Nice Catch! Bravo.

Posted by: Bpaul at January 18, 2008 11:46 AM

Very well done.

I wrote a post on the same general subject last month. I'm always on the lookout for posts like this, especially because so many media figures are sadly parroting much of the "good news," which is highly relative, at best. These distortions have already entered the presidential race, not only by the GOP but by Charles Gibson, so it's very important to knock 'em down.

Posted by: Batocchio at January 19, 2008 02:34 AM