Iraqi forces officially assumed control of Baghdad and other cites across the country early Tuesday, following the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from urban areas. Celebrations in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, include music, dance and poetry.
……Interior Minister Jawad Boulani told journalists the U.S. withdrawal is almost complete and Iraqi forces are capable of maintaining order across the country.
He says he believes Iraq’s security situation is under control. “I do not think we need to declare a curfew,” he insisted.
Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf, operations director for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, told al-Iraqia TV that all police and army units have been deployed across the country and that scheduled leaves have been canceled.
General Ray Odierno, who commands U.S. forces in Iraq, told Fox TV on Sunday the United States has already completed the handover of Iraqi cities to the Iraqi government.
“We have already met the deadline. We have already moved out of the cities. We have solely been doing it over the last eight months and the final units have moved out of the cities over the last several weeks,” Odierno said.
Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman General Mohammed al-Askeri listed all the areas where army forces have taken control. He also expressed confidence in the army’s ability to maintain order.
A young policeman in Diyala province told al-Rifidain TV he thinks his men are “ready to assume their responsibilities” and the Iraqi people “want the army to be united and for politicians not to interfere with the security situation.”
There have been a number of deadly bombings in Baghdad and Kirkuk in recent days. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki indicated several weeks ago that he thought insurgent groups would likely step up their attacks before the June 30th U.S. pullout.
He has repeatedly maintained that Iraq’s 750,000 member security forces are capable of maintaining order in the country, but urged Iraqi citizens to cooperate with the army and police by informing them of possible attacks.
At the insistence of the Iraqis, the Status of Forces Agreement concluded late last year between the Iraqi government and the Bush Administration required that U.S. troops be out of Iraq’s urban areas by June 30, 2009, and withdrawn from the country altogether by the end of 2011. Now, Iraqi citizens and the American forces hovering in the Iraq’s countryside are holding their breath for the first stage of testing Iraq’s ability to protect itself.
You can bet your ass the liberal media will spin this to say ‘Obama is keeping his word to withdraw troops’. They won’t emphasize the fact that George W. Bush and the Iraq government signed a SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) that proscribed the redeployment of troops no later than 30 June 2009.
There’s been an increase in bombings by pissed off, defeated al Qaeda remnants, but I think Iraq is ready to stand on its own and provide security for its people. The Iraqi police and military forces have been equipped and trained, and the Parliament is stable.
As an Iraq war vet, I’m glad we eliminated a megalomaniac and the subsequent terrorist threat from their country. The Iraqis now have a chance to get their shit together and build on the freedom we fought for. As for Maliki’s comments on “occupiers”: the Imperialist Japs, fascist Italians, and Nazi Germans didn’t like our “occupation” post WWII either. Tough shit. They made out pretty good. We rebuilt their countries, pumped in millions of dollars for their infrastractures, and their economies flourished thanks to GIs stationed there.
A while back I gave the definition of victory in Iraq:
If you need a definition of victory, here it is: It’s when we have crushed the Islamofascists to the point where they realize that messing with the “Great Satan” is far more costly than simply practicing their religion peacefully, without using Islam and bombs as instruments of terrorism. It’s when Iraq and Afghanistan develop stable infrastructures (executive, judicial, legislative, and military) that can stand on their own and protect themselves from the extremists who want to stop the progress of democracy, and (this is very important) when the 150+ major tribes and the close to 2000 smaller clans are able to live, work, and govern in a compromised co-existence. The first steps have already been taken. They have been given a chance to change the course of their lives from fear and oppression to opportunity, basic human rights, and a voice in their futures. They know sooner or later the Guidon will be passed to them.
The next major focus will be on Afghanistan, where remnants of the Taliban and Al Qaeda still hide in the mountain terrain. Pakistan and Waziristan are safe havens which also must be dealt with, not to mention Iran.
The Iraqis have been left with a winning hand. It’s theirs to fuck up or use wisely. The choice is now theirs.
4,200 Americans gave their lives to drive a malignant regime and Islamic thugs responsible for supporting terrorism, out of Iraq. I hope they build a nation worthy of their sacrifice.