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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Iraq Update - 2007, Sept 7

Iraq has improved in many areas in the last couple months. While the Federal government is still dragging and has some problems, almost all other areas of concern are improving. The Iraqi Army up to 4-6 months ago was very ineffective. That has changed.

The Iraqi Army now often leads the way with support and direction and ongoing in the field training of the Troops to teach the Iraqi Army the new Counter Insurgency Methods. The Iraqi army was very sectarian, but that has changed. Now it is much more like the Iraqi soccer team with Shiite, Sunni, Kurds, and even Yezidi all working together. Also now the first thing we do after we secure a town is to get the local government, water, food, and other basics working in a good respectful way.

The Iraqi Police still are having a lot of problems. Most Iraqis have little or no trust in the Police. The Iraqi police have been cited as corrupt and unreliable. Many top security officers have been fired in the past month to months by the Iraqi government. Some have said they need to scrap the current police force and start over. I however disagree. I have seen some improvements in the Police force, yet admit it does need work. I think we need to retrain, work with, and oversee/monitor each police post. I am sure that many posts are working better in the more secure areas. Many towns, cities, and areas of cities still need to be cleared of terrorists, insurgents, and militant groups.

Overall, civilian fatality rates are down perhaps one third since late 2006. There are also signs that roughly six of Iraq’s 18 provinces are making significant economic and security gains, up from three a year ago. The story in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province is by now well known: attacks in the city of Ramadi are down 90 percent, and the economy is recovering. But there is progress in several regions with more complex sectarian mixes as well.

As the Iraqi Army becomes stronger and better trained the number of US soldiers will go down.