Saturday, May 28, 2005

Iraq stands up

So it appears that Iraq is going to undertake a large security operation starting in a few days time. While I wonder why they announced it so early, I must say that I am very happy to see Iraqi police and army beginning to take steps to handle their own security. This is a major step. It is like someone finally waking up after a very long coma and trying to find their feet after not having used them for so long.

There is also some major symbolic significance to it all. Iraq's current interior and defense ministers are no longer appointees of a government of American appointees. They are appointed by a government that was proudly voted in by Iraqis themselves. Yes, it is only an interim government, a continental congress of sorts, but it is their government and they seem to have been proud of electing it. The primary job of this interim government is to draw a constitution and hold new elections for a permanent government. A second job is to begin to put an Iraqi face on the security situation.

Now that these organs are headed by people chosen by an elected government, a major psychological hurdle has been crossed. Previously, attacks on the army and police were seen as attacks on a government appointed by the occupation. This is no longer the case. Attacks on the police force and army are now attacks on a government that the Iraqis themselves installed. An attack on the police is in a way an attack on each Iraqi that participated. Continued attacks on these institutions of government stand a greater chance of alienating the insurgency than it does gaining support for it. That is a significant change. A sea change, if you will.

Now that the Iraqi forces have announced that they are going to take the initiative in Baghdad, I believe we are seeing the beginning of the end for the insurgency. June is going to be a crucial turning point. Godspeed to the Iraqi people.

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