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Ear to the Ground

Tentative Security Gains in Baghdad?

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Posted on Nov 19, 2007

The New York Times reports that in certain areas of Baghdad, such as the Dora neighborhood in the south of the city, residents are cautiously returning to their homes and attempting to resume some semblance of normal life by taking advantage of a recent lull in violence.  How long it will last, however, remains to be seen.


The New York Times:

The security improvements in most neighborhoods are real. Days now pass without a car bomb, after a high of 44 in the city in February. The number of bodies appearing on Baghdad’s streets has plummeted to about 5 a day, from as many as 35 eight months ago, and suicide bombings across Iraq fell to 16 in October, half the number of last summer and down sharply from a recent peak of 59 in March, the American military says.

As a result, for the first time in nearly two years, people are moving with freedom around much of this city. In more than 50 interviews across Baghdad, it became clear that while there were still no-go zones, more Iraqis now drive between Sunni and Shiite areas for work, shopping or school, a few even after dark. In the most stable neighborhoods of Baghdad, some secular women are also dressing as they wish. Wedding bands are playing in public again, and at a handful of once shuttered liquor stores customers now line up outside in a collective rebuke to religious vigilantes from the Shiite Mahdi Army.

Iraqis are clearly surprised and relieved to see commerce and movement finally increase, five months after an extra 30,000 American troops arrived in the country. But the depth and sustainability of the changes remain open to question.

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By 1drees, November 21, 2007 at 1:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In CASE some of you missed it…........ but it has been a steady routine that certain places were “Cleared of insurgents” TWICE or Conquered TWICE and on the record TWICE. AND then there were even certain people that were “KILLED” TWICE. I DONT REALLY UNDERSTAND HOW YOU CAN KILL A GUY IN FEB AND THEN KILL HIM AGAIN IN JULY, I MEAN SAME NAME, SAME RANK AND EVERY THING BUT TWO DEATHS.

WISH I COULD DIE TWICE .....

After all the HAPHAZARD INFO THAT’s BEEN COMMING OUT OF US SOURCES I DONT REALLY PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT THE USA SAYS COZ ITS BASICALLY ALL HOGWASH RELEASED AS PER the present day NEED OF THE PRESENT GOVT.

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By Douglas Chalmers, November 20, 2007 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

Which should Americans feel proud of ? That the surge might have reduced the number of deaths, etc (unlikely) - or that they have already managed to kill a million and make another four million homeless???

One day, foreigners who “served” in their militaries in Iraq will return as tourists. As with Vietnam, they will then wonder what it was all really for. Some will continue to make excuses.

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By jkoch, November 20, 2007 at 8:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Damien Cave, former Rotten Tomatoes film reviewer, now reports from Baghdad, applying a film world knack for giving a quick picture to audiences that crave heroes, villains, and a happy ending.

Cave does not camp out in the Red Zone, speaks no Arabic, and crafts out stories based more on what will sell in Peoria than what one would learn by sampling witnesses at random.  The demographic displacements in Iraq continue.  The other “statistics” are rubber.  What we do not read is any hard estimates of the monthly deaths, maimings, and (rapicly depreciating!) dollars it costs to keep the fragile stasis from collapsing between now and January, 2009.  By then, when it takes two dollars to buy a euro and the Chinese tire of financing our escapades at reduced return, America will either wake from its stupor or (one fears) seek another war to alleviate tensions.  Cave will be there to write the next war fiction screenplay.

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