Coalition Forces Are Making Progress On The Ground In Iraq With More Tips And Gains Against Al Qaeda, While The Iraqi Government Passed Over 50 Pieces Of Legislation Under Difficult Circumstances.
Security Is Improving In Iraq . U.S. and Iraqi forces have:
· Seen a substantial drop in sectarian murders and attacks in Baghdad since January.
· Seized more weapons caches in the first six months of 2007 than in all of 2006. (Rear Adm. Mark Fox, Press Briefing, 7/30/07)
· Received 23,000 tips in June, four times the monthly average at that time last year. (Rear Adm. Mark Fox, Press Briefing, 7/30/07)
· Seen signs of life normalcy in Iraqi neighborhoods and communities like Haifa Street – vibrant markets, more economic activity and increased security. (Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, Press Conference with U.S. Embassy Baghdad, 8/1/07)
Coalition Forces Have Done Enormous Damage To Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda in Iraq has been dislodged from its former stronghold of Ramadi and is finding that its methods and goals are creating a backlash among Iraqis.
· On August 2, Coalition Forces killed senior al Qaeda terrorist leader Haythem Sabah al-Badri east of Samarra . (Rear Adm. Mark Fox, Press Briefing, 8/5/07)
o Badri was al Qaeda’s emir of Greater Samarra and is believed to be the mastermind behind the 2006 Samarra mosque bombing, and to have been involved in the bombings of the Kirkuk courthouse on June 23, 2006, and the attack on a Samarra checkpoint that killed 29 Iraqi soldiers on August 28, 2006.
· In Mosul , Iraqi Army soldiers recently killed the al Qaeda emir of Mosul known as ‘ Safi ’ and two other members of al Qaeda Iraq . (Rear Adm. Mark Fox, Press Briefing, 8/5/07)
· Among the many terrorists Coalition forces captured or killed in May and June were 26 al Qaeda leaders. (Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, Press Briefing, 7/11/07)
o 11 of those captured or killed were city or local al Qaeda leaders; 7 were facilitators who smuggled foreigners, weapons, and money into Iraq ; 5 were cell leaders who commanded terrorist units that worked for emirs; 3 were vehicle-borne IED network leaders
In Ramadi, A Former Al Qaeda Stronghold, The 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division Has Worked With Iraqis To Achieve Successes In The Anbar Province . (Col. John Charlton, Press Briefing, 8/3/07)
· Attacks per day have dropped from between 30-35 in February to one or less.
· Approximately 6,000 U.S. forces are partnered with more than 12,000 Iraqi security forces.
· Approximately 7,400 police officers are operating in more than 30 police stations and substations throughout the area compared to less than 200 operating in two police stations a year ago.
· More than 1,200 Iraqi army recruits enlisted over three days in late March.
· The Coalition has provided more than $5.5 million in aid to day labor programs and employed more than 18,000 Iraqis, all in about three or four months.
· The Coalition has joined efforts with organizations like the Iraqi-American Chamber of Commerce & Industry to help revitalize small businesses in Ramadi.
o Company commanders went throughout every neighborhood and collected over 500 assessments of all small businesses in Ramadi, to help jumpstart the small business grant program.
Other Reports From Elsewhere In Iraq Are Positive. For example, the Provincial Reconstruction Team in al Qaim – located northwest of Baghdad near the Syrian border – is highlighting progress such as:
· A “spectacular” drop in insurgent activity over the last two years.
· Local tribes now providing tips to coalition forces, joining police, and staffing municipal offices.
The Iraqi Parliament Recently Finished A Busy Session Under Difficult Circumstances.
· Parliament passed more than 50 pieces of legislation in their most recent session, including laws creating an electoral commission, military courts, a $41 billion budget, and laws allowing formation of larger federal regions and easing rules for investment in production of gasoline and diesel fuel. (Letter from Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Jeffrey T. Bergner to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, 7/26/07)
· Political leaders of all the major blocs in Iraq ’s Parliament are staying in Baghdad throughout August to continue negotiations.
Oil Money Is Being Distributed To The Iraq People Even Though The Proposed Oil Law Is Still Being Negotiated.
· $2.116 billion in oil money has been allocated for FY07.
· $848 million in oil money has been obliged.
Fair but Unbalanced: How the media promote false pessimism about the economy. (via Larwyn)
After all, the economy is closing in on six straight years of growth and the stock market is up more than 80% since its bottom in October 2002. It is true that the number of shares sold short on the Nasdaq rose to a record of 9.3 billion last week, but this only equals the number of shares that change hands on the Nasdaq (on average) every 4.9 days. There are way more bulls than bears. It’s not a 50/50 world.
Via Memeorandum, CAIR Identified by the FBI as part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee
In testimony Tuesday, FBI Agent Lara Burns reported before the jury in the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial that the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) was listed as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, right alongside HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), and the United Association for Studies and Research (UASR). Agent Burns further testified that CAIR received money from HLF – a claim that Nihad Awad blatantly denied in a congressional testimony in September of 2003.
Burns also said that both Omar Ahmed and Nihad Awad, CAIR co-founders who today serve as CAIR’s chairman emeritus and executive director, respectively, were also listed as individual members the Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee in America.
In a lighter vein,
As a Coach stock holder, I’m sorry to hear that The Anchoress doesn’t like Coach handbags. (h/t Larwyn)