« Bloodbath Coming at the New York Times | Main | McCain Conference Call »
April 25, 2008

Another Basra-Comes-Back-To-Life Report

The "Men in Black" take to the shadows:

Young women are daring to wear jeans, soldiers listen to pop music on their mobile phones and bands are performing at wedding parties again.

All across Iraq’s second city life is improving, a month after Iraqi troops began a surprise crackdown on the black-clad gangs who were allowed to flourish under the British military. The gunmen’s reign had enforced a strict set of religious codes.

Yet after three years of being terrified of kidnap, rape and murder – a fate that befell scores of other women – Nadyia Ahmed, 22, is among those enjoying a sense of normality, happy for the first time to attend her science course at Basra University. “I now have the university life that I heard of at high school before the war and always dreamt about,” she told The Times. “It was a nightmare because of these militiamen. I only attended class three days a week but now I look forward to going every day.”

She also no longer has to wear a headscarf. Under the strict Islamic rules imposed by the militias, women had to cover their hair, could not wear jeans or bright clothes and were strictly forbidden from sitting next to male colleagues on pain of death.

“All these men in black [who imposed the laws] just vanished from the university after this operation,” said Ms Ahmed. “Things have completely changed over the past week.”

In a sign of the good mood, celebratory gunfire erupted around Basra two nights ago and text messages were pinged from one mobile phone to another after an alleged senior militia leader was arrested.

Raids are continuing in a few remaining strongholds but the Iraqi commander in charge of the unprecedented operation is confident that his forces will soon achieve something that the British military could not – a city free from rogue gunmen.

...

For the first time in four years local residents have been emboldened to stand up to the militants and are turning in caches of weapons. Army checkpoints have been erected across Basra and traffic police are also out in force.

...

The contrast could not be more stark with the last time The Times visited Basra in December, when intimidation was rife.

Here's a dose of hopefulness: I don't want to suggest Bush and the British planned that their initial incompetencies would bear fruit down the road.

However, sometimes a mistake turns out to have a benefit. Due to the Coalition's inability to control large parts of Iraq, many Iraqis have gotten a taste of what life is like under Al Qaeda or, in Basra, under Iranian/Taliban-style religious rule. They have not found this experience to have been a pleasant one, and they will likely not be forgetting what it's like when the "Men in Black" take over.

More at Hot Air, especially on the need to follow up these gains with positive improvements: "You can't eat or drink peace."


digg this
posted by Ace at 10:01 AM

| Access Comments




Recent Comments
Hadrian the Seventh: " [i] Wow. Listening to the 1805 version of Beetho ..."

bluebell ~ get cooking, Horde!: "Aw, Salty - how nice! I get it about the language ..."

Cosmic Charlie: "Is Everyrhing Bach done yet? ..."

Side draft: "Someone upthread said that President Trump probabl ..."

Fritz: "hmm.  Why does the NFL continue to injure tho ..."

filbert: "[i] Someone upthread said that President Trump pro ..."

Your Decidedly Devious Uncle Palpatine, Booking Agent, Aero Pinochet: "302. How do you think she got outta the pen so fas ..."

ScoggDog: "[i]Pretty unbelievable stuff and if you can stomac ..."

Miklos Molnar, on the 49 meter band: "If that's the case we owe you 37 cents. Posted ..."

garrett: "The Rock stars in TRIPLE EXTANT ..."

Bruce: "Funny. they only fit a '49 Hudson Commodore. Post ..."

andycanuck: "I like andouille sausage in jambalaya though I hav ..."

Recent Entries
Search


MuNuvians
Polls! Polls! Polls!
Frequently Asked Questions
The (Almost) Complete Paul Anka Integrity Kick
Top Top Tens
Greatest Hitjobs

The Ace of Spades HQ Sex-for-Money Skankathon
A D&D Guide to the Democratic Candidates
Margaret Cho: Just Not Funny
More Margaret Cho Abuse
Margaret Cho: Still Not Funny
Iraqi Prisoner Claims He Was Raped... By Woman
Wonkette Announces "Morning Zoo" Format
John Kerry's "Plan" Causes Surrender of Moqtada al-Sadr's Militia
World Muslim Leaders Apologize for Nick Berg's Beheading
Michael Moore Goes on Lunchtime Manhattan Death-Spree
Milestone: Oliver Willis Posts 400th "Fake News Article" Referencing Britney Spears
Liberal Economists Rue a "New Decade of Greed"
Artificial Insouciance: Maureen Dowd's Word Processor Revolts Against Her Numbing Imbecility
Intelligence Officials Eye Blogs for Tips
They Done Found Us Out, Cletus: Intrepid Internet Detective Figures Out Our Master Plan
Shock: Josh Marshall Almost Mentions Sarin Discovery in Iraq
Leather-Clad Biker Freaks Terrorize Australian Town
When Clinton Was President, Torture Was Cool
What Wonkette Means When She Explains What Tina Brown Means
Wonkette's Stand-Up Act
Wankette HQ Gay-Rumors Du Jour
Here's What's Bugging Me: Goose and Slider
My Own Micah Wright Style Confession of Dishonesty
Outraged "Conservatives" React to the FMA
An On-Line Impression of Dennis Miller Having Sex with a Kodiak Bear
The Story the Rightwing Media Refuses to Report!
Our Lunch with David "Glengarry Glen Ross" Mamet
The House of Love: Paul Krugman
A Michael Moore Mystery (TM)
The Dowd-O-Matic!
Liberal Consistency and Other Myths
Kepler's Laws of Liberal Media Bias
John Kerry-- The Splunge! Candidate
"Divisive" Politics & "Attacks on Patriotism" (very long)
The Donkey ("The Raven" parody)
News/Chat
Archives
Powered by
Movable Type 2.64