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June 23, 2008

Another Milestone In Iraq…US To Handover Anbar Province To Iraqi Security Forces.

Some call it a victory, others ignore it entirely because it doesn’t fit The Narrative. Either way, it's a big deal.

"The handover of Anbar is expected to take place in the next 10 days," Lieutenant David Russell told AFP, declining to provide an exact date.

Anbar would be the tenth of Iraq's 18 provinces to be handed back to Iraqi forces by the US-led coalition amid a push to transfer security control of the entire country back to Baghdad.

Anbar province in western Iraq, the country's largest, was the epicentre of a brutal Sunni Arab-led fight against the US military after the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003.
In the early years of the insurgency, US forces fought raging battles in the province, especially in the capital Ramadi and the nearby city of Fallujah.

Just 20 months ago, people were writing Anbar off as lost.

This victory didn’t come cheap or easy. A lot of good men and women worked very hard to make it happen and many did not live to see this day.

For a great rundown on how we’ve come to this point, check out John Matel's blog. Matel is the head of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in Anbar and he's seen the changes there first hand.

The U.S., CF and Iraqi accomplishment is astonishing, especially when you consider the near-death experiences of 2006. The Middle East is more secure w/o the murderous Saddam Hussein in power and it is immensely better off than it would have been had we failed in 2006. I believe this will be seen by future historians as a paradigm shifting event. For awhile many people feared that the initiative had passed to the bad guys or at least to the forces of chaos. The apparent disintegration of our position in 2005/6 seemed to confirm that impression. It was never as bad as it seemed or as bad as it was portrayed in the media, but the trend was unmistakable.

Today we have come out of the darkness into a new morning. It is still a little too dark to see clearly all the features and it is still full of challenge and fraught with dangers but also full of opportunities. For the last generation and arguably since the end of World War I or the Sykes-Picot accord, this region has been unstable and dangerous. Maybe we can help make the future better than the past.

You might remember Matel from last year’s dust up when the Department of State was having a tough time getting volunteers to serve in Iraq. While some were saying going to Iraq was akin to a death sentence, Matel was telling his colleagues to suck it up and get to work. Read his whole post (and blog archives) for a first hand perspective on how victory was achieved.

(h/t The Campaign Spot for the original AFP story)


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posted by DrewM. at 02:09 PM

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