Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Australian Prime Minister John Howard
denied claims that Iraq is a disaster:

"I think we impose unreasonable standards,"
Mr Howard told ABC radio. "I don't believe
the verdict on Iraq is by any means in,
and I don't accept that it's been a disaster."
He also pointed out that historical perspective
is important in regards to Iraq. For instance,
it took Australia years to embrace democracy.

In the Kurdish north, a Sufi festival is
larger this year because safety has increased:

The gathering has grown since last year, when
several hundred showed up—a sign that adherents
are less afraid of Islamic militants who have
harassed Sufis in the past because they consider
their practices heretical. "The growth has been
continual since the acts of violence have eased,"
Sheik Qader Kakhama al-Kasnazani, the spiritual
leader of the Kasnazaniyah Sufi order, said.

Poland’s defense minister reports that we have
extended their commitment there this year, noting
that we see our role there as a success—The Polish
Army has handed over security for our area of
responsibility to the 8th Iraqi Division.

The Germans are coming! The Germans are coming!

In Baghdad, Gunter Voelker has opened a German
restaurant. He seems to have an optimistic view
of the place: He even says the German foreign
ministry's warnings for German citizens to stay
out of Iraq were "grossly exaggerated." Voelker,
who served in the Balkans and Afghanistan, calls
parts of Berlin more dangerous than Iraq.

Iraq’s parliament is expected to pass a new foreign
investment law in the next two months that will
allow the country to boost oil exports two million
barels a day:

The Arab League will be reopening an office in Iraq
for the first time since the invasion.

With the help of the World Bank and USAID, Iraq
is creating a new Social Safety Net:

At the latest meeting of the Iraqi Strategic Review
Board (ISRB), approval was given to proceed with
a World Bank Social Protection Project to allocate
funds for further improvements to the country's
Social Safety Net and pension reform programs.

Near Kirkuk, a sewing shop opened its doors
with the help of USAID:

Salah, an employee of the sewing shop, has had
a disability since birth and has had to depend
entirely upon his family for support. "I applied
for hundreds of jobs," he explained, "but no one
would hire me until now." With his new income,
Salah’s family now depends upon him. The shop
employs 35 widows and disabled people, and provides
training programs in tailoring and dress making.

Turkey’s Minister of State said that his country
will reopen trade with Iraq for the first time
since the invasion.

The Army Corp of Engineers helped with renovations
to an all-girl school near Camp Taji. Local leaders
expressed their thanks for the help they received:
The school is especially crucial to the community
because it offers more than an initial start in the
educational careers of the students. “The school is
very important, because it is the only school that
serves the people in the area,” said Rushed, “and it
is a primary and intermediate school. We teach first
grade to ninth grade. I’m very happy for the project,
because it helps the students. The public is thankful
for the help of the Coalition Forces, who were a part
of this project.”

The economy in the Kurdish north is growing as
expatriates return from abroad to work in Iraq:

"Twenty years ago, people went to Europe, to the
United States, overseas," [Sher Mohammed] said at his
"Freedom Castle" mansion overlooking a small hill where
he once lived for months at a time in a cramped, dirty
cave, fighting Saddam Hussein's army and its chemical
weapons. "Now, in the three years since Saddam Hussein
fell, they are coming back and bringing their money."

Vietnam Veteran Michael Payne observed troop morale as
high after returning from Iraq. In addition, Payne said
the Iraqis he met were glad the U.S. was there: "I
found out what I already knew. I observed children and
people over there because the media is saying the Iraqi
people do not want us there," Payne said. "But the over-
whelming majority was more than friendly from their
hearts for the United States' soldiers being there.

Iraqi security forces continue to take the lead as
they demonstrate their capabilities through operations
and training:

Seven Iraqi Army brigades have already taken the lead
in their areas and four additional battalions are
preparing to assume the lead in their areas of
operation in the next two months. There are now 90,000
trained Iraqi police patrolling throughout the country.
The goal is to have 135,000 by the end of this year.

Tips from Iraqis continue to be important in the fight
against anti-Iraqi forces. This shows the resolve of
Iraqis to defeat those terrorizing them:

"We believe that the people of Iraq ... have grown
tired of the insurgency, have grown tired of these
casualties and indeed are going stop this cycle of
violence," said Maj. Gen. Lynch. Recent tips from
local Iraqis demonstrated their commitment to end
the insurgency and attacks from terrorists. Tip lines
have been set up in local and provincial Joint
Coordination Centers throughout northern Iraq to
enable citizens to inform authorities when they spot
weapons caches or see other terrorist activity. Tips
have led to dozens of terrorists detained, weapons
caches seized and plots disrupted.

Frontline Breakthroughs (
May 01, 2006, 6:25 a.m.
“More good news from Iraq.”
By Bill Crawford

Marine Corps Community for USMC Veterans
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