Could this be the good news from Iraq that we've been waiting for? After five years of struggle, Iraq may be holding the line on two major fronts: al-Qaeda and its finances. The positive news is buoyed this morning by the report that Iraq may agree to a timetable for US withdrawal.
Here's what's happening: American and Iraqi troops appear to be in the midst of driving al-Qaeda from their last stronghold in Northern Iraq in what's being called, "one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror." Operation Lion's Roar (possibly the best title ever) combined Iraqi and US forces to capture more than 1,000 suspects. It was thought that nearly 1,200 al-Qaeda soldiers remained in a final stand in the northern city of Mosul, down from a previous force of nearly 12,000 in May.
Though it might be premature to call a victory over the Sunni-led terrorist group, they are confident through the mission that al-Qaeda has now been forced to operate in the desolate and remote regions of the Iraq countryside, and the reduced violence has led some to be comfortable enough to spend time outside, like this tike at an amusement park in Baghdad. Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki announced over the weekend that his government has "defeated" terrorism.
To see how Iraq's piggy bank is about to get some relief as well, read more.
Economically, Iraq can breathe a sigh of relief as the United Arab Emirate has agreed to forgive the $4 billion in debt owed to them. This may be the first in a series of warming trends among Sunni controlled Middle Eastern states to welcome their Shiite-controlled neighbor.
Since the invasion and occupation of Iraq by US-led troops and the following take-over by a Shiite controlled government, many Sunni nations were suspicious of the Al-Maliki government. Compounded by the continual bombing, kidnapping, and killing of diplomats, forced many embassies in the nation to close. However, with the decline of violence, President Al-Maliki has reprimanded his Arab “brothers” for being so slow to return. He said he found it “difficult to explain why diplomatic exchange has not taken place.” Adding that, “Many foreign countries have kept their diplomatic missions in Baghdad and did not make security excuses.”
Do you think these bits of good news signal an overall trend toward success? Is the situation in Iraq on it's way to stability and resolution?