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Despair is the agenda

Here's how the Globe and Mail summed up events in Iraq yesterday:

Insurgents exposed the vulnerability of Iraq's security forces again yesterday, killing 18 National Guardsmen, five police officers and several civilians in separate attacks with the election of a national assembly just weeks away. Prominent Shia leaders called for unity with Sunnis wanting to delay the vote, but insisted it be held despite the violence.

Also, the U.S. military sent new forces to counter the threat in Mosul, centre of a worrying rise in car bombings and raids in recent weeks.

U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell repeated past warnings of more violence ahead of the Jan. 30 election, and the guerrillas have made good on those fears with tragic ease. Iraq's poorly equipped security forces usually have far less training than U.S. troops, and attacks on them usually result in far more casualties.

But something else happened yesterday, that involved 'Iraq's poorly equipped security forces':
1. At 1 am Iraqi National Guard (ING), the Mahmudih division, arrested 217 individuals suspected of being terrorists and confiscated a large cache of light and heavy caliber weapons and ammunition.

2. At 2 am the same ING division arrested Hatem Alzobaae, a suspected terrorist cell leader.

3. At 2:30 am ING in Hillah arrested the terrorist Ali Mehsan Ghnajar. In his possession were 19 grenades, three 28mm mortars.

4. At 4 am, based on a tip that he had returned from Syria, the criminal Ali Latief was arrested by the ING. Four men who are part of his cell were also arrested.

5. At 4 am 10 terrorists were arrested after returning from Mosul by the ING Mahmudiah division.

6. At 4 am ING raided the Hai Alaskari area based on a tip. As a result of the raid the ING arrested 10 terrorists one of which resisted and was wounded and arrested.

7. At 4 am terrorists attacked the Hadbaa police station and were repelled with 2 terrorists killed and their weapons confiscated.

8. At 5 am ING started a security clean sweep of Bab Shams. They confiscated a large number of hand grenades and mortar weapons and rounds.

There's a bit of good news at the end of the Globe report -- that Shia leaders are publicly reaching out to Sunnis and urging restraint and tolerance -- but news that progress against the 'insurgents' is being made by the Iraqi forces is never mentioned. It doesn't fit the narrative. Instead, an opinion piece elsewhere in the paper makes this claim:
It makes perfect sense to build up the Iraqi police and other security forces to repress crime, but these groups have conspicuously failed to be of any help in dealing with the Sunni insurgents who keep attacking U.S. forces, or with the Mahdi militiamen of the Shia rabble rouser Muqtada al-Sadr. At best, the police remain neutral when any Iraqis attack foreign troops. At worst, they join in the attacks, or give their uniforms and vehicles to the attackers, sometimes allowing them to surprise coalition troops with deadly results. Iraqi police have even failed to pursue with any real energy the insurgents who have targeted the Iraqi police themselves. Such behaviour is inevitable because Iraqi policemen and their families live among the population at large, at the mercy of the very insurgents and militiamen they are supposed to control.
Calling those who risk their lives to wear their new nation's uniform cowards and traitors is pretty vile, but that's what passes as sophisticated commentary in these crazy times. Arthur Chrenkoff has this summary of the works of the 'neutral' Iraqi Forces:
In recent security successes: "Iraqi Security Forces defeated two separate attacks in Mosul by anti-Iraqi insurgents as they attempted to ambush an Iraqi National Guard patrol and seize a police station in northern Iraq"; the capture of remote-controlled rockets smuggled in from outside Iraq for use against election infrastructure; the capture of two senior al Qaeda operatives active in Iraq; seizure of another significant arms cache near Ar Rutbath; and the defeat by Iraqi security forces of an attack on a police station in Mosul ("This is the sixth time since Nov. 10 where insurgents have tried but failed to overrun police stations"). In addition, 353 foreign terrorists are currently in custody in Iraq. This total includes "61 Egyptians, 59 Saudis, 56 Syrians, 40 Jordanians, 35 Sudanese, 22 Iranians, 10 Tunisians, 10 Yemenis, eight Palestinians and five Lebanese, among others."
I don't believe that everything is peaches and cream in Iraq, but the notion rooted firmly in the public's conciousness that the situation is hopeless is certainly not correct either. Though the terrorists began the post-war period with many advantages -- hidden weapon stores, money, support networks and a command structure -- these are being systematically dismantled and destroyed. Each attack they make weakens them, and each day those they oppose grow stronger. They can't win, yet the press continues to root for them. They trumpet their successful atrocities, and bury or ignore their many failures. Someday, when Iraq is a thriving, free nation, I hope they have the awareness to feel ashamed of themselves for what they did.

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