Sunday, December 30, 2007

Ending the year on a positive note

The Iraqi interior ministry lauded its achievements over the past year on Saturday, saying that 75 percent of Al-Qaeda's networks in the country had been destroyed in 12 months.
Ministry spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf also outlined sharp falls in the numbers of assassinations, kidnappings and death squad murders.

He told a news conference that increased patrols along the borders with Saudi Arabia and Syria had slowed infiltration by militants and played a key role in Iraq's improved security situation.

"We have destroyed 75 percent of Al-Qaeda hide-outs, and we broke up major criminal networks that supported Al-Qaeda in Baghdad," he said.

"After eliminating safe houses in Anbar province, which used to be Al-Qaeda's base, we moved into areas surrounding Baghdad and into Diyala province. Al-Qaeda headed north and we are pursuing them," he said.

Khalaf said kidnappings were down 70 percent and that an average of three to five people killed by death squads were being found each day in Baghdad compared with 15 to 20 a day in February.

Personnel with militant or criminal links had been weeded out from Iraqi security forces, he said, adding that Sunni-US alliances against Al-Qaeda had also significantly contributed to the drop in violence.

Now time will tell if the Iraqis can get their political house in order. We've given them the chance now they need to take advantage of it.