I Hear It’s Safe
quote from an Iranian pilgrim, with his family, crossing the border to go to the Ashura festivities for the first time.
Today’s Bloggers’ Rountable was with Brigadier General Edward Cardon, Deputy Commanding General (Support) Multi-National Division-Center(MND-C). We talked about the situation in the Task Force Marne AO, and there was some surprising news.
The Iraqi security forces handled the recent Ashura festivities by themselves. Two million pilgrims. General Cardon describes Najaf and Karbala as being in the midst of an economic boom. The next festival is a couple of weeks away and the Iraqis are planning for 8 million pilgrims.
Many of the pilgrims that General Cardon saw on the Iran/Iraq border were with tours. The Iraqis have established good control over their border in this area and are thorough with their checks at the border.
Not just pilgrims are crossing the border. About a hundred trucks a day cross, carrying oil to Iranian refineries, and refined oil products for sale in Iraq. Less than a year ago, it was 8 trucks a day.
General Cardon emphasized that local and regional governments are growing in ability and influence. He sees the locals increasing pressure on the national government, from the bottom up. As an example, he cites recent discussions between the governments of Anbar and Karbala provinces.
Cardon sees two reconciliations going on in his AO. The Sunni / Shia reconciliation is “moving pretty good”. Then there is the reconciliation between the various Shia factions.
The General gives credit to Muqtada al-Sadr for calling a cease-fire last year. That has allowed most of the progress in the AO.
The Iraqis have become adept at adapting to the infrastructure shortfalls. Where a few months ago, the citizens were asking for increased security, now they are looking for better water and schools.
Cardon told us that AQI in the region is now fewer in numbers, and with 35,000 concerned citizens, lacking in support. The General spends a lot of time working on job creation and training, to ensure that the CLCs don’t return to supporting AQI or another insurgent group.
Table of contents for Bloggers' Roundtable
- We Don’t Commute to Work Anymore
- Terror Investors Might Want to Look Elsewhere
- I Hear It’s Safe
- In Our Area the Taliban Are Paying More a Month
- Iraqi Police Progress
- Sept. 11 Conspirators Going to Trial
- Continued Courage and Committment
- The Year of Opportunity – 2008
- Competent, Capable, Effective Leadership
- Afghan Army Acts: Decisive, Overwhelming
- Iraqi Military Medical Services
- Dallas Reporting: Aid Mission to Georgia
- Military Integration Into NIMS
- Status Report From the Afghan South
- Status Report From the Afghan East
- Fourth Fleet Is About Partnerships
- Iraqi Police Primer
- Sons of Iraq Status Update
- Army Apologizes
- We Are Here!
- Yar! There Be Pirates!
- Cobra Gold 2009
- Our Best: Sergeant First Class Helen Gillespie
- Africa Partnership Station Comes to E Africa
- Building the Rule of Law in Afghanistan
- Sons of Iraq and the Iraqi Budget
- Air Force Combat Camera – Focus on the Fight
- Afghan Update for July 22, 2009
- The Army Goal: 1.5 Gigawatts of Renewable Energy
- Withdrawing from Iraq – some perspective
- Iraqi security update April 22 2010
- 2012 Federal Budget for Defense
- Pacific Command and the Pacific
- Air Force high flyers mark 100th anniversary
This entry was posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2008 at 3:00 pm and is filed under War on Terror, Iraq, Original writing, Original writing, Reporting, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.