Here’s another update containing more on the stories that the media hasn’t been covering in Iraq.
The continuing fight against Moqtada al-Sadr has been turning decisively in the last few days. Sadr’s stronghold of Karbala has been returned to the Iraqi people. Sadr’s thugs have largely left the city after US and coalition forces eliminate 32 of the Mahdi "Army" terrorists. The people of Karbala are now seeing life returning to normal after being held as virtual captives in their own city by Sadr’s goons. Shops are now being reopened and the Iraqi police are now back on ths streets of the important Shi’ite city.
Iraqi blogger Zeyad notes that Shi’ite clerics are strongly condemning the actions of Sadr’s gang, arguing that Sadr’s pointless violence is making things worse for Iraqi Shi’a. Sadr has no legitimacy among Iraqi Shi’a. His foolish attempts to raise a ragtag army against the coalition has made the lives of Iraqi Shi’a miserable and done nothing but show that Sadr is a self-aggrandizing thug. The Shi’a have wisely chosen to reject his violence and chose the path that leads to a free and democratic Iraq. The Iraqi people have once again shown that they understand what the price of terrorism is, and they are willing to fight it. As blogger Cicada notes:
Sounds like the US are doing something remarkable. They’re successfully fighting a radical Islamic army in the religion’s holiest cities while gaining the respect and support of the resident clerics. If that’s not a blow to al-Qaeda I don’t know what is.
Indeed, this is exactly the outcome that Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi feared. The forces of freedom and democracy are winning in Iraq, and that is exactly what al-Qaeda fears.
The ever-brilliant Mark Steyn notes that grass-roots democracy is flourishing across Iraq in spite of all the violence:
In the Shia province of Dhi Qar, a couple hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, 16 of the biggest 20 cities plus many smaller towns will have elected councils by June. These were the first free elections in Dhi Qar’s history and ”in almost every case, secular independents and representatives of nonreligious parties did better than the Islamists.” That assessment is from the anti-war anti-Bush anti-Blair Euro-lefties at the Guardian, by the way.
The Iraqi people are creating democracy in the way that democracies have always been created – from the people upwards. As much as we fret and strut about institutions and Governing Councils and the other trappings of democracy, those are merely façades that cover the real process of democracy. Read Tocqueville – democracy in America wasn’t founded from the top down, it was founded by the citizen and the ballot box.
The Iraqi people, after a decades-long national nightmare are finding the true meaning of democracy and discovering that they can have power over their own lives. This is the very essence of democracy, and it is deadly to terrorism, A free and prosperous people are more concerned with the wellfare of their children than sending them off to die in the name of fanaticism and tyranny.
Despite the negativity, despite the hand-wringing, despite the slurs and the equivocations one fact remains: we are winning this war.