Sunday, January 07, 2007

A new crackdown is about to begin...

A new security plan has been made and action is on the way to Baghdad's streets.
Our experiences with the various previous plans weren't exactly good and results were almost always below expectations for several reasons including the bad guys working around plans, incompetence of the Iraqi security element and in the last case political orders and one of the most recent examples to such interference among many others was when Maliki ordered the removal of barricades from around Sadr city.

This time it looks like the plan will perhaps be somewhat different, at least in its political side because there's a need and an apparent will to avoid the mistakes that surrounded previous plans as can be told from Maliki's words yesterday. He sent, or resent, a few tough-worded messages including:

-Political factions will not interfere with the implementation of the plan
-ALL outlaw groups bearing arms will be dealt with in the same manner
-Protecting the populace is the job of the official armed forces and not the job of militias

I think the most important point is the first one which indicates that there had been interferences in the execution of previous plans and such interferences were not good for the results of the plans.
Actually we had seen some parties over the past few weeks offer their "advice" to Maliki regarding the shape of the plan but Maliki was firm in refusing these offers. I don't know whether that included Maliki's party as well; although the Dawa has no militia but they are close to Sadr who might put pressure on Maliki to prevent the crackdown from reaching his militia.

The operation in its expected mass isn't launched yet but the situation on the streets indicates it's imminent. There was heavy deployment of troops this early morning and there were joint patrols and checkpoint at all important streets and squares but many patrols withdrew later in the afternoon as if they were checking the pulse of the streets.

There were some limited yet significant operations yesterday. The news here says that 30 militants were killed by the army in Haifa Street, one of the strongholds of insurgents in Baghdad, in fact I heard from one of the families that chose to leave the area for a while that they saw what they thought to be "Afghanis" in the neighborhood from the way they dress and their hair which might mean they are preparing for a confrontation.

Baghdadis have nothing but hope that someday peace and stability be restored to their city. Their expectations may be low but they still hope to see some progress when this operation is completed.

This plan will be the real test that will decide the future of Maliki and his cabinet and failure will not only reflect on the security situation but also on the future of the current government which is losing public support.
This test will stand as a chance for the government to reverse the deterioration in Baghdad and offer something worth of appreciation and respect.

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