Monday, April 11, 2005
"Two years after war dramatically changed Iraq's political landscape, the former ruling minority Sunnis are developing plans to participate in a government formed by elections they boycotted.
"In a significant shift, several Sunni groups that hitherto shunned the political process met last weekend to create a unified front and set of demands that they will present to the Shiite and Kurdish leaders now hammering out a new government.
"The meeting was a reversal for Sunni leaders who have supported insurgents and urged US troops to leave Iraq immediately.
"The new effort, observers say, appears to be an admission that their strategy - to stop Iraq's election and denounce the formation of a new government - has failed. Bringing the former ruling class into Iraq's emerging power structure, they add, could help quell the insurgency."
Good news for the economy as Russia has decided to write-off much of the Saddam-era debt:
"Russia will sign an agreement this year finalising a plan to write-off most of the money owed to it by Iraq, a Finance Ministry official said. In November  President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was committed to forgiving 90 percent of Iraq's debts, more than the 80 percent agreed by the Paris Club of sovereign lenders."
And more signs that the terrorists are losing as more and more Iraqis are providing intelligence to U.S. and Iraqi forces:
"Fatma peeked out the window of her Mosul home and saw masked men lobbing mortars at a nearby Iraqi army base for the third time. She decided it would be the last.
"As she telephoned to report the men, Fatma became one of an increasing number of Iraqis tipping off the authorities. Officials say it's a sign the country's fledgling security forces are winning the trust of citizens, turning them against the insurgency.
"U.S. and Iraqi officials say they have seen an increase in calls in recent weeks, especially after Iraq's Jan. 30 elections, although there were no overall figures available on how many people have offered information. In a sign the phenomenon is gathering momentum, some Iraqis told The Associated Press that when they called in information, they were told others already had reported the same incident.
"The growing willingness of Iraqis to cooperate with officials is perhaps also a testimony to the insurgency's own mistakes, which have cost it the sympathy of some. Many say they simply are tired of violence that has overshadowed their lives or claimed people they love."
Finally, Iraq has it's own version of America's Most Wanted:
"Looking cowed and frightened, a bruised young man looks into the television camera and stammers replies to questions from an unseen interrogator. Yes, he says, he was paid to kidnap foreigners in Baghdad. No, he was not a mujahid (holy warrior); just a common criminal cashing in on Iraq's climate of fear.
"The man, described as a captured insurgent, is making a public confession on a TV program on Iraq's government-run al-Iraqiya television station called 'Terror in the Hands of Justice.' Twice daily, Iraqis watch fascinated as a procession of alleged Islamist guerrillas reveal the details of terrorist operations on what can be described as an Iraqi variation on 'America's Most Wanted.' One man said he had stalked 10 college girls who were translators for the U.S. Army, then raped them and killed all of them. Another described how he had beheaded several hostages after first practicing on animals.
Ordinary Iraqis love the show:
"I watch the show every night, and I wait for it patiently, because it is very revealing. For the first time, we saw those who claim to be jihadists as simple $50 murderers who would do everything in the name of Islam. Our religion is too lofty, noble and humane to have such thugs and killers. I wish they would hang them now, and in the same place where they did their crimes. They should never be given any mercy."
Follow the link above for much, much more.