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Notes From Baghdad

Opinion Journal, March 7, 2007 – Mohammed Fadhil and Omar Fadhil (of Iraq the Model) wrote,

BAGHDAD--The new strategy to secure Baghdad has been dubbed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as "Operation Imposing the Law." After weeks of waiting and anxiety it is finally under way, and early signs are encouraging.

The government information campaign and the news about thousands of additional troops coming had a positive impact even before the operation started. Commanders and lieutenants of various militant groups abandoned their positions in Baghdad and in some cases fled the country. Diyala province, to the east of Baghdad, was the destination for many Sunni extremists, while Shiite militiamen went to Babil and Diwaniya in the south. Some higher-ranking members of Shiite and Sunni militant groups fled to Iran and Syria respectively. This migration motivated the government to announce supporting security measures in five provinces around Baghdad, to make sure that fleeing bad guys do not regroup in other cities.

This indicates that both the addition of more troops and the tough words of Prime Minister Maliki are doing the job of intimidating the militants. The extremists understand only the language of power, and any reluctance or softness on the part of the Iraqi or U.S. government would only embolden them. In this way the clearly voiced commitment of President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki was exactly the type of strong message that needed to be sent. Continued at Opinion Journal...

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