February 11, 2007
SUNDAY NIGHT in Baghdad.
UPDATE: Okay, that deserves more than a bare link. Excerpt:
Baghdad is still enjoying some days of relative calm interrupted only with minor sporadic incidents. In general there’s a feeling that these days are better than almost any other time in months. This is more evident in the eastern side of Baghdad than the western part, because the former part has received more US and Iraqi military reinforcements than the latter. . . .
Signs of such efforts can already be seen on the streets, through political work instead of military. Yesterday the “popular support” committee headed by Ahmed Chalabi succeeded in reopening a Sunni mosque in Sadr city, returning control of the mosque to the Sunni endowment department after it was occupied by Sadr’s office personnel last year. The mosque was reopened with a celebration where Sunnis and Shia prayed together behind a Sunni cleric. Before the ceremony Shia volunteers cleaned up the area around the mosque from garbage and fixed the sign that carried the name of the mosque. . . .
The arrest of al-Zamili indicates that the new plan will not hesitate to target leaders of militant groups no matter what their position in the government was. The Sadr movement responded to the arrest only by saying that it was an insult to all Iraqis. One of their spokesmen said, in a clear sign of helplessness, “If one from our movement is to be arrested, then others from other factions should be arrested as well”.
I don’t know whether this current attitude of submission is going to last when more senior members are arrested. Still, I like the idea of arresting senior bad guys from both sects. This both satisfies public opinion, and gives credibility to the announced plans of the government to deal equally with all regardless of sect or background.
Some people are hoping it fails but I'm hoping for success.