Iraq

British army leaves, and violence falls in Basra

Violence in Iraq is down by 55%, according to US officials. The bad news is that just today a suicide bomber detonated his explosives as American soldiers were handing out toys to children northeast of Baghdad, killing at least three children and three of the troopers.

The old formula still applies, just as the administration is ready to enter into another feud for war funding, it produces a report on the success of the surge, while ignoring the day to day setbacks for our troops and Iraqi civilians alike. It is disquieting how our officials measure success on the number of lives lost, rather than on the real situation on the ground.

The reality is that success will come once the Iraqi government takes control of the situation, and resolves their problems. It seems the British forces understood it, and when they left their areas, the violence decreased:

The British army says violence in Basra has fallen by 90% since it withdrew from the southern Iraqi city earlier this year.
Around 500 British soldiers left one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces in the heart of the city in early September and stopped conducting regular foot patrols.
A spokesman says the Iraqi security forces still come under attack from militants in Basra, but the overall level of violence is down 90% since the British troops left.
Britain is scheduled to return control of Basra province to Iraqi officials next month, officially ending Britain’s combat role in Iraq.

I wonder if this 90% drop in violence in Basra contributes to the 55% drop overall. It seems that there is more than the surge at play, and that success should be measured with more than a numbers game.

Categories: Iraq