Iraqi Citizens Rejecting Extremists

I bet you think this story was in the NY Times or on CNN

As the U.S. troop surge has taken effect in areas of Iraq, Iraqi citizens are shifting away from extremist groups and stepping forward to assist coalition and Iraqi security forces and secure their communities, a U.S. commander in Iraq said today.

 The increase in troops allows the coalition to move into areas that previously had no coalition or Iraqi security force presence and get rid of extremist elements, Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, commander of Multinational Division Center, told reporters at the Pentagon via videoconference. As soon as locals see that the security forces are committed to staying and securing a neighborhood, they readily step forward to help, Lynch said.

“Over the last four months, we’ve seen an interesting shift,” he said. “Iraqi citizens are coming to us and providing information. These citizens are speaking up about what they’ve seen; they’re talking about what they’ve heard and about any activity that jeopardizes the rebuilding of their country.”

Lynch also talked about the “concerned citizens” program, which involves about 10,000 Iraqis assisting security forces by manning checkpoints and providing intelligence information. The dedication of these citizens allows local governments to work on reconciliation, which will give the central government in Baghdad a strong foundation to work from for national reconciliation, he said.

“With our help, the Iraqis are starting to realize that they can establish order and accountability in their lives,” Lynch said.

So the Surge is having another affect: allowing the citizens to become involved in the safety and security of their own neighborhoods, as well as rejecting extremists. Perhaps all the success that the Surge has had (and yes, there have been some failures; it’s a war) is forcing all the naysayers to change their goal posts, ya think?

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