Nouri Al-Maliki said today that Iraq has defeated terrorism, "They were intending to besiege Baghdad and control it," al-Maliki said. "But thanks to the will of the tribes, security forces, army and all Iraqis, we defeated them." He said this while speaking at cermonies honoring the five year anniversary of the death of one of Saddam's fierces opponents, Ayatollah Mohammed Baqir al-Hakim. Al-Hakim was killed by a truck bomb in Najaf after returning from exile. He continued his optimisic view by stating, "Under the national unity government, the Iraqis have achieved national feats ... that are now lighting the course of our march," al-Maliki said.
This is very significant news coming from the President of Iraq. I hope it is not just hyperbole and that we will be able to bring additional troops home before November. I hope that this war is really as close to being won as I feel it is. Understanding we will need to maintain a troop presence in the region for sometime I pray that the worst of this war is really behind us, and we will be able to return our troops in victory sooner than we had originally thought. However we do need to stay until the job is done. Make no mistake about that.
Iraq has increased electricity by ten percent from this period last year. While it doesn't sound like a lot to me it is progress. The director of energy in Iraq said the recent downturned in violence had allowed them to repair damaged power structures and allowed them to begin to build new ones. However as with everything in Iraq it will take a while to get enough power to run the whole country, "it will take many years of major investment to meet the rising demand."
In more good news the United Arab Emirates has canceled all of Iraq's debt to that country. The debt totaled four billion dollars without interest and seven billion with interest. The President of the U.A.E. Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan said that he hoped this would help the economy of Iraq.
It was also noted in this story that violence in Iraq is at its lowest level in four years.