Washington DC, USA - While Iraq’s most dreadful year of 2006 is still comparably safer than some of America’s most popular cities the Democratic leaders in congress still wish to surrender the conflict. Petraeus demonstrated a significant drop in violence since 2006 and still the Democratic leaders remained unconvinced of the need to stay in Iraq.
Mgr Rabban al-Qas, Chaldean bishop of Ahmadiya, in Northern Iraq, speaking a day after the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, began presenting his report to the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees of the US Congress on the impact of the recent surge of US troops in Iraq says progress has been made, but “A concrete solution to the Iraqi crisis must come from the people themselves, not from the barrel of the gun.”
Iraqi Chaldean bishop acknowledges the dramatic drop in violence and adds it is time to educate the population to peace. “An enduring solution though must come from Iraqis themselves, from educating the people to the values of peace and democracy learnt since 2003,” says Mgr Rabban al-Qas.
General Petraeus said that most objectives had been met by the troop reinforcement. Progress has been reported in the area of security, and sectarian violence has dropped.
The General made clear that the current situation remains unstable, preventing an immediate troop withdrawal. The general did say though that around 30,000 troops could be drawn down from the current level of 168,000 by the middle of next year. The General also added that the request by Iraqi leaders to remain in order to assist the fledgling democracy.
The Iraqi government welcomed General Petraeus’s report. Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubaie praised the “enormous sacrifice” made by the United States, predicting a reduced combat role for US troops, adding however that his government opposed any quick pullout.
In Baghdad many residents have noticed a drop in the level of violence, but “not enough to go out without fear.” From talks with his contacts in the capital, Bishop al-Qas said that suicide attacks have declined in the last few months. In his view, the war has “entered a second phase.”
“Now that some results have been achieved against terrorism, albeit small ones, after Washington changed its attitude towards Iraq, it is also time for Iraqis to change attitudes. We must educated the young to peace and instil the democratic values that have started circulating in the country in the last four years,” he said.
“Now we must open the doors to reconciliation whilst ensuring security.”
General Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are continuing today the presentation of their report to Congress.