Bill Roggio does another excellent job of critiquing the new Iraqi Army:
FALLUJAH, IRAQ: While critics of the Iraq Army continue to question the capabilities of the units and soldiers, a real move towards operational independence is occurring within the Iraqi Army. Last year, I embedded with the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines (the Teufelhunden) in Husaybah, as well as the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines (The Raiders) in the Haditha Triad.[…]The Iraqi Army patrolled jointly with the Marines, and were directly dependent on the Marines for food, supplies, ammunition and transport.
The relationship between the Marines and the Iraqi Army has changed over the past year. The 1st Iraqi Army Division is now in the Fallujah region, and the 1st Brigade’s sister unit, the 2nd Brigade, is now operating independently, with embedded Marine Military Transition Teams. Major David McCombs, the executive officer of the 3-2-1 MTT, said their mission is to “advise, assist and mentor the Iraqi Army, and what they do with this is up to them.”[…]After spending time with the 3-2-1 MTT and the Iraqi Army, and spending time talking to both the Marines and Iraqi soldiers involved in the enterprise, the successes and shortcomings became evident.
He then goes on to break each down with an explanation of each shortcoming and successes. I will just list the headers, go to his blog to see a detailed description of each:
Iraqi Army Shortcomings
The Ministry of Defense.
Repair and maintenance.
Iraqi Army Successes
Slowly but surely the Iraqi people are taking over their country. We just need the patience to see it through.
Meanwhile Newsweek reports the Iraqi economy is doing better then anyone imagined:
It may sound unreal, given the daily images of carnage and chaos. But for a certain plucky breed of businessmen, there’s good money to be made in Iraq. Consider Iraqna, the leading mobile-phone company. For sure, its quarterly reports seldom make for dull reading. Despite employees kidnapped, cell-phone towers bombed, storefronts shot up and a huge security budget—up to four guards for each employee—the company posted revenues of $333 million in 2005. This year, it’s on track to take in $520 million. The U.S. State Department reports that there are now 7.1 million mobile-phone subscribers in Iraq, up from just 1.4 million two years ago.[…]Civil war or not, Iraq has an economy, and—mother of all surprises—it’s doing remarkably well. Real estate is booming. Construction, retail and wholesale trade sectors are healthy, too, according to a report by Global Insight in London. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reports 34,000 registered companies in Iraq, up from 8,000 three years ago. Sales of secondhand cars, televisions and mobile phones have all risen sharply. Estimates vary, but one from Global Insight puts GDP growth at 17 percent last year and projects 13 percent for 2006. The World Bank has it lower: at 4 percent this year. But, given all the attention paid to deteriorating security, the startling fact is that Iraq is growing at all. […]there’s a vibrancy at the grass roots that is invisible in most international coverage of Iraq. Partly it’s the trickle-down effect. However it’s spent, whether on security or something else, money circulates. Nor are ordinary Iraqis themselves short on cash. After so many years of living under sanctions, with little to consume, many built up considerable nest eggs—which they are now spending. That’s boosted economic activity, particularly in retail. Imported goods have grown increasingly affordable, thanks to the elimination of tariffs and trade barriers. Salaries have gone up more than 100 percent since the fall of Saddam, and income-tax cuts (from 45 percent to just 15 percent) have put more cash in Iraqi pockets. "The U.S. wanted to create the conditions in which small-scale private enterprise could blossom," says Jan Randolph, head of sovereign risk at Global Insight. "In a sense, they’ve succeeded."
The funny thing is that it only sounds unreal to our MSM and the liberals. They choose to believe Iraq is a fuming cesspool of bombs and death and they choose which stories to print and which to ignore.
The only thing unreal in all this is the picture the MSM paints of Iraq.
But you know what? Newsweek decided to run a feel good story about that area. Whats going on with that?
Could it be because the Democrats have ascended into power? Did we hear these kind of stories six months ago? No….we did not. Six months ago the Iraqi economy was doing just as well but they chose to ignore it. Now that the Democrats have come in everything is smelling like roses. How transparent can they be?