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Sunday, November 28, 2004

Iraq's lost lessons

By CAROLINE GLICK (Jerusalem Post)

"The new Iraqi army that is now being trained is the first instance of an
Arab army to be developed to fight Arab and Islamic terrorists. This is an
extraordinary accomplishment. Iraqi soldiers are now fighting and dying to
purge their country of Arab terrorists, many of whom are also Iraqis."

Something remarkable is happening in Iraq. There is a civil war going on and
the terrorists are losing. US Marine commanders in Fallujah reported
Wednesday that they seized enough weapons in the city "for the insurgency to
take over the whole country."

Iraq is currently undergoing a post-Saddam revolution. Last April, when the
Marines first attempted to take over Fallujah from the Sunni terrorists,
they were joined by an Iraqi army brigade led by a general from the former
regime. His troops quickly went AWOL and joined the ranks of the terrorists
in fighting American forces. Under pressure from the UN, the Coalition
Provisional Authority, led by then-viceroy L. Paul Bremer, lost its nerve to
continue fighting. The Marines fell back to the city's outskirts and enabled
the likes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Palestinian-Jordanian arch terrorist,
to take over Fallujah.

This month's combined US-Iraqi offensive into Fallujah was different. It was
marked by tight cooperation between the Iraqi and American forces on the
ground, and ordered by Iraq's Interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who didn't
back down even when three of his relatives were kidnapped by the terrorists.
The new Iraqi army that is now being trained is the first instance of an
Arab army to be developed to fight Arab and Islamic terrorists. This is an
extraordinary accomplishment. Iraqi soldiers are now fighting and dying to
purge their country of Arab terrorists, many of whom are also Iraqis.

In addition to the new Iraqi government's determination to fight on the side
of the US on the battlefields, it is also fighting the intellectual war
against terror. This week, in an interview with the pan-Arab newspaper
Asharq al-Aswat, Iraqi Defense Minister Hazem Shaalan branded Al-Jazeera
television station a "channel of terrorism." Shaalan went on to threaten
Al-Jazeera, saying, "Let God curse all those who terrorize Iraqi citizens
and the children of Iraq, be they journalists or others. The day will come
when we will take measures against Al-Jazeera other than by words."

As PLO chieftains and the likes of Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak defend
their regime-controlled media's dissemination of constant calls for jihad
against Israel and the US as an exercise of free speech, Iraq's leaders are
admitting openly that these media operations are part and parcel of the
terror arsenal. And so, in Iraq today, we have a situation in which it is
the Iraqi government itself - rather than the US or Israel or any other
country targeted by jihad - which is taking the lead to punish organs of
incitement.

And then there is the question of democracy. Ahead of the January 30
elections scheduled to be held in Iraq, some 126 political parties have
registered to run. Some are Islamists. Some are crypto-Ba'athist. Some are
Iranian backed. But many of them are regular political parties that want to
earn power and a piece of the pie through the democratic process.

When asked about the possibility that elections be delayed until the civil
war has subsided, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, speaking at a
conference at Sharm e-Sheikh this week, vowed that in spite of the violence
the government would hold elections as planned. In his words, "our very
credibility is really on the line."

Zebari made these statements because the Arab leaders present at the
conference, like their counterparts from the UN and France, were all pushing
for Iraq to delay the elections. The conference itself was almost scuttled
due to the French demand that the terrorists fighting in Iraq also be
allowed to send representatives, as if the international community shouldn't
choose sides between the terrorists who until a week ago were running
slaughterhouses in mosques and apartment buildings and the soldiers sent in
to destroy them. So it is now the Iraqis themselves who are standing up to
the so-called international community in demanding to be allowed to become a
democracy while fighting terrorism.

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