Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Even ABC News reporting progress in Iraq..

Analysis: Military Makes Gains in Iraq ABC News: U.S. Making New Military Gains in Iraq but Final Outcome Hinges on Iraqi Involvement By ROBERT BURNS AP Military Writer BAGHDAD Aug 6, 2007 (AP) The new U.S. military strategy in Iraq, unveiled six months ago to little acclaim, is working. In two weeks of observing the U.S. military on the ground and interviewing commanders, strategists and intelligence officers, it's apparent that the war has entered a new phase in its fifth year. It is a phase with fresh promise yet the same old worry: Iraq may be too fractured to make whole.No matter how well or how long the U.S. military carries out its counterinsurgency mission, it cannot guarantee victory.Only the Iraqis can. And to do so they probably need many more months of heavy U.S. military involvement. Even then, it is far from certain that they are capable of putting this shattered country together again.It's been an uphill struggle from the start to build Iraqi security forces that are able to fight and more importantly at this juncture able to divorce themselves from deep-rooted sectarian loyalties. It is the latter requirement evenhandedness and reliability that is furthest from being fulfilled.There is no magic formula for success.And magic is what it may take to turn military gains into the strategy's ultimate goal: a political process that moves Iraq's rival Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds from the brink of civil war to the threshold of peace and to get there on a timetable that takes account of growing war fatigue in the United States.Efforts at Iraqi reconciliation saw another blow Monday: Five Cabinet ministers loyal to Iraq's first post-Saddam Hussein leader decided to boycott government meetings, further deepening a crisis that threatens Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. The boycott would leave the Shiite-led government with no Sunni participants, at least temporarily.Despite political setbacks, American commanders are clinging to a hope that stability might be built from the bottom up with local groups joining or aiding U.S. efforts to root out extremists rather than from the top down, where national leaders have failed to act.

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