Monday, April 23, 2007

Report Coming This Week From Petraeus

This Week, (the commander of the U.S. forces, Gen. David) Petraeus is scheduled to make his first comprehensive report to Congress on the implementation of the so-called surge strategy. He will face a Congress deeply divided over Iraq, with Democratic leaders doubtful about the prospects for success and headed for a showdown with President Bush over setting a troop withdrawal deadline. Using a formulation he is likely to employ in testifying to Congress, Petraeus said it is too soon to make any judgment about how many troops will be needed and for how long. "It will be another two months before all the troops are on the ground," he said. "We only have 60 percent of the troops in place. There has been some progress, but it will take months, not days, not weeks." And, he added, "at the end of the day it will require Iraqi political steps to foster reconciliation among Iraqis."

Very true about the need for reconciliation, but this is a decidedly bad development:

A forbidden love affair that ended with a young woman being stoned to death led to more bloodshed Sunday when gunmen dragged 21 members of a religious minority off a bus and shot them dead, Iraqi police and witnesses said.

The incident in the northern city of Mosul was shocking in its brutality and frightening for the specter it raised: that violence between Muslims and non-Muslims could aggravate the already volatile ethnic conflict there between Arabs and Kurds. The victims were Yazidis, an ancient sect that is neither Christian nor Muslim and whose Kurdish followers have faced persecution under a succession of rulers.


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