Iraq Press Roundup

By ALAA MAJEED, UPI Correspondent  |  Sept. 23, 2008 at 5:49 PM
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The withdrawal of U.S. troops is on the minds of many Iraqis as they think it would bring an end to their problems, while others see it as a step toward a civil war.

For the sake of the national interest and the independence of Iraq, the foreign military presence has to end as soon as possible, al-Ittihad newspaper of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan said Tuesday.

In order for the withdrawal not to be disastrous

The call for independence and full sovereignty is the least that people of any country demand to achieve in order to control their fate and their future. It is unsettling for the Iraqi people to see political and social powers deciding their will.

Independence requires all people of Iraq to participate in standing up again and creating the best political and security atmosphere. Since the sovereignty of Iraq is conditioned with throwing out the foreign forces, the Iraqi people must work hard to provide reasons for a U.S. withdrawal.

A U.S. troop withdrawal is a matter of high consideration. The Iraqi government asks for a full withdrawal over the course of the next four years, according to the long-term strategic agreement between Iraq and the United States.

There are many important issues that need to be solved before pushing U.S. forces out of Iraq. One of them is the need to build a strong army with the capacity to defend the country and maintain security. Building such an army also requires the distribution of democracy and acceptance of the principles of the new Iraq.

The other important issue the Iraqi people need to consider before demanding an instant withdrawal of the U.S. forces is the national reconciliation that still faces many obstacles.

It is unrealistic to demand a withdrawal of U.S. forces when Iraqi political powers dispute among themselves, the newspaper said.

Most important, however, are the Sons of Iraq, the Sunni paramilitary groups trained, supported, funded by the U.S. forces to fight al-Qaida. The Sons of Iraq demand inclusion in the Iraqi national forces, which is a sensitive matter as most of them, by admission of U.S. military officials, have fired their guns at the U.S. forces and members of the Iraqi government.

Al-Ittihad said the Sons of Iraq must join Iraqi forces as a reward for the brave services they provided by attacking al-Qaida, especially after U.S. forces transferred security of Anbar province over to the Iraqi forces.

Since 2006, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki followed a strict policy of dealing with the unsolved issues, most notably the security situation.

Maliki's objectivity in addressing issues such as municipal services is satisfactory, al-Sabaah al-Jadeed newspaper said Tuesday.

Is Iraq going to have a revived future?

Maliki has addressed the obstacles that prevent municipal services from being available, and offered suggestions for solutions. The Iraqi government, for example, succeeded in persuading European companies to start coming to Iraq to carry out reconstruction projects.

Another problem to which Maliki promised to find a permanent solution is the group U.S. forces call Sons of Iraq. The Sons of Iraq want to join the Iraqi army, but the government hesitates to grant that demand. Several political parties, meanwhile, use the group as a playing card to destabilize the security situation.

Maliki also referred to the displaced Iraqis as a matter of concern. These families face economic hardships when they return to their homes. It is ironic, however, to call them '"displaced" when they are back in their homes, the newspaper said.

Maliki also seeks to establish an Iraqi-French committee to build off the French experience to "rebuild" and "reserve" the historical and cultural sites in Iraq.

If these projects were to take place and more companies agreed to enter Iraq, the country would be one of the most developed in the Middle East. Reconstruction of Iraq also would lead to the complete defeat of terrorism.

One of the prominent movements that emerged in the new Iraq is the Sadr Movement, an ideological movement led by anti-occupation Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr.

The accomplishments of the Sadr Movement and their "military wing," the Mehdi Army, are immense and essential, the independent Kitabat newspaper said Tuesday.

A critical letter to Sayyed Moqtada Sadr

The Sadr Movement and the Mehdi Army are the reason occupation forces left Basra, Amarah and Samawah cities in the south of Iraq. With their help, the holy sites in Najaf, Karbala and Baghdad remained secure. If they had any presence in Samarra city, north of Baghdad, a sectarian massacre in 2006 would have been prevented.

It is to mention that the Sons of Iraq helped end the presence of al-Qaida, yet that only took place because the Sons of Iraq were themselves members of al-Qaida, the newspaper said.

From the other side, the U.S. forces, as a response to regional and international pressure, needed to establish power to confront al-Qaida. The real credit still goes to the Sadr Movement, which secured many areas in Baghdad and elsewhere.

However, the newspaper referred to the actions of the Mehdi Army in the 2006 ethnic cleansing campaign that led to the killing and displacement of thousands of Iraqis.

In order to accomplish all their goals, the intellectuals and educated of the Sadr Movement are required to publicly criticize the Mehdi Army and call to reform the force. Sadr has to understand that he is not prohibited from making mistakes, but he has to fix them when they occur.

The Sadr Movement lacks a political program. On the one hand, they say they oppose the occupier. On the other hand, Sadr let his followers participate in writing the secular constitution that has clear traces of the occupier's hand.

Although the movement has a base of millions of supporters, it lacks an organizational management to distinguish the movement either as a political party or a reformation movement.

The lack of an effective and active media system for the movement is a misfortune that Sadr has to reconsider, added to the fact that most of the followers of the movement are uneducated.

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