September 1, 2008

With all the hubbub about baby mamas in the media snowballing, you'd almost think we didn't have troops risking their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, the US has ceded one more region to the Iraqi government on Monday:

The US military handed over Anbar province to Iraqi security forces yesterday, less than two years after it almost lost it to a Sunni Arab insurgency.

"We are in the last ten yards of this terrible fight. The goal is very near," Major-General John Kelly, commander of American forces in Anbar, told US, Iraqi and tribal officials at a ceremony in the provincial capital, Ramad, to mark the event.

"Your lives and the lives of your children depend on victory."

Maj-Gen Kelly and Anbar's governor, Mamun Sami Rasheed, embraced after signing a document making Anbar the 11th of Iraq's 18 provinces, and the first Sunni Arab one, to be returned to Iraqi control since the US-led invasion.

Police marched down a main street carrying Iraqi flags, followed by a parade of vehicles trimmed with flowers.

The US president, George Bush, praised the people of Anbar, scene of more than a quarter of US combat deaths in Iraq since 2003, for turning against al-Qaeda's Sunni Islam militants. "Today, Anbar is no longer lost to al-Qaeda - it is al-Qaeda that lost Anbar," he said.

UPDATE: Cernig has more on his blog:

Although this is being claimed as unalloyed good news by US pro-occupation voices, the general in command of US forces in Western Iraq is rather more circumspect. Read on...

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