Sunday, September 14, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 14 Sept. 2008

From MNF-I, Colonel Notes Reduced Attacks, Economic Gains in Iraqi Province.

WASHINGTON — The economy in Iraq's Salahuddin province has made significant gains over the past year due to the rise in agriculture and the improvement of Iraqi security forces, an Army colonel serving there said yesterday.

"What we've seen over the past year is a marked increase in security," Col. Michael McBride, commander of the 101st Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, told to bloggers and online journalists during a teleconference. "From this time last year to today, our attack levels are down approximately 75 percent."

McBride said the security continues to get better across the board, and he emphasized the notable improvements in Samarra, Beiji and in deposed dictator Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit.

"We've come to a point here now, with the security level as it is, where we are being able to now focus more on reconstruction than we were ... five or six months ago," McBride said.

Up to this point, the main focus always had been security. Now, the focus is shared equally among security, reconstruction and governance, the colonel said.

Read the rest here.