Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Untold Story of Iraq (Part 1)

Traveling around Western Iraq has left little time for writing. Nonetheless, my travels expose the untold story of Iraq—untold in-part because few Western journalists venture to this area. Many of those journalists that do come to here are respected by Marines for attempting to report the full scope of what is taking place here in al Anbar Province. Others journalists, like Sudarsan Raghavan, the Baghdad bureau chief for the Washington Post, are not. Raghavan came to Fallujah under the pretenses of covering Fallujah as a whole, but ignored the city’s security, clean streets, new construction, and cooperation between Iraqis and U.S. forces. Instead, he attempted to gain access to the high security detention facility after Marines had told him he couldn’t go there in an effort to cast a shadow over Fallujah’s progress and the U.S. presence here. Raghavan then moved to Basra where he provided reports sympathetic to Muqtada al Sadr’s Iranian supported militia that terrorized the population.

Having crossed paths with a few journalists here, I have come to better understand why the full story of Iraq is not being told. According to two journalists I spoke during my travels, most Western journalists will not come out here because there is no shooting going on here. They also told me that they are willing to write about the progress in al Anbar, but that most editors and producers do not want that story. It comes down to the old cliché—“if it bleeds, it leads.”

Iraq’s untold story begins here in al Anbar Province, the largest province in Iraq. It is an area that some Iraqi and U.S. officials wrote off as untamable two years ago, but has become the model for Iraq.

Iraq’s untold story is first one of security. Aside from Iranian backed militias in Sadr City and Southern Iraq, al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) and similar terrorist groups are crippled throughout most of Iraq. Here in Western Iraq AQI is neutralized. Ongoing operations continue to hunt down AQI remnants with great success. In regard to Sadr’s militia’s, Iraqi military success in Basra is a sign of what promises to be a final showdown in Sadr City. Second, Iraq’s untold story is one of economic regeneration and the promise of prosperity. Not only are Iraq’s schools, hospitals, and infrastructure improving, but factories, refineries, and businesses are beginning to return to life—attracting foreign and domestic investment. Meanwhile, job training programs are providing new skills. Third, Iraq’s untold story it is one of social progress. Iraq’s democratization brings with it the rule of law, and women are being given bigger roles in Iraqi society. Finally, Iraq’s untold story is one of cooperation and friendship. In all areas, Iraqis are working with Americans towards common goals in improving Iraq’s security, infrastructure, and economy. I will elaborate on each of these areas in up coming posts. For more see:


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