For the last four weeks, Iraqi Army forces have been conducting deliberate army operations in Basra. They've been conducting search operations, clearing the city of militias. There's a confidence in these forces on the streets and the people of Basra are optimistic. (It sounds quite different from what we've been hearing of late in Basra. How do you guage confidence?) We speak to journalists every now and then and the feeling we get from them is confidence. (So who is it that the troops are fighting there now?) These are criminal militias, not single political entities. These are people who have profited from the chaos over the last five years, people who don't wish Iraq well. There's a feeling that once these people are gone, security will be much improved. (At the same time we're hearing that Moqtada al-Sadr's aids threatening all out war if the Iraqi government forces don't pull back. how seriously are you taking that threat?) it's the government of Iraq who are executing these missions, so it's not for me to judge. There is a note of risk, but we are cautiously optimistic.
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