Global Politics

Secretary Rice in Baghdad

DF says Iraq is a different place from the last time he was there a few months ago: it's remarkable, just coming back I was startled. The NYT has a bureau on the Tigris River and there's a park there, and my entire memory was of that park being dead and desolate. I went out there on the first night I was back and there were about 2,000 Iraqis, families, etc out at the park. (How much can be credited to the surge?) I think most of it is the surge, but I think the Americans also exploited other changes that were happening, most significant of which was the decision by the leaders of the country's Sunni minority to change sides and attack Al Qaeda. They're now on the U.S. payroll. (Will those former insurgents stay on the U.S. payroll once and if the U.S. pulls out?) The better way to ask that question is whether the Shiite-dominated government is going to keep them on the payroll. The Americans would like them to stay on the payroll if it keeps the peace. (What does General Petraeus think about the stability of this peace?) He thinks it's going to take a lot more work to make it stable.

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