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July 23, 2007
Iraq: Progress from the Bottom Up
There is an important post from Michael Yon on Friday describing a reconciliation meeting (my term, not his) in Baqubah led by Col. Steve Townsend, the American commander for that area of operations.
Colonel Townsend clarified the purpose of the meeting; it was not to formalize relations or to establish a chain of command, but to work out ways of cooperating to bring better days to Baqubah.
This seems to be the pattern emerging at least in Sunni areas where al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) is being discredited due to its extreme violence. The London Times has an article today documenting the same phenomenon in Doura, where local Iraqis are turning on AQI.
Concomitant with this, the Iraq Stock Exchange Index (ISX) continues its very strong move upward, with an additional gain of 7% yesterday, for a year-to-date gain of 43%. This represents financial commitment on the part of people most likely to know the local conditions and is significant for that reason.