Theodore's World: Don't Abandon Us

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May 05, 2007

Don't Abandon Us

Don't Abandon Us

By Hoshyar Zebari
Washington Post
Friday, May 4, 2007

The writer is foreign minister of Iraq

Last weekend a traffic jam several miles long snaked out of the Mansour district in western Baghdad. The delay stemmed not from a car bomb closing the road but from a queue to enter the city's central amusement park. The line became so long some families left their cars and walked to enjoy picnics, fairground rides and soccer, the Iraqi national obsession.

Across the city, restaurants are slowly filling and shops are reopening. The streets are busy. Iraqis are not cowering indoors. The appalling death tolls from suicide attacks are often high because of crowding at markets. These days you are as likely to hear complaints about traffic congestion as about the security situation. Across Baghdad there is a cacophony of sirens from ambulances, firefighters and police providing public services. You cannot even escape the curse of traffic wardens ticketing illegally parked cars.

These small but significant snippets of normality are overshadowed by acts of gross violence, which fuel the opinion of some that Iraq is in a downward spiral. The Iraqi people are indeed suffering tremendous hardships and making grave sacrifices -- but daily life goes on for 7 million Baghdadis struggling to take back their capital and country.

Today, at an international summit on the future of Iraq in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, my government will ask the international community to maintain its engagement in our country to help us achieve our goals of security and stability. We recognize that our request conflicts with a plethora of voices decrying the situation in Iraq and those in the British and American publics who seek an expeditious withdrawal from a war they claim is all but lost.

So why should the world remain engaged in Iraq?

There is no denying the difficulties Iraq faces, and no amount of good news can obscure the demons of terrorism and sectarianism that have risen in my country. But there is too much at stake to risk failure, and everything to gain by helping us protect our hard-won democratic achievements and emerge as a stable, self-sustaining country.

We remain determined in spite of our losses. Spectacular attacks may dominate foreign headlines, but they cannot change the reality that Iraq has made steady political, economic and social progress over the past four years. We continue to strengthen our nascent democratic institutions, pursue national reconciliation and expand Iraqi security forces. The Baghdad security plan was conceived to give us breathing space to expedite political and economic development by "securing and holding" neighborhoods across the capital. There is no quick fix, but there have been real results: Winning public confidence has led to a spike in intelligence, a disruption of terrorist networks and the capture of key leaders, as well as the discovery of weapons caches. In Anbar province, Sunni sheikhs and insurgents have turned against al-Qaeda and to the side of Iraqi security forces. This would have been unthinkable even six months ago.

Contrary to popular belief, most government ministries are located outside the Green Zone, and employees drive to work every day despite death threats and attacks on colleagues and families. We government ministers are always at risk of assassination. When a suicide bomber attacked parliament last month, the legislators sat in defiance in an extraordinary session the following day. I am particularly inspired by the commitment of the young diplomats in the Foreign Ministry, a diverse mix of Sunni, Shiite, Christian, Arab and Kurdish men and women who serve their country without subscribing to religious or sectarian divisions.

Iraqis are standing up every day, and we persevere because there is no other option. We will not surrender our country to terrorists. They have failed to cripple the elected government, and they have failed to intimidate us into submission. Iraqis reject their vision of a future whose hallmarks are bloodshed and hatred.

Those calling for withdrawal may think it is the least painful option, but its benefits would be short-lived. The fate of the region and the world is linked with ours. Leaving a broken Iraq in the Middle East would offer international terrorism a haven and ensure a legacy of chaos for future generations. Furthermore, the sacrifices of all the young men and women who stood up here would have been in vain.

Iraqis, for all our determination and courage, cannot succeed alone. We need a healthy and supportive regional environment. We will not allow our country to be a battleground for settling scores in regional and international conflicts that adversely affect stability inside our borders. Only with continued international commitment and deeper engagement from our neighbors can we establish a stable democratic, federal and united Iraq. The world should not abandon us.

Wild Thing's comment........

An interesting article. I would add this is that the Iraq's need to do more and more on their own, they are I realize that and that is a BIG thanks to our awesome troops training them. But their hearts need to be in it and a courage to take a stand on their own too is needed.

Posted by Wild Thing at May 5, 2007 12:47 AM



I read this twice and I think your comment sums it up perfectly. We can make the great effort and sacrifice for these people, but they still have to put forth the same or more effort and sacrifice for themselves. Their goofy culture is conducive to keeping them in a lowly Third World status unless they can overcome that tribal and religious trend. Hell, we can't even convince CAIR here in America to Westernize except to use Western freedoms to plot against us.

I think our effort is grand, but based on what I have seen and heard from muslims here in America, they don't want our culture. mohammed won't allow it.

Posted by: TomR at May 5, 2007 06:12 AM

It is time to wean the child.
We can stay, but take a back seat and give good management and care to the child.
Time for the child to spread it's wings and fly.
But be there when and if it falls down.
Any good parent does that.
We love to see our children succeed more than we anticipated.
As the song goes, "Teach your children well"
They need to be pushed to the front. And they need to realize it--that it's their country and they need to fight for it. If they want that freedom so badly, then let us take the rear. Mouth off to us that they can do it on their own. Every child eventually does that, too.
I'd love to see the Iraqi government tell us that we can step aside, that they are ready to take the lead.
It's better than cutting and running because the funding got cut off, now isn't it?

Posted by: Lynn at May 5, 2007 08:23 AM

The entire world saw what cutting and running left Southeast Asia after 1973 and the multitudes who died as a result of that fall, the entire region is dominated by Communism. Those facts don't faze the Communists or the Socialists, it's their agenda, nor will it faze the Islamists when they are doing the butchering formerly done by the Commies. We saw then as now which side our Congress fell toward and supported, but they are too power addled to realize this is an implacable enemy that they are empowering. The only appeasement they know or obey is death, it's their cult and culture. Do we capitulate and leave because of the biased media reporting and the gullible left or because the Iraqi's are ready and ask us to leave? Our soldiers have won the battles it's our sorry politicians who are losing the war. The Iraqi's, wean them, yes, abandon them, no, the previous post makes it clear that Iran, the agitator and exporter of Iraqi terror in not a reasoning government. Here are a few of graphic Moslem reminders about these barbaric throwbacks to before Mohammad: & Warning: This Is Far Beyond Graphic.

Stop now and this will soon be happening in our streets.

Posted by: Jack at May 5, 2007 11:08 AM

Tom, thank you, and thank you too for your great comment on this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 6, 2007 12:48 AM

Lynn, amen to what you said, it is time to wean the child. Wonderful comment about this Lynn, thank you.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 6, 2007 12:48 AM

Jack, thank you...."Our soldiers have won the battles it's our sorry politicians who are losing the war." true!!!

Thank you for the links Jack. They want to do those things your right, right here in America.

Posted by: Wild Thing at May 6, 2007 12:50 AM