December 18, 2005


Iraqis in former rebel stronghold now cheer American soldiers (Oliver Poole, 19/12/2005, Daily Telegraph)

In Tal Afar, according to the president, military success had been followed by the restoration of law and order and the implementation of reconstruction projects to give "hope" to its citizens.

Iraq factfile

Visiting the city, nestled near the Syrian border in the north-west of the country, there is no doubt that something has been achieved.

Unlike in Fallujah, another Sunni Arab insurgent stronghold, the storming of which by US marines was the defining campaign of 2004, there is actually large-scale rebuilding in progress.

While many of the citizens of Fallujah still eke out their existence in the ruins of their former homes, in Tal Afar the streets are full of building sites. New sewers have been dug and the fronts of shops, destroyed in the US assault, were replaced within weeks. Sunni police have been hired and 2,000 goats were even distributed to farmers.

More remarkably, the approach of an American military convoy brings people out to wave and even clap, something not seen since the invasion of spring 2003 that toppled Saddam Hussein.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 18, 2005 8:56 PM
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