Drastic improvements in security in Iraq’s Anbar province, once a stronghold of al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorists, will allow it in March to become the 10th of 18 Iraqi provinces fully to be returned to Iraqi control.
Marine Maj. Gen. Walter E. Gaskin said levels of violence in Anbar have dropped so significantly — coupled with the growth and development of Iraqi security forces — that Anbar is ready to be handed back to the Iraqis:
‘We all agree . . . Anbar will be ready,’ for transfer of control to Iraqi provincial authorities in March, followed by a ceremony in April, Gen. Gaskin said.
Thus far, nine of 18 Iraqi provinces have reverted to Iraqi control, most recently the southern province of Basra in December.
Gen. Gaskin arrived in Anbar in February 2007. That was a turning point in the security situation in the provincial capital of Ramadi. The city now is largely pacified — a state of affairs that few would have predicted a year ago.
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Here’s a link to the report by Robert Burns of the Associated Press, which is the source material for this post. For obvious reasons Mr. Burns’ work is couched and organized differently.