U.S. officials say not to expect concrete results until summer, but with the Sadrists lying low for now, murders are already down precipitously (yesterday’s bombing notwithstanding). Ever hopeful, Iraq the Model says DPs are already coming home:
Although attacks happen here and there, the general feeling is still closer to hope and appreciation of the plan than pessimism. More families are returning to the homes they were once forced to leave, and we’re talking about some of the most dangerous districts such as Ghazaliya and Haifa Street…
Al-Hurra TV aired a report on the story and interviewed some of the returning Baghdadis, one man said “those who returned earlier and saw the change in the situation called us and encouraged us to return, and I too will encourage the rest to come back”.
The more interesting report is from Eason Jordan’s outfit, Iraqslogger, which isn’t given to optimism and offers a mixed bag in its latest post, but with this tantalizing bit thrown in:
Youths were seen celebrating in the streets in the Washash area, apparently enjoying the militia’s inability to impose restrictions on the local population. The Mahdi Army has a very low profile in the city. In Mahdi Army strongholds, such as Sadr City and Washash, many individuals express relief that the militia’s control of these areas has lifted. Some residents had resented the religious laws imposed by the Mahdi Army in some areas where it is the dominant security presence.
Inside certain mosques in Ghazalia, Sunni and Shi`a Muslims have held common prayers. According to local sources, this practice started within the last few days.
If the locals are celebrating, they must be pretty confident the JAM isn’t there. Exit question: How’s Petraeus going to keep them from coming back?