Minor Thoughts from me to you

Turning a Corner in Iraq?

I've been reading more good news from Iraq. Here's a brief roundup.

Officials: Shiites Interested in Alliance With American Troops

American commanders in southern Iraq say Shiite sheiks are showing interest in joining forces with the U.S. military against extremists, in much the same way that Sunni clansmen in the western part of the country have worked with American forces against Al Qaeda.

Standing up the Concerned Citizens in southern Baghdad - The Long War Journal. This is critical because southern Baghdad is far more complex -- politically, ethnically, and religiously -- than Anbar is. And yet:

The impact of the Concerned Citizens on security in regions where these units have been established is unmistakable. In Haswa, IED attacks have dropped by 80 percent. Casualty causing IED attacks have dropped by 60 percent throughout Multinational Division Central’s battlespace. Markets are beginning to reopen and reconstruction projects are moving forward.

Empty wards in Baghdad hospital offer hope

A row of beds lies empty in the emergency ward of Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital. The morgue, which once overflowed with corpses, is barely a quarter full.

Doctors at the hospital, a barometer of bloodshed in the Iraqi capital, say there has been a sharp fall in victims of violence admitted during a seven-month security campaign.

Last month the fall was particularly dramatic, with 70 percent fewer bodies and half the number of wounded brought in compared to July, hospital director Haqi Ismail said.

"The major incidents, like explosions and car bombs, sometimes reached six or seven a day. Now it's more like one or two a week," he told Reuters.

All three of these articles sound like reason for optimism about Iraq. We'll have to see if it holds up -- especially once General Petraeus starts withdrawing troops -- but I can't help but feel that we and the Iraqi people are slowly turning a corner.