Monday, March 17, 2008

Insurgents or Arabian Wolves: Security Threats in Iraq

The nature of security in Iraq is changing, as indicated by new reports on progress in Iraq:

ABC News reports that 55 percent of Iraqis said life is good in Iraq, with just a quarter indicating that security is the biggest problem they face:

Improved security and economic conditions have reversed Iraqis' spiral of despair, sharply improving hopes for the country's future. Yet deep problems remain in terms of security, living conditions, reconciliation and political progress alike.

Fifty-five percent of Iraqis say things in their own lives are going well, well up from 39 percent as recently as August. More, 62 percent, rate local security positively, up 19 points. And the number who expect conditions nationally to improve in the year ahead has doubled, to 46 percent in this new national poll by ABC News, the BBC, ARD German TV and the Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Without directly crediting the surge in U.S. forces, fewer report security as the main problem in their own lives – 25 percent, nearly half its peak last spring. Forty-six percent say local security has improved in the past six months, nearly double last summer's level.

The number of Iraqis who feel entirely unsafe in their own area has dropped by two-thirds, to 10 percent. And with Sunni Arab buy-in, U.S.-funded Awakening Councils, created to provide local security, are more popular than the Iraqi government itself.
Security, of course, is still an issue, but it turns out that things have improved so much, the media's reporting on new dangers facing the Iraqi people: Arabian wolves:

The bloodthirsty enemy had gathered on the city's perimeter, but this time the locals were ready.

They had formed armed committees similar to the "Sons of Iraq" forces fighting off Al Qaeda in Iraq militants in western Iraq. They were gearing up for a fight.

Their foes had been attacking them with increasing abandon on the outskirts of this river city 145 miles southeast of Baghdad. They struck along the harsh desert plain leading to Saudi Arabia. They came day or night.

Among children, supernatural powers were attributed to these adversaries. They could withstand intense cold, according to legend, and their eyes changed from yellow to orange to green.

There would be no mercy for this enemy. And no negotiations.

The enemy, after all, was packs of hungry gray wolves who had overcome their fears of humans and had begun feasting on livestock, right in front of farmers.

"The locals formed armed groups, exchanging shifts throughout the day in order to protect people, cattle, sheep, and also children and women heading to schools, from those ferocious wolves," said Mohammed abu Reesha. "They appear during the day and don't fear bullets and challenge even men holding rifles."

The Arabian wolf, a subspecies of the gray wolf, is among the most impressive predators in the Middle East. It grows up to 6 1/2 feet long and stands as tall as 3 1/2 feet, weighing up to 120 pounds, said veterinarian Fahad abu Kaheela. It has powerful jaws and can sprint at speeds of 40 mph.

The wolves hunt strategically, organizing themselves into packs and communicating via howls at different tones. They've been prowling Iraq's dusty wastelands for hundreds of years.

But something strange happened this year. Locals believe the wolves must have crossed some threshold of desperation or hunger, reached a tipping point that had prevented them from venturing onto human turf. They overcame their fear of people and began entering towns and villages to feast on sheep and cattle.
One of the things that's happened, obviously, is Iraq's frontier life's returning to the normal patterns of pastoral existence over the millenia.

This is not to discount the terrible violence many Iraqis still experience, as rag-tag bunches of terrorists still seek to overthrow the regime.

But all the left-wing antiwar denials of progress in Iraq look all the more pathetic when for much of the population the most immediate menace is an enemy whose presence long preceded any of those of the current war.

See more at Hot Air, Strata-sphere and Memeorandum.