Yes, the war in Iraq is over. The enemy has retreated to Pakistan, and those that remain are being hunted and killed.
More importantly, life in Iraq is starting to revolve around concerns other than war. Like art and culture...
Twenty renowned Iraqi artists, many of them professors at the Baghdad Art Institute, have agreed to participate in the Doura Art and Culture Show, “New Life, New Culture.”
The event’s organizer, Faruq Fu’ad Rafiq Hamdani of Baghdad’s Mansoor district, said he expects approximately 100 pieces of art including paintings, photographs, sculptures and conceptual art pieces to be displayed at the event.
“Southern Baghdad is not thought to be supportive of the arts,” explained Faruq, regarding the theme he personally selected. “Southern Baghdad has a reputation for violence, but this show will change that perception. This show will introduce a new way for the people of Iraq to live.”...
A group of Iraqi Soldiers stepped up to help California residents victimized by recent wildfires raging throughout the state.
Iraqi Army Col. Abbas Fadhil, Besmaya Range Complex commander, and his team of "Abbas' Eagles" raised $500 for wildfire relief.
"We want to send a message to the American president and the American people," Abbas said. "We feel that we are a family — one body. When one part of the body suffers, the other parts suffer, too."
This is the fourth donation the Soldiers of Besmaya have sent to the American people recently. In September, they raised $1,500 for victims of hurricanes Gustav and Ike. The Eagles also donated $500 to the National Sept. 11 Memorial.
Like Law and Order...
A new regional courthouse is taking shape to help Babil Province enforce the rule of law. The new $7 million facility is scheduled to be complete next spring.
“The Iraqi judiciary has a long and proud history going back before the founding of the country itself,” said Mark Robbins, Rule of Law advisor with the Babil Provincial Reconstruction Team.
“For the most part, the judiciary in Babil enjoys the respect of the people,” he said. “But many years of neglect under the previous regime has left it with a crumbling infrastructure and inadequate facilities to meet the rule of law needs of the local population.”
The construction of a new regional courthouse and upgrades to the previous facility have been complicated, Robbins said. But the PRT has remained committed to it. “We look forward to working with the Babil judiciary to ensure that it will soon work in a facility that better reflects the honor and respect of the Iraqi judiciary” he added....
This first group to complete the DNA Analysis and Theory course at the Ministry of Interior’s National Forensics Training Center was comprised of hand-selected college graduates with degrees in chemistry, biology or bio-chemistry and with experience as crime scene investigators.
“This training is wonderful for MoI and we look forward to putting this knowledge into action to help solve crimes,” said one of the graduates. “We were trained with the latest technology and went into each subject in-depth.”
Ted Smith, a DNA expert and former director of the West Virginia State Police Forensic Laboratory, conducted the training.
“I was amazed at how fast they learned. With the new equipment we are installing here they will have some of the most modern forensic laboratories,” said Smith.
Like empowering women
Nearly 40 local Iraqi business women gathered at Camp Mittica, Iraq, Nov. 17, as part of an Iraqi women’s business workshop orchestrated by the 7th Sustainment Brigade.
“This was a combined effort with Muthanna and Dhi Qar provincial reconstruction teams and the 7th Sustainment Brigade,” said Maj. Shawn D. Sanborn, finance operations, 7th Sust. Bde. “We’ve been having these workshops with men so we knew it was important to get women involved.”
Speakers for the workshop included members of the 7th Sust. Bde., the 217th Garrison Command, the Small Business Development Center for Nasiriyah and one of the Iraqi business women who attended the workshop. The speakers covered topics on business including the Iraqi Based Industrial Zone, micro grants, loans and how to create a business plan.
“It was a very good class with useful material,” said Batel Abuol Almer, chief engineer, attendee and speaker.“Today’s workshop really uncovered a lot of information and showed me how much interest they [Iraqi business women] have,” said Alison Kosnett, governance specialist, Provincial Reconstruction Team Muthanna. “It showed us that they’re serious and energetic and that there is entrepreneurial energy.”
Sovereign, peaceful, responsible, free and friendly to the US.
That's what the goal was for Iraq. And now this is possible.
Now it's mostly up to Iraq itself.