Iraqi Army Becoming Independent of Coalition Forces

More good news from Iraq... sorry, defeatists:

Iraqi officers today are — by and large — hard-working, battle-seasoned, and generally incorruptible. There are exceptions, (as in any army), but as Iraqi Brigadier General Ishmayil Shihab Muhammad says, “We will deal with them.”

At 42, Gen. Ishmayil is the face of the new officer corps: An old corps commander in the new army, who demands adherence to exacting standards of loyalty to post-Saddam Iraq and a commitment to fighting terrorists. Ishmayil is a career officer whose combat-leadership experience stretches back to the Iran-Iraq War (1980-88) when he was a second lieutenant. Today, he commands the 2,100-man 3rd Brigade of the 7th Iraqi Army Division, a crack force of infantry that now operates as lead security in the extreme west of Al Anbar Province. The U.S. Marines, who have trained and conducted missions with the brigade for well over a year, continue to operate in the region, but only in a “tactical overwatch” capacity.

“This brigade continues to conduct offensive operations to disrupt insurgent activity as they provide a secure environment for the people of the region to provide for their livelihood,” Lt. Col. Jason Bohm,
the task-force commander of 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, told National Review Online last week. “The brigade is now receiving orders directly from its higher headquarters, the 7th Iraqi Army Division, and issuing orders directly to its subordinate battalions without having to work through us.”
An interview with General Ishmayil follows this excerpt... it's worth reading. I'll highlight one exchange here:
SMITH: What is the Iraqi perception of the American Marine presence? How do they feel when they see Americans moving through and operating in their neighborhoods here in Anbar?

For the past two years the relationship has gotten better and better. Prior to that, there was the fear that American Marines and Army were here as occupiers and would only hurt or damage Iraq. But what the people actually saw, in a practical sense, was that al Qaeda members were the ones hurting Iraqis and destroying infrastructure. So the Iraqis here weighed the good and the bad and realized that al Qaeda was bad and the Americans were good. The Americans are helping Iraqis, trying to make their lives better, and the ordinary Iraqis see and realize this.
And that is why we are winning, and cannot stop now.