General Benjamin R. Mixon who is responsible for 6 northern provinces, including Bagubah reported in a press release that it may be possible to draw down troops in his area starting in early 2008 and that Nineva province is almost ready to be turned over to Iraqi control
Speaking about Iraq’s Nineva province, the general said the provincial government and security forces there continue to grow and improve. Mixon said he has observed the 2nd and 3rd Iraqi Army Division and Iraqi police providing security to provincial residents requiring scant coalition assistance.
“Based on this assessment, I have recommended that Nineva province go to provincial Iraqi control in August,” he said. Though a handover to the provincial government is a sign of progress, Mixon added that it alone won’t usher in a reduction of U.S. troops, who will continue to partner with Iraqi security forces there, he said.
MNF-I has a progress map tracking this, but I can never find it. I'll have to route you to Bill Roggio as that one I can find. That will be the 8th province out of 18.
And, just to show you I can find the "warm fuzzy" stories too. Here's one regarding a celebration in al Anbar you'll enjoy. It's about a celebration of the Anbar Salvation Council/Anbar Awakening and it's accomplishments. The Alwani Tribe of Ramadi planned the conference to build community ties and celebrate the unity with coalition and government forces, while denouncing insurgent activities. This happened just days after Donkey Island, so they certainly seem to have some resolve. The whole thing is an excellent read. DVIDS video of the Promise of the People Conference
I'm also trying to figure out where we need to be watching now. I think we need to watch Baghdad, for obvious reasons, Baqubah because it was less than a month ago that Al Qaeda claimed it as their capitol of the caliphate they were intending to build in Iraq, and Ramadi, mainly because I keep hearing that everything coming in from Syria has to go through Ramadi. That will make it a major prize for all sides. Something tells me AQI will be trying to go back after it again.