Haifa Déjà Vu

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"For Haifa Street, a Welcome Calm" sounds similar to articles in the press in the Spring of 2005.

I was the Army's Civil Affairs team sergeant in the Haifa Street area from September 2004 until April 2005. Starting in mid-2004 there was considerable strife on Haifa Street, from numerous insurgent groups. By the spring of 2005, Haifa Street was held up as a success by our military leaders and politicians, as those insurgent groups had been "driven out" by Coalition forces, mostly U.S. and Iraqi forces. The apparent calm ended again in early 2007, highlighted by an extended battle in January 2007. Now once again, Haifa Street is held up as a model for change and success in Iraq. This is a deadly case of déjà vu. If the U.S. maintains our posture in Iraq, which leaves a U.S.-support solution available to Iraqi forces, we will be back on Haifa Street in a year, regardless of how "quietly" control is given to those Iraqi security forces. Haifa is an Iraqi Street, not an American street. Iraqi streets will continue to be our problem if we let them be.

Steve DeSpiegelaere


Burnsville , Minn.