Then, al-Maliki took on these militias and the surge happened. Contrast this report with this one. MEMRI’s report is posted in full here:
The absence of censorship over the sale of books, magazines, DVDs and CDs in Basra, the second largest city in Iraq, and across Iraq in general, has allowed bookstores to offer their customers all titles.
Recently, secular and even pornographic books are selling at a more rapid pace than the religious Shi’a books published in Iran and Beirut, some of which advocate hatred and violence.
The book by Sheikh ‘Abbas Abd Al-Nur (Egyptian) titled “My Ordeal with the Koran and Allah’s Ordeal in the Koran” which is banned in Cairo, Damascus and most Arab countries is selling in Basra “like ice cream in the summer.” Freedom is unlimited.
The provincial governor has permitted the sale of alcoholic beverages because denying their sale will violate individual freedoms guaranteed under the constitution.
Source: Sotiliraq, December 1, 2009
What’s important to notice is that armed extremists weren’t just defeated–their ideology was. This isn’t just a stunning turn-around in terms of security, but of culture and society.