The decision of Mr Maliki of Iraq to take on militants in Basra with an ultimatum to lay down their arms, which impressed the Mehdi Army so much that they completely ignored it, is a defining moment for democracy in Iraq. I would like to stress that Mr Maliki's action proves beyond doubt the ability of Iraq's forces to stand on their own two feet completely unaided by the West because no coalition forces whatsoever have in any way been involved in operations - apart from the US Air Force and the British Army.<br><br>km<br><br>