It must have been very difficult for the Washington Post to report about the good results coming from the US troop surge in Iraq. Perhaps the WaPo only did so because it was forced by the reality in the sheer drop of suicide/homicide bombings in and around Baghdad.
There is widespread agreement that AQI has suffered major blows over the past three months. Among the indicators cited is a sharp drop in suicide bombings, the group’s signature attack, from more than 60 in January to around 30 a month since July. Captures and interrogations of AQI leaders over the summer had what a senior military intelligence official called a “cascade effect,” leading to other killings and captures. The flow of foreign fighters through Syria into Iraq has also diminished, although officials are unsure of the reason and are concerned that the broader al-Qaeda network may be diverting new recruits to Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Clearly there are signs that the US is making headway against AQI, but only time will tell as to whether or not the down hill trend for the terror group is a lasting one. That the Washington Post actually printed the story, speaks more about the US victory than anything else.
The situation is far from clear though, with the decline in fighter/terrorists coming from Syria and perhaps a new emphasis on spreading mayhem in Afghanistan. But the other side of that coin is, AQI had a deep stake in driving the US out of Iraq, saying so in the countless messages intercepted by US coalition forces.
Iraq was the focal point in AQI’s fight against the West, but perhaps due to realities (boots) on the ground, and a shift in the Sunni tribes’ allegiances, AQI is being shown the door with the imprint of a sandal on its rear.
The Democrats must be doing some serious hand wringing right now, since they invested so much of their time and energy in depicting the fight for Iraq as a lost cause. Great going for the US forces. More here. *L* KGS
Update: Another nail in the coffin: “In a number of Shiite neighborhoods across Baghdad, residents are beginning to turn away from the Mahdi Army, the Shiite militia they once saw as their only protector against Sunni militants. Now they resent it as a band of street thugs without ideology.
The hardening Shiite feeling in Baghdad opens an opportunity for the American military, which has long struggled against the Mahdi Army, as American commanders rely increasingly on tribes and local leaders in their prosecution of the war.”
Power Line: It’s far too early, I think, to say that the tide has turned decisively in Baghdad, as it did in Anbar province. But the signs, including the sharp decline in U.S. and Iraqi civilian deaths, offer real hope. If even the New York Times can “suspend its disbelief,” it should not be difficult for the rest of us to entertain the possibility of success in Iraq.