Sunday, May 25, 2008

Al Qaeda Failing In Iraq

Our ambassador in Iraq, Ryan Crocker, is a man not given to overstatement. Thus, things must indeed be looking bad for al Qaeda in Iraq indeed for Ambassador Crocker to chacracterize thier situation as near defeat.

This from the AP:

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq said Saturday that al-Qaida's network in the country has never been closer to defeat, and he praised Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his moves to rein in Shiite and Sunni militant groups.

Iraqi forces have been conducting crackdowns on al-Qaida militants in the northern city of Mosul and on Shiite militiamen in the southern city of Basra. Thousands of Iraqi forces also moved into the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad last week imposing control for the first time in years.

. . . U.S Ambassador Crocker spoke as he visited reconstruction projects in the southern city of Najaf.

"There is important progress for the Iraqi forces in confronting the Sunni and Shiite militias," he said, speaking Arabic to reporters. "The government, the prime minister are showing a clear determination to take on extremist armed elements that challenge the government's authority ... no matter who these elements are."

"You are not going to hear me say that al-Qaida is defeated, but they've never been closer to defeat than they are now," Crocker said.

The U.S. military says attacks have dropped dramatically — down to an average of 41 a day across the country, the lowest rate since 2004 — amid the crackdowns and truces. The U.S. military, backed by Sunni Arab tribal fighters, have scored successes in battling al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents in western parts of the country.

The Mosul sweep aims to dislodge the terror network from its most prominent remaining urban stronghold. . . .

Read the entire article. This coming from Ambassador Crocker is indeed good news. It also fits with bin Laden's November comments that Iraq was, in so many words, lost to al Qaeda, and now, in his most recent tape, not even mentioning Iraq. This also coincides with a significant weakening of the al Qaeda brand world-wide, as discussed in the TNR article about which I blogged here.

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