This blog was among the first to report the recent, dramtic decrease in enemy attacks against our military forces in Iraq. Despite a slight increase in insurgent activity in recent days, the overall level of violence is 55-60% below the levels of last November and December. The number of violent incidents--nationwide--is running about 300 a week, substantially below the levels reported during last year's Mahdi Army rebellion, and the run-up to the Iraqi elections in January.
Elements of the MSM initially suggested that the rebels were simply regrouping, looking to modify their tactics--and targeting--in the wake of the successful election. As we pointed out, there was also a military reason behind the drop in violence. Our successful offensive in Fallujah last November eliminated more than 1,000 terrorists--and a major base for insurgent operations. Subsequent raids killed more terrorists and provided actionable intelligence that led to the arrest of key aids of Al-Zarqawi, dealing another major blow to the insurgents.
It doesn't take a military analyst to see that the tide is turning in Iraq. And now, like a bloodhound with a sinus condition, the MSM may have finally caught the sent of this important story. CBSNews.com recently reprinted an NRO column by James Robbins, who notes the desperate nature of last weekend's terrorist attack on the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad. Launched in an effort to "free the brothers and sisters held there," this raid (apparently staged by Al Qaida elements) was a spectacular failure. Perhaps one-third of the 50 attackers died; no U.S. soliders or Marines were killed, and not a single prisoner was freed.
Terrorists claimed by the attack was a great success, but (as Mr. Robbins notes), with a few more "victories" like this, the insurgency will soon be over. Someone might want to e-mail Robbins' column to Martha Raddatz, the Pentagon correspondent for ABC News. In her recent report on the Abu Ghraib attack, she sounded grave warnings about its significance, noting the level of planning and coordination required to execute that operation. Predictably, Ms. Raddatz misses the salient point; the prison raid was a resounding defeat for the terrorists, and reflects an increasing sense of desperation in their tactics.