On the Offensive
With the last combat brigade of the troop surge now in place, U.S. forces are going on the offensive in the key security belts surrounding Baghdad, according to General David Petraeus, the command of Multi-National Forces in Iraq.
Bill Roggio has an excellent summary of what's been happening in recent days in Iraq. Almost unnoticed has been the relative calm that's prevailed since last week's bombing of the twin minartets of the Al-Askaria mosque in Samarra. So far, the corresponding increase in sectarian violence has failed to materialize, for a couple of reasons. First, a curfew was imposed almost immediately after the bombing, keeping most Iraqi citizens off the streets, and making it easier for security forces to deal with the bad guys.
The lack of violence is also a reflection of the troop surge. With more U.S. soldiers and Marines on the street, and dozens of new security posts in troubled areas, security personnel can respond more quickly to the threat, and even provide a deterrent presence.
Clearly, the battle for Iraq is far from won. But the ability of security forces to keep a lid on the situation--in the wake of an obvious (and serious) provocation by Al Qaida--is an encouraging sign. There will be similar attacks in the coming days, more attempts to restoke the sectarian fires. But having enough troops to not only blunt enemy attacks--but take the fight to the terrorists' former safe havens--is a powerful antidote.
Now, if only someone could explain that to Harry Reid.
ADDENDUM: More thoughts on this topic from the estimable Michael Yon. He notes the role of "smart politics" in tamping down violence after the latest Samarra bombing--and it's not the kind of politics advocated by Senator Reid, Speaker Pelosi, or members of the Baker-Hamilton Commission (A hat tip to reader Marlin).