September 29, 2006


'The operation is on!' Iraq's Sunni tribes fight Al-Qaeda (Paul Schemm, 9/29/06, AFP)

Western Iraq's powerful sheikhs have launched an offensive against foreign Al-Qaeda extremists on their territory, they have said, in an important victory for the US-backed government.

"The operation is on!" said Sheikh Abdel Sattar Baziya, head of the Abu Risha clan and chair of the Anbar province tribal council.

"The sons of Anbar's tribes today captured three Saudis, two Syrians and three Iraqi teenagers and turned them over to police," he told AFP Friday.

Ever wonder if the folks who prepare these Intelligence estimates read the newspaper?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 29, 2006 12:34 PM

Only when looking to see if their latest leak made it above the fold.

Posted by: JAB at September 29, 2006 4:40 PM

The Bush administration had clearly made mistakes. Yet reporting on both Iraq and Afghanistan is so lame, it is hard to determine what the condition really is. Without that information, it is impossible for the public to make sound decisions on what to do next.

What we call the Iraq insurgency has actually been several. The first is the Saddamist Fedayeen. The second was the initial Sadrist Shi'ite rebellion. The third was the Al Qaeda element. Now it is a question of sectarian revenge killings. The first three have been defeated more or less, and the next phase has begun.

The problem is not one of military defeat, but a political problem. The US cannot provide security in Iraq. Furthermore, I do not think that the US has enough legitimacy in the region to provide one no matter how many troops. The solution must be a political one among Iraqis where the major local powers see more benefit in peace than war.

The problem for Bush is that no longer has any credibility among non-partisans that he can see victory to the end. Despite our successes, it looks like the violence will keep on happening without end. That is what demoralizes people. It also is what keeps hope alive among the enemy there.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 29, 2006 7:43 PM

We lost legitimacy there in '91.

Posted by: oj at September 29, 2006 7:49 PM

How positively droll that some should consider the dissolution of the spititual jailhouse a bad thing. We have all this talk about the Iraq campaign having been a "mistake" and all the while the most powerful state in the region is being taken off the board as completely as if we had reformed it into a sea of glass.

To overcome the enemy in a thousand battles is not the acme of excellence.

Posted by: Lou Gots at September 30, 2006 10:20 PM