The Fourth Rail has the latest on Operation Steel Curtain and the fighting in Ubaydi. The insurgency has less and less room to maneuver and they're finding that there are more and more competent Iraqi forces with which to contend. The dilemma they face is this: They cannot afford to drain their forces out of Iraq and relocate elsewhere because to lose Iraq is to lose not only a base of operations but also to suffer a psychological defeat in the minds of all Arab people. Arabs will run with the strong horse. A defeat in Iraq means that that horse isn't them.
On the other hand, they cannot afford to stay and fight because they're simply not winning. They're losing militarily and the only thing they're gaining is the everlasting enmity of the Iraqi people. Their only chance is that the Americans will weary of the fight and withdraw. They can hope that the "useful idiots" among the American political Left and media can somehow weaken George Bush to the point where he cannot continue the war. If so, the insurgents will snatch victory from defeat and Iraq will be theirs.
If Bush prevails against his domestic foes, however, then al Qaida will probably seek to set up shop in a nearby country from which they can continue to conduct a low-level insurgency in Iraq and Jordan. Their problem is that there aren't any obvious havens for them anymore. Syria and Iran might have welcomed them in the past but to do so now is to invite an unpleasant visit from the United States Air Force and there's no reason why either of those countries would want that. Iran, in particular, will be very reluctant to give our bombers an excuse to raid their airspace and an opportunity to drop an extra bunker buster or two on their nuclear facilities.
It's looking bleak indeed for the jihadis. On the bright side, though, they can anticipate a delightful sojourn shortly with their seventy two virgins.