Sunday, July 6, 2008

The Fat Lady's Singing

Marie Colvin of the Times Online writes that it's all but over for al Qaeda in Iraq:

American and Iraqi forces are driving Al-Qaeda in Iraq out of its last redoubt in the north of the country in the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terror.

After being forced from its strongholds in the west and centre of Iraq in the past two years, Al-Qaeda's dwindling band of fighters has made a defiant "last stand" in the northern city of Mosul.

A huge operation to crush the 1,200 fighters who remained from a terrorist force once estimated at more than 12,000 began on May 10.

Operation Lion's Roar, in which the Iraqi army combined forces with the Americans' 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, has already resulted in the death of Abu Khalaf, the Al-Qaeda leader, and the capture of more than 1,000 suspects.

The group has been reduced to hit-and-run attacks, including one that killed two off-duty policemen yesterday, and sporadic bombings aimed at killing large numbers of officials and civilians.

Last Friday I joined the 2nd Iraqi Division as it supported local police in a house-to-house search for one such bomb after intelligence pointed to a large explosion today.

American and Iraqi leaders believe that while it would be premature to write off Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Sunni group has lost control of its last urban base in Mosul and its remnants have been largely driven into the countryside to the south.

Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, who has also led a crackdown on the Shi'ite Mahdi Army in Basra and Baghdad in recent months, claimed yesterday that his government had "defeated" terrorism.

If Iraq is off the table by November what issue will dominate the election? And why haven't we been hearing about this development in Iraq from our own media? Or is that a silly question?

HT: Eric Allie


<i>The God Delusion</i> Posts

My brother Bill, who handles all the technical duties here at Viewpoint, has collated the series on The God Delusion and put them in the Hall of Fame on the left of this page. That'll make the posts much more accessible for those who might want to refer to them in the future.