To its credit, CNN has done a bang-up job lately covering the one bit of good news in Iraq these days. Petraeus recently called the security improvements in Anbar “breathtaking;” anecdotal evidence suggests he’s right. The question is, as it’s been all along, what’ll happen to these tribesmen if and when Al Qaeda is repelled and we pull out. Swords into ploughshares is the hope, warlordism is the likely possibility. This report comes from Diyala province, which is now AQ HQ thanks to the backlash in Anbar. Looks like they’re making friends there too. Click the image to watch.

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Back in Baghdad, Maliki appears less concerned with the fact that sectarian killings are inching back up towards pre-surge levels than with the fact that Iyad Allawi’s still trying to replace him. Allawi is a Sunni puppet, he insists, conveniently neglecting to mention that (a) Allawi’s a (secular) Shiite and (b) the reason he has Sunni support is because Maliki himself is suspected of being an Iranian puppet. And speaking of which, read Bill Roggio’s analysis of what U.S. troops have been doing in Sadr City lately. The Khazali network should be vaguely familiar to you: I’ve written about them several times, first when Khazali himself was arrested back in March and several times since in connection with trafficking in EFPs and pepetrating the Karbala operation in which five U.S. troops were kidnapped and killed. Roggio says they’re being supplied by another network — the Sheibani network, which See-Dub wrote about during my vacation. What’s the common thread between them? As though you need to ask:

Iran’s Qods Force has set up the Qazali and Sheibani networks to provide for plausible deniability. “Military intelligence officers describe their Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps counterparts’ strategy as one of using “nonattributable attacks” by proxy forces to maximize deniability” Time noted in 2005. Qods has established their Iraqi networks to be manned by Iraqi operatives, which provides a degree of separation from the Iranian regime…

Leaders within Sheibani Network, and by extension the Qazali network, while Iraqi in nationality, are members of Iran’s Qods Force.