Live from south Baghdad via yesterday’s John Gibson radio show. Consider it a companion piece to the dispatch linked round the world this morning. The assessment comes not from Yon himself but from a leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party he spoke with; we’ve heard rumblings lately that the military agrees but is understandably paranoid about declaring victory over AQI prematurely and having another “Mission Accomplished” fiasco on its hands. The most interesting tidbit here is his claim that Al Qaeda’s adapting its strategy of encouraging civil war from the national Sunni/Shiite level to a provincial inter-tribal level, doubtless to create some breathing space for itself by fracturing the coalitions (especially in Anbar) against them. That was surely one of the goals in killing Abu Risha, the leader of the Anbar awakening. Sounds like it hasn’t worked. Takeaway: “Even if their own sons support Al Qaeda, they will kill them.”

One point he doesn’t make here (but has made elsewhere) is the extent to which the sectarian violence has dropped simply because sectarian cleansing efforts have been so successful in parts of Baghdad. The LA Times is all over that this morning. (“Everyone in our neighborhood is Sunni, even the birds flying above us are Sunni.”) Read this too before you listen. It’s not related to Yon’s immediate subject but useful given the left’s religious conviction that Al Qaeda in Pakistan — the “real terrorists,” as they charmingly have it — is a wholly separate entity from Al Qaeda in Iraq. Even though, paradoxically, as another piece of leftist wisdom has it, the war has done nothing but create more shock troops for Osama.

A top Taliban commander said his group maintains good relations and military cooperation with the al-Qaida insurgents not only in Afghanistan but Iraq well.

«We have good and strong relations with al-Qaida mujahideen in Iraq, provide them with our expertise and share with them military information,» Taliban southern commander Dadullah Mansoor said Wednesday in a video produced by al-Qaida’s media production wing, as-Sahab.

The clip runs about nine minutes.