Ryan Crocker: Al Qaeda in Iraq is near defeat

posted at 6:40 pm on May 24, 2008 by Allahpundit

Echoing what Gen. Dempsey said the other day and what Michael Yon’s been saying for months. Baseball Crank had an interesting short post last night that’s worth tagging here. Lost in the endless jeremiads about quagmire is the fact that the United States isn’t the only player in all this that’s been taught some hard lessons. With the eyes of the world upon them, AQ had a chance to fashion itself as a champion of Muslims against the west; instead they did everything they could to destroy the brand, to the point where, I suspect, their abiding scumminess is one of the few issues on which you’d find huge consensus among Iraqis across sectarian lines. Cue Ryan Crocker:

The U.S. ambassador to Iraq said Saturday that al-Qaida’s network in the country has never been closer to defeat, and he praised Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for his moves to rein in Shiite and Sunni militant groups…

“There is important progress for the Iraqi forces in confronting the Sunni and Shiite militias,” he said, speaking Arabic to reporters. “The government, the prime minister are showing a clear determination to take on extremist armed elements that challenge the government’s authority … no matter who these elements are.”

“You are not going to hear me say that al-Qaida is defeated, but they’ve never been closer to defeat than they are now,” Crocker said.

The U.S. military says attacks have dropped dramatically — down to an average of 41 a day across the country, the lowest rate since 2004 — amid the crackdowns and truces. The U.S. military, backed by Sunni Arab tribal fighters, have scored successes in battling al-Qaida in Iraq and other Sunni insurgents in western parts of the country.

“Near defeat” doesn’t equal “defeated” — follow the link for details on an assassination near Baquba — but the offensive in Mosul, one of the last cities with a major jihadi presence, has been successful enough for the Iraqi government to pronounce it cleared. It’ll take a few months to see whether that’s true or not, but it’s encouraging to see Iraqi troops working this theater while others roll into Sadr City. They can walk and chew gum at the same time. As, of course, can we. Exit quotation: “The increasing success and pace of airstrikes this year indicates that American spy agencies and their allies have made progress in infiltrating Al Qaeda in Pakistan, said Louis Caprioli, a former anti-terrorism chief of France’s DST intelligence agency.”


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How do those percentages vary when you factor in the guys that re-up’d?

Spirit of 1776 on May 25, 2008 at 12:32 AM

Don’t know (Actually I “misspoke” as it was ex military officers rather than just ex Army officers. I think it was ex, could have been ex and active duty, maybe.). I would think that among those who re-up it would be less thinking Iran and China have gained and more thinking the U.S. has gained, but they would be kind of a self selecting group though as those who thought that Iran and China were gaining more would be more likely to not re-up and of course there are a whole lot of things influencing if someone re-ups or not.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 12:50 AM

I agree with you analysis exactly. Both ex- and re’ups are self-selected, and would vary the results accordingly. Enjoy the balance of your evening, and as befitting this weekend, let me say – Thanks for your service.

Spirit of 1776 on May 25, 2008 at 12:57 AM

MB4 on May 24, 2008 at 11:58 PM

I think with that post, you have officially become the poster child for self-parody.

Congrats.

Or, in terms you might better comprehend, my clueless young and foolish friend (if I may be permitted to parody the self-parodist):

“A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.”
~ William Blake

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool then to speak out and remove all doubt.”
~Abraham Lincoln

“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.”
~ Plato

“The trouble ain’t that there is too many fools, but that the lightning ain’t distributed right.”
~ Mark Twain

—————–

No wonder you’re so fond of quoting Twain. If you have utterly no intellect and no means of expressing yourself, he certainly does the job admirably, doesn’t he?

He captures you in a way Plato can’t even touch.

In the unlikely event that you ever chose to think for yourself and quit quoting your intellectual superiors, I’d ask you just one question: I don’t wonder why you cheer so fervently against your own country – but I’d love to know why you take such joy in it.

Find me a good quote and get back to me on that.

Professor Blather on May 25, 2008 at 1:02 AM

Now all we have to do is correct the fatal flaw written into the Iraqi Constitution which allows for de facto Islamic Shari’a Law to be the rule of the land, and which reduces all the noble the efforts at building a nation, and all of the sacrificed blood and treasure a foredoomed folly.

Raising up nothing but an Islamic state as the end result of this entire effort makes a mockery of it all.

The “democracy” of the brainwashed.

And the rule of the theocratic lunatics.

Sistani on down.

profitsbeard on May 25, 2008 at 1:03 AM

In the year 2065 all German words will be at least fourteen syllables long.

ronsfi on May 24, 2008 at 8:03 PM

No, dear ronsfi, long before then there will be no German language. Pick up any German magazine or paper today and see haw many words in any phrase are already English. When a language dies, its people follow the same path.

profitsbeard on May 25, 2008 at 1:03 AM

+1

Entelechy on May 25, 2008 at 1:19 AM

Had the Americans destroyed the muslim capitals and “holy” sites, demanded OPEC’s accounts, and annexed the oil fields, al-Qaeda in Iraq would not have become relevant to the Americans in the first place. Instead, more than six years after the Americans’ government and financial center were attacked, their enemies are still ruling entire nations, amassing wealth, and spreading their ridiculous religion both by fvcking and by preaching. The Americans could have given the West time for resurgence; instead, they’ve almost defeated some guerrillas on the other side of the world.

Kralizec on May 25, 2008 at 1:24 AM

I think with that post, you have officially become the poster child for self-parody.

Or, in terms you might better comprehend, my clueless young and foolish friend (if I may be permitted to parody the self-parodist)

No wonder you’re so fond of quoting Twain. If you have utterly no intellect and no means of expressing yourself, he certainly does the job admirably, doesn’t he?

And I think with that post, “Professor”, you have officially become the poster child of vacuous ad hominem attacks and hatred.

BTW, “Young”? lol.

Find me a good quote and get back to me on that.

Professor Blather on May 25, 2008 at 1:02 AM

That’s what you resort to when you’re losing the debate — name-calling and ad hominem attacks.
- Michelle Malkin

Do you like that quote, “Professor”? No need to get back to me as I will “assume” that since it’s coming from Michelle Malkin you will like it.

BTW, you need to take some medication, probably something pretty strong. Maybe some counseling sessions would not be a bad idea too. I’m looking out for you now.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 1:43 AM

I’d ask you just one question: I don’t wonder why you cheer so fervently against your own country – but I’d love to know why you take such joy in it.

Professor Blather on May 25, 2008 at 1:02 AM

You are one really disturbed individual. Maybe you are just drunk or had a really bad day. Let’s hope for one of those.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 1:46 AM

I think with that post, you have officially become the poster child for self-parody.

Professor Blather on May 25, 2008 at 1:02 AM

BTW, Mr. Hater Grumpy do you even know what a parody is? That was a odd choice of words, with or without the ‘self’ in front of it for the comment of mine that you referenced, and especially with your being a professor.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 2:05 AM

It’s impractical to say the least unless we can manufacture oil out of thin air.

Spirit of 1776 on May 24, 2008 at 11:13 PM

Or drill for it.

And if you are lucky like me and you know foreign languages, then you will uncover the lies the U.S. media, the politicians and the Military are feeding you.

Indy Conservative on May 24, 2008 at 8:31 PM

Gee, I wish I was lucky enough to speak Arabic (or farsi or pashto or whatever) so I could uncover those lies. All I can do is speak English and uncover all those demorat lies you (and your totally non-conservative allies in the media) keep feeding me.

I think it was ex, could have been ex and active duty, maybe.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 12:50 AM

You’re quoting from memory? And your memory is unclear?

You lose the argument by default.

Squiggy on May 25, 2008 at 7:27 AM

Gee, I wish I was lucky enough to speak Arabic (or farsi or pashto or whatever) so I could uncover those lies. All I can do is speak English and uncover all those demorat lies you (and your totally non-conservative allies in the media) keep feeding me.

I’m laughing so hard I swallowed my dentures.

I’m gonna sue your ass.

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 7:44 AM

Let’s see now. We won the War in Iraq initially: killed Uday and Qusay, captured and then killed Saddam Hussein, and killed Zarcawi. Now, we’re on the edge of winning the Occupation, as well. Yet President Bush is still languishing in low poll numbers, and no credit whatsoever is given to him for either victory.

Mission has been accomplished two times over. (Three if you count Afghanistan.)

Just goes to show ya, you can defeat Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda, and every murderous Islamic Tyrant in the world, but you can’t defeat the American liberal media.

It’s a losing battle folks.

Eric Dondero, Publisher
Libertarian Republican blog

ericdondero on May 25, 2008 at 8:32 AM

In a recent survey 37% of ex Army Officers said that Iran had gained the most from our Iraq war, 21% said China and only 20% said the U.S. We are in effect making war against ourselves.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 12:21 AM

John Kerry and Eric Watada are ex Army officers. I doubt they would say anything good about our efforts, the facts be damned.

Gwillie on May 25, 2008 at 8:34 AM

We need to end this war in Iraq so we can go after Al Qaeda! /Obama

WisCon on May 24, 2008 at 8:42 PM

I can hardly wait for Imam Obama’s talk directly to the enemy mission to Waziristan.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 10:07 AM

John Kerry and Eric Watada are ex Army officers. I doubt they would say anything good about our efforts, the facts be damned.

Gwillie on May 25, 2008 at 8:34 AM

Great call. It’s a volunteer military; they can’t all be the best and the brightest.

China? Can’t wait for the tortured logic on that one.

Jaibones on May 25, 2008 at 10:08 AM

We need to end this war in Iraq so we can go after Al Qaeda! /Obama

WisCon on May 24, 2008 at 8:42 PM

Heh.

Jaibones on May 25, 2008 at 10:09 AM

In a recent survey 37% of ex Army Officers said that Iran had gained the most from our Iraq war, 21% said China and only 20% said the U.S. We are in effect making war against ourselves.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 12:21 AM

Care to enlighten us as to the date of this recent survey? Conducted by whom? Questions asked? Without such information, I’ll file this in the Lies/Damn Lies/Statistics category…

Nozzle on May 25, 2008 at 10:54 AM

I figured it up the other day: If we added up the killed and wounded in Democrat wars in this century, it would be about 1,600,000 Americans — enough to fill the city of Detroit.
- Bob Dole

MB4 on May 24, 2008 at 11:40 PM

Out of date. Under the inspired leadership of a Democratic administration the population of Detroit is under 950,000 poor souls; those without the means to escape.

Annar on May 25, 2008 at 11:55 AM

those without the means to escape. Annar on May 25, 2008 at 11:55 AM

You’re close. Remember the taxpayers (you and me) pay them to stay. A bird in the hand…

This is terrible news. We’ve almost won the war. Not a good sound byte at all for the Dhimmis.

Mojave Mark on May 25, 2008 at 12:10 PM

Where is this update?

US military downplays remarks on al-Qaida’s demise

By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer 37 minutes ago

The U.S. military distanced itself Sunday from remarks declaring al-Qaida in Iraq close to defeat, saying the terror network is “off-balance and on the run,” but remains a very lethal threat.

However, Rear Adm. Patrick Driscoll, a military spokesman, said violence has dropped some 70 percent since a U.S. troop buildup began nearly a year ago.

Underscoring the continuing dangers, a roadside bomb targeted a patrol of U.S.-allied Sunni Arab fighters near a mosque in northern Baghdad Sunday, killing one of the so-called Awakening Council members and wounding three others, a police official said.

Driscoll was responding to a question about comments made Saturday by U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, who said Iraqi forces have made important progress in confronting extremists.

“You are not going to hear me say that al-Qaida is defeated, but they’ve never been closer to defeat than they are now,” Crocker said, speaking in Arabic to reporters during a visit to the Shiite holy city of Najaf.

Driscoll said the number of attacks in the past week had “decreased to the level not seen since March 2004,” due to recent military operations against Shiite militias in Baghdad’s Sadr City and the southern city of Basra, as well as Sunni insurgents in the northern city of Mosul.

But he warned al-Qaida in Iraq maintains the ability to stage suicide bombings and other deadly attacks.

“They certainly are off-balance and on the run,” Driscoll said during a news conference in the U.S.-protected Green Zone in Baghdad. But, he added, the group “remains a very lethal threat.”

The U.S. military has been cautious in touting recent security gains amid fears that al-Qaida and other insurgents are trying to regroup after suffering setbacks from military operations as well as a Sunni revolt against the terror network.

Sunni tribal leaders who have joined forces with the Americans have frequently been targeted by suspected insurgents trying to derail the movement that has been credited as a key reason for the sharp decline in violence over the past year.

The other factors include a troop buildup of some 30,000 additional American forces, which is currently being reduced, and a fragile cease-fire order by anti-U.S. Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

In the past two months, Iraqi forces have launched three major operations: cracking down on Shiite militiamen in Basra and on al-Qaida in Iraq militants in the northern city of Mosul, and deploying in the Baghdad Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City.

Thousands of Iraqi forces moved into Sadr City last week, imposing control for the first time in years, and the deployment has occurred with little violence so far.

But over the past several days violence has broken out in other Shiite districts of Baghdad as Iraqi forces move against militias there, including the powerful Mahdi Army loyal to anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.

Clashes broke out before midnight Saturday between Shiite gunmen and U.S.-Iraqi troops in the Amin area in eastern Baghdad, killing two civilians and wounding three others, including a 4-year-old boy, according to police and hospital officials.

The officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information. The U.S. military said American troops targeted Shiite gunmen after observing them moving weapons into vehicles late Saturday in the area, wounding one of the militants.

Al-Sadr’s supporters accused Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki on Saturday of seeking to eliminate their movement and warned that “dark clouds” hang over a truce that has so far held in Sadr City.

Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, meanwhile, said security forces had released 251 detainees captured during operations in Mosul and surrounding areas, but 1,030 remained in custody.

He said some 2,000 al-Qaida and other Sunni insurgent fighters were believed to have been in the city before the sweep was launched. He said most of the militants who managed to flee the offensive in Ninevah province, of which Mosul is the capital, were being pursued in other provinces.

“Now they are in a confused situation,” he said at a joint news conference with Driscoll. “We will not allow them to reorganize themselves.”

___

Associated Press writer Bushra Juhi contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press.

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 1:13 PM

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 1:14 PM

Um, what was that?

I post the link and I got my nickname only?

I swear to Allah, it wasn’t my story….

Let me try again:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080525/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq&printer=1;_ylt=AshtMW9sxu_koCbjkpgXExkUewgF

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 1:15 PM

, I’ll file this in the Lies/Damn Lies/Statistics category…

Nozzle on May 25, 2008 at 10:54 AM

Al Gore does the very same thing when he sees information that questions Global Warming.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 1:19 PM

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Of course, because we live in country where people cry foul when we declare any sort of victory but elect politician who say the war is “lost.”

terryannonline on May 25, 2008 at 1:47 PM

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 1:15 PM

Of course, because we live in country where people cry foul when we declare any sort of victory but elect politician who say the war is “lost.”

terryannonline on May 25, 2008 at 1:47 PM

We live in a country where voters are idiots.

We live in a country where voters are idiots.

We live in a country where voters are idiots.

Three times for the idiots.

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 1:54 PM

Indy, we are the “Parliament of Whores

Entelechy on May 25, 2008 at 2:52 PM

Indy, we are the “Parliament of Whores“

Entelechy on May 25, 2008 at 2:52 PM

And the voters are the pimps.

Indy Conservative on May 25, 2008 at 3:02 PM

I think it was ex, could have been ex and active duty, maybe.
MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 12:50 AM

You’re quoting from memory? And your memory is unclear?
You lose the argument by default.
Squiggy on May 25, 2008 at 7:27 AM

97% of unclear memory is incorrect 83% of the time.

Beto Ochoa on May 25, 2008 at 5:56 PM

I think it was ex, could have been ex and active duty, maybe.

MB4 on May 25, 2008 at 12:50 AM

You’re quoting from memory? And your memory is unclear?

You lose the argument by default.

Squiggy on May 25, 2008 at 7:27 AM

It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize out of a number of facts which are incidental and which vital, otherwise your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being concentrated.

Holmes on May 25, 2008 at 11:11 PM

Holmes on May 25, 2008 at 11:11 PM

Agreed………

MB4

Why don’t you enlighten us with your extensive intellect and wisdom on what an Al Qaeda terrorist would look like when they are standing next to you before the bomb went off…………

Seven Percent Solution on May 25, 2008 at 11:28 PM

Let’s see now. We won the War in Iraq initially: killed Uday and Qusay, captured and then killed Saddam Hussein, and killed Zarcawi. Now, we’re on the edge of winning the Occupation, as well. Yet President Bush is still languishing in low poll numbers, and no credit whatsoever is given to him for either victory.

ericdondero on May 25, 2008 at 8:32 AM

This is exactly the situation that troubles me so much about our current political situation. Granted that President Bush has done an extremely poor job of making the case that he deserves such credit – nothing about Dubya puzzles me more than his disappearing act, post-2004 – I’m always surprised to hear intelligent people ranting about how terrible he’s been. No credit at all for the security of the nation, post 9/11, or the remarkable recovery of the economy after that devastating blow… would anyone have believed, in the days immediately after 9/11, that we’d get to 2008 without another major terror attack? Would anyone in the winter of 2001 have been willing to accept a President Al Gore holding endless talks with the Taliban, and perhaps sending a sternly worded letter to them? Would the Bush Administration have gained anything, either domestically or internationally, by backing down from Saddam’s endless Security Council violations, and would any sane (i.e. non-nutroots) critc of Bush’s really have preferred the security situation of a healthy and wealthy Saddam financing terror worldwide, and maybe getting closer to those weapons of mass destruction in tandem with Iran?

Bush has made plenty of mistakes, but in the big strategic picture, the best possible moves have been made, given the intelligence and resources available. I personally think the biggest single blunder was allowing so much of the Iraqi Army to trot on home as we rolled up to Baghdad, providing manpower, military training, and weapons for the insurgency, and a runner-up was failing to sanitize the Iranian border (with extensive cross-border air strikes as needed) to keep them out of it. I hope our strategists have absorbed those lessons… extending superior humanitarian and diplomatic considerations to a brutal enemy only prolongs the brutality.

Even conservatives often accuse the Bush Administration of a certain blindness to the way things would play out in Iraq, but I wonder if perhaps some in the Administration were not, in fact, eerily prescient. In the face of a hostile media and domestic political opposition that has persuaded itself to relish defeat, against a diffuse enemy united by ideology, but smart enough not to demand direct confrontations with an irresistable U.S. military… working against a political clock that ticks in weeks and months, while the enemy thinks in generations and millenia… I wonder if some of the people planning the big show in 2001-2003 didn’t realize they would only get one shot at resolving the War On Terror without unspeakable levels of bloodshed. Afghanistan was always too small to send the necessary message to the global jihad. It had to be Iraq or Iran, and one must remember the causus belli for action against Iraq was vastly stronger in 2003, despite the fasionable tendency for the global Left to pretend Cheney and Rumsfeld were the Lucy Ramirez and Dan Rather of their day. I am very, very glad that our one shot looks to be working out at last.

Doctor Zero on May 26, 2008 at 12:47 AM

I’m sorry some are so upset by our success. I could try less, or tell the IA to slow down…

Nah, I think I’ll just keep trying to pour it on. MB4′s of the world still preaching the Bad News aside, of course.

major john on May 26, 2008 at 4:37 PM

Doctor Zero on May 26, 2008 at 12:47 AM

Doug Feith’s book,based on his extensive memos and notes at the time of the pre-liberation of Iraq,substantiates the fact that plenty of post-invasion scenarios were discussed in depth. Timmerman’s Shadow Warriors also makes that claim.

Saboteurs within the entrenched careerist establishment at State and in the Pentagon, jealous of maintaining their own power, put out the message that there was no post-war planning. That was the narrative that the media preferred to establish and promote. Currently, no major newspaper has reviewed Feith’s book. Why not?

onlineanalyst on May 26, 2008 at 9:44 PM

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