Yeah, I wrote about it six weeks ago. We’re on an unofficial timetable no matter what happens in Congress so expect plenty more of this over the next 10 weeks. It’s a cycle of emboldenment!

Sunni extremists are likely to try a series of high-profile attacks to grab the headlines ahead of a watershed report to Congress in September on political and military progress in Iraq, the top U.S. commander said Saturday.

“We expect they will try this — pull off a variety of sensational attacks and grab the headlines to create a ‘mini-Tet,'” Gen. David Petraeus said in an interview with The Associated Press.

He was referring to the 1968 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Tet offensive that undermined public support for the Vietnam War in the United States. The offensive failed to achieve most of its tactical goal but it shattered political support for the Vietnam War among the U.S. public.

I don’t see why he’s only expecting it from AQ and the Sunnis. Iran stands to gain at least as much from a U.S. pullout as they do. Their proxies should be looking to strike too, unless the leadership thinks Bush would respond with an attack on Iran. Which, given how disaffected the Iranian population is right now, might be less of a bug than a feature in rallying the public to the regime’s side. I’m sure that’s one of the reasons Petraeus has been quietly rolling up Iranian-backed Shia cells and their celebrity instructors even while Bush obsesses publicly about Al Qaeda. He’s trying to head Iran off at the pass.

Santorum thinks the writing’s on the wall and expects plenty of blowback.

Update: I’m honestly not sure if this would hurt Bush or help him at this point. Maliki’s his guy but if a change at the top helps to move some of the benchmark legislation through parliament, it’s a big boost.

I doubt they have the votes, in any case.

CBS News has learned that on July 15, [senior Iraqi leaders] plan to ask for a no-confidence vote in the Iraqi parliament as the first step to bringing down the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki…

Iraq’s prime minister is facing his most serious challenge yet. The no-confidence vote will be requested by the largest block of Sunni politicians, who are part of a broad political alliance called the Iraq Project. What they want is a new government run by ministers who are appointed for their expertise, not their party loyalty.

The Iraq Project is known to the highest levels of the U.S. government. CBS News has learned it was discussed in detail on Vice President Dick Cheney’s most recent visit to Baghdad, when he met with the Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi…

Leaders of the Iraq Project claim they have the necessary votes to force al-Maliki to resign, but that has yet to be tested in parliament.