Shock: Major attacks decline by 50% in Iraq

Says the USA Today:

The number of truck bombs and other large al-Qaeda-style attacks in Iraq have declined nearly 50% since the United States started increasing troop levels in Iraq about six months ago, according to the U.S. military command in Iraq.

The high-profile attacks — generally large bombs hitting markets, mosques or other “soft” targets that produce mass casualties — have dropped to about 70 in July from a high during the past year of about 130 in March, according to the Multi-National Force — Iraq.


Why? The surge and the awakening.

Al-Qaeda militants generally attempt large, headline-grabbing incidents aimed at symbolic targets or mass casualties. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, for example, claimed responsibility for the April suicide bomb attack on parliament.

Successes against al-Qaeda have also been helped by shifting Sunni public opinion and a growing number of insurgent defections, the military says.

“Tribes and people are starting to stand up and fight back,” said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commander of the U.S. division north of Baghdad. “They are turning against al-Qaeda.”

This is great news, no doubt. 70 attacks in a month still means that there are more than 2 bombings per day somewhere in Iraq, but the trend line is going in the right direction. Ironically, it’s just as the surge and the awakening are starting to pay off that the Iraqi government seems to be in a freefall and the British seem to be bugging out and slipping in a shiv as they exit. Public opinion on the war in the US is ticking up, reflecting the trend in news from Iraq, but across the pond the Beeb is fantasizing about putting Tony Blair on trial for his role in the Iraq war.

We’re in a race against time now: Can US public opinion hold out, can the Iraqi people maintain their indigenous fight against al Qaeda, and can that create enough unity to make the political situation in Baghdad improve, or will the Democrats and the insurgents hold out long enough for Basra to collapse and anti-war pressure bubble up enough to force our hand?


Photo of US and Iraqi troops in Baquba, Iraq from DVIDS

Update (AP): From Michael Yon’s latest:

Large numbers of Iraqis detested us after the prisoner abuse stories, and some over-the-top attacks on Fallujah, for example. But through time, somehow the American military has managed to establish a moral authority in Iraq. It’s not the only authority, but the military has serious and increasing moral clout. In the beginning, our influence flowed from guns, or dropped from the wings of jets. Later it was the money. Today, the clout still is partially from the gun, and definitely the money is key, but there is an intangible and growing moral clout and it flows from an increasing respect among Iraqis for our military. Washington has no moral clout in Iraq. Washington looks like a circus act. The authority is coming from our military. The importance of this fact would be difficult to understate.

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Jazz Shaw 8:01 PM on October 02, 2023