October 22, 2007

Al Qaida in Iraq dealt a serious blow?

According to the WaPo, yes. Which will make, what, the 18th time we've heard this story? Not everyone is as sure as the White House...

"I think it would be premature at this point," a senior intelligence official said of a victory declaration over AQI, as the group is known. Despite recent U.S. gains, he said, AQI retains "the ability for surprise and for catastrophic attacks." Earlier periods of optimism, such as immediately following the June 2006 death of AQI founder Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a U.S. air raid, not only proved unfounded but were followed by expanded operations by the militant organization.

There is widespread agreement that AQI has suffered major blows over the past three months. Among the indicators cited is a sharp drop in suicide bombings, the group's signature attack, from more than 60 in January to around 30 a month since July. Captures and interrogations of AQI leaders over the summer had what a senior military intelligence official called a "cascade effect," leading to other killings and captures. The flow of foreign fighters through Syria into Iraq has also diminished, although officials are unsure of the reason and are concerned that the broader al-Qaeda network may be diverting new recruits to Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Of course, today was a big day in geopolitics, with Syria voicing support for Turkey (strange) and bin Laden (who doesn't matter, remember?) staged a comeback with another tape on al Jazeera.

Osama Bin Laden has called on fighters in Iraq to unite and stand shoulder to shoulder in a new audiotape. In the tape broadcast by Al Jazeera on Monday, a voice sounding like bin Laden admitted that mistakes have been made in Iraq and exhorted the fighters to rectify them. "Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your ranks," bin Laden said. "Beware of division ... The Muslim world is waiting for you to gather under one banner."

Again, I'd just like to ask... why isn't this guy dead yet?

Posted by mcblogger at October 22, 2007 02:23 PM

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