Daily Revolt

October 14, 2007

Generals in Iraq: al Qaeda Defeated, Victory at Hand

Are you sure? Remember the last time we declared victory in Iraq? And if it is victory, when are we leaving Iraq:
The U.S. military believes it has dealt devastating and perhaps irreversible blows to al-Qaeda in Iraq in recent months, leading some generals to advocate a declaration of victory over the group, which the Bush administration has long described as the most lethal U.S. adversary in Iraq.

But as the White House and its military commanders plan the next phase of the war, other officials have cautioned against taking what they see as a premature step that could create strategic and political difficulties for the United States. Such a declaration could fuel criticism that the Iraq conflict has become a civil war in which U.S. combat forces should not be involved. At the same time, the intelligence community, and some in the military itself, worry about underestimating an enemy that has shown great resilience in the past.

"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.

[...]Recent suicide bombings in northern Iraq have convinced some officials that AQI has moved its operations in that direction. But the officials said they do not know whether AQI militants have permanently decamped from Baghdad and Anbar or whether they are merely lying low in anticipation of a U.S. departure or the failure of Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to end the sectarian divisions that AQI fostered and now feeds upon.

Read entire Washington Post Article...

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