Lost in this week’s news cycle is the victory of U.S. and Iraqi forces in the Sunni triangle city of Sammara. Iraqi troops fought alongside U.S. forces to retake control of Samarra. The combined forces killed 125 rebels and captured 88. Iraqi security forces now patrol the streets of Samarra.
This leaves three main trouble areas to deal with before the elections in January — Fallujah, Ramadi, and the Sadr City portion of Baghdad. The first two are held by Sunni insurgents; in Sadr City the problem is the army of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr. Sadr is said to be negotiating with the Iraqi government in the hope of arranging a deal whereby he would disband his army and participate in the political process. However, we have heard this before, and should remain skeptical.
As for Fallujah and Ramadi, they can expect what happened in Samarra this week. Unfortunately, though, Fallujah will almost surely be a much bloodier affair.
UPDATE: Captain’s Quarters has more on the latest “decision” of Muqtada Sadr to stop fighting and create a political party. Captain Ed cautions that Sadr “vacillates more on the future of Iraq than John Kerry does.”
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