Grounds for cautious optimism in Baghdad

At this point, it would be rash to be anything more than cautiously optimistic about the “surge” in Baghdad. But grounds for limited optimism exist, though the MSM isn’t likely to report them. As John has noted, the surge already has produced a sharp decline in the number of victims of sectarian violence. And now we learn (via Red State) that the Iraqi security forces have taken tactical control of the Baghdad surge, known as Operation Fard al-Qanun. This, in turn, has made the local population more inclined to cooperate with the effort against terrorists. In addition, attacks on coalition forces are down.
In another positive development, U.S. forces have commenced “clearing operations” in Sadr City, the stronghold of the Shia militias. Local residents reportedly have been receptive to our forces, which have met no resistance. Of course, the militias are still around and intact somewhere, and will have to be dealt with eventually. But our incursion into Sadr City should help convince the Sunnis of our good faith and, as the residents of Sadr City get used to living without the visible presence and “protection” of militias, the task of re-establishing themselves may prove difficult for the militants.
Finally, whatever limited truth may once have attached to the Democrats’ defeatist mantra that we’re placing ourselves “in the middle of a civil war,” this claim doesn’t seem to be true at the present time.
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