A significant headline was missing in the news this week: Reconciliation talks held in Taji
As the report noted:
Sunni and Shia tribal sheiks from the Iraqi villages of Aqar Qaf, Bassam, Salamiyat and Fira Shia moved closer to reconciliation July 16 here during a meeting facilitated by the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment.
Bill Roggio has a similar headline - Iraq Report: Taji tribes turn on Mahdi Army and al Qaeda
U.S. forces continue the process of turning tribal leaders and Sunni insurgent groups against al Qaeda in Iraq. The latest success came in Salahadin province, where 25 Sunni and Shia tribes in and around the city of Taji banded together to fight both al Qaeda in Iraq and the Mahdi Army. Taji is just 12 miles north of Baghdad and sits along the strategic supply lines to the northern provinces.
The rest here.
These developments are only the tip of the iceberg, further proof along with Sunni Sheik cooperation with MNF-Iraq in Anbar Province, and Iraqi civilians informing on al Qaeda in Diyala.
But that's not all. al Qaeda is making itself new enemies: Al-Qaeda threatens to escalate attacks in North Africa
Worse, still for al Qaeda, as Captain's Quarters Blog notes, "The Times of London reports that US and Iraqi forces have developed dozens of informants within AQI in Baghdad, a nearly unthinkable accomplishment just a few months ago."
And in Iraq, al Qaeda's most publicized base of operations, Newsweek reports of internal feuding amongst al Qaeda members:
a power struggle within the senior ranks of Al Qaida, pitting the group's #2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri (and fellow members of his "Egyptian" faction), against a Libyan clique, led byAbu Yahya al-Libi.
Furthermore, as The Belmont Club describes, for al Qaeda and other Islamic Fundamentalists, Another Satan Emerges:
Make way for the Chinese. The News reports that the "attack on Chinese nationals in Balochistan is said to be the first reaction to Chinese government’s steps to curb Muslim insurgency in its own territory." This follows on recent attacks by Islamic radicals on Chinese in Islamabad. What's it all about? The Online Times describes the ongoing war between China and Islam on its Western boundaries.
...and in this case, terrorists may have bit off more than they can chew. Already enmeshed in an insurgency in Iraq, and having declared war on North Africa, Allah's holy warriors now have to face a ruthless totalitarian enemy:
But however that may be, China is waging a battle of cultural extermination against its Muslim minorities with a genuine ruthlessness, before the word became debased by the accusations of CAIR.
Wretchard sums up the difference between American use of force, to that of China or Russia, with amazing clarity:
One of the most fascinating questions -- one worthy of a book -- must be why Osama Bin Laden chose to order his suicide airplanes into Manhattan rather than say, Beijing or Moscow. Both these nations have been campaigning against Muslims for centuries. And the answer, I suspect, lies in the "excited commands and shouts of glee form the Chinese on the soundtrack". Or the veritable rain of shells that fell on Grozny in the recent past or the vicious campaign that still rages through Chechnya today. Maybe Bin Laden attacked America because he knew how it would fight. In a mode where even prisoners in Guantanamo Bay could insist upon their Korans being handled with white gloves, while a large section of America's own media would condemn this treatment as too harsh.
...War by al-Qaeda against China or Russia would have been just kinetic war. One in which radical Islam would lose 100 men, women and children for every Chinese or Russian it killed. That was a losing proposition. What Osama needed was information war, one which would allow him to dish out propaganda instead of take losses, and that could only be started by attacking the United States of America. Western politics would do the rest. Only after the information war started was it feasible to extend the military campaign. Strange as it may seem September 11 was a necessary prelude to attacking the Chinese.
There are times when I am tempted to think that the Western Left is radical Islam's Ring of Power. And the brilliance of al-Qaeda's reliance on it as a force-multiplier is that the defeat of radical Islam must consequently come at the price of altering the structure of post-war Western politics itself. In a sense the Western Left has become a hostage to the current world crisis, and perhaps the only part of the Left that understands this are the signatories of the Euston Manifesto, who realized that al-Qaeda had already claimed its political soul: that unconciously, almost imperceptibly, the Left in uncritical embrace of any foe of America had come to align itself with the most brutal, obscurantist, repressive theocrats on the planet. And would conceivably share its fate with them.
Meanwhile, Coalition Forces are on the offensive in Iraq:
The eastern portion of Baqubah has been cordoned, and Iraqi and U.S. forces are conducting "a deliberate, house-to-house search there for al-Qaida operatives." Multinational Forces Iraq reported that 67 insurgents have been killed, 253 captured and 151 improvised explosive devices and 24 booby-trapped buildings have been dismantled since Arrowhead Ripper began in Baqubah. Iraq's Ministry of Defense reported 67 insurgents have been killed and 50 captured during ongoing operations throughout Diyala province.
On July 16, U.S. forces conducted two raids in Haswah and Jabella. The Haswah raid netted eight members of an IED cell, including its leader, as well as a mobile IED factory. The Jabella raid, which was conducted with a battalion of Iraqi soldiers, targeted the Mahdi Army.
On July 15, over 9,000 U.S Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors, and Iraqi Army members launched Operation Matwani in the western expanses of the Euphrates River Valley... On July 3, one such al Qaeda team attempted to strike in Ramadi, but was routed south of the city by Coalition airpower and Iraqi ground forces.
More captured and killed
Special Forces captured 12 al Qaeda operatives during raids in Baghdad, Taji, Fallujah, and Ramadi on July 18 and 19. Raids in Tarmiyah resulted in three al Qaeda operatives killed and two captured on July 17. In Qayyarah, Iraqi troops captured the emir of the town along with three associates during a raid on July 15.
Operation Ithaca (my Alma mater)
Last week the 82nd Airborne launched “Operation Ithaca” on 12 July, and two days ago OnPoint interviewed Col Andrew Poppas, CO of 5th Squadron, 73rd Cav., about their part in the operation and its effect on both the locals and the insurgents.
In this brief but significant operation, 29 insurgents were killed, 23 were captured, and 8 locals who had been kidnapped and tortured by the insurgents were freed the day of their scheduled execution.
If US and Coalition forces have killed or captured such a large number of insurgents, if Osama bin Laden is dead, (or so it appears), if al Qaeda is fracturing, if Iraqi Sunni and Shi'a are turning their backs on the death cult... then isn't it about time Harry Reid recanted and apologized for his premature defeatist pronouncement that the Iraq war is lost?