A “knowledgeable Iraq observer” over at Laura Rozen’s place offers some commentary and analysis of the surge, including background on the dynamics in play between Iraq’s ethnic groups, the role of Al Queda in Iraq, and whether our additional troops has had any effect at all:
What about the former insurgents that are now cooperating with U.S. forces in Anbar, Diyala, Salah ad Din, etc.? Did they need American protection to flip? I doubt it. Let’s keep in mind, AQI is a vicious terrorist organization, but they are maybe 5% of the insurgency and are responsible for 10-15% of insurgent attacks ((see: The Myth of AQI)). So, for surgenistas to be right that the “former” insurgents that are now cooperating to go after AQI needed our protection, we would have to conclude that the other 95% of the insurgency (you know, the guys who have bogged down the most powerful army in the history of the world for four years) need the U.S. to protect them against the small minority of fanatics and foreigners that make up AQI. Does that seem likely? No. They are using U.S. forces and capitalizing on the fact that they are helping militants go after their enemies — and the fact that Americans are not targeting them in the interim.
The whole thing is a great take down of the coming report of progress in Iraq.