Al Qaedaesque insurgent action from Anbar to Basra is calming down. Sunni fighters are aiming not at U.S. troops, but at Al Qaeda troublemakers. From June to now, the military says, violence in and around Baghdad is down 59 percent; car bombs down 65 percent, with casualties from them and roadside bomb down 80 percent, and general casualties from enemy attacks in the entire nation down 77 percent.
Spencer Ackerman chimes in with an even more upbeat piece in the American Prospect:
That doesn’t mean security is good. But security is as good as it’s been in Iraq since — well, since last October, going by the civilian-casualties estimate. And give the surge its due for that. But it’s perhaps even more important that the accelerants of sectarian violence appear diminished. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, while never as powerful as the administration portrayed, is without a Sunni base of support. (Some in the U.S. military are even ready to declare that al-Qaida is defeated in Iraq.) The Mahdi Army appears interested in curbing its excesses at the moment. Taken together, both Sunnis and Shiites have reason to see their greatest bogeymen on the defensive, at the least. Shiites are more united than they have been in at least a year, and Sunnis are able to negotiate from a position of strength.
I still think we’re screwed until at least the January 2009 Iraqi parliamentary elections, where this newfound Sunni participation and Shia unity can be actually translated into a governing coalition that relfects the will of the people and can actually get things done.
Assuming, of course, that Turkey doesn’t invade Kurdistan sometime between now and then, of course.