For Scott Peterson of the Christian Science Monitor the counterinsurgency campaign is taking on a shape. (Hat tip: DL) He believes the Iraqi insurgency is "under pressure" from repeated assaults but has shown the ability to reconstitute itself by moving to new locations.
it is under increasing pressure from numerous US offensives in western Iraq, the loss of two-dozen top lieutenants, and intelligence from Zarqawi's captured computer. Iraq's budding government is also tightening its grip, announcing Thursday that it would launch a new offensive with 40,000 troops and set up 600 checkpoints in Baghdad. ... "If he (Zarqawi) dies, it would be a blow," says Mr. Ranstorp, contacted in Copenhagen. "It may atomize the insurgency, and different centers of gravity would emerge. He is a unifying factor for them." Those divisions already appear to be taking root, with competing claims Thursday on the Web about the appointment of an interim leader of the group. ...
The intense violence of May has also hidden thefact that fewer attacks have taken place against US and Iraqi government targets, according to US officials. They say that the current surge - 118 car bombs since mid-April - was ordered by Zarqawi at a meeting last month in Syria. ... But success in one place often just shifts the problem to another. "It's like toothpaste: You squeeze somewhere, and it just pushes the insurgents somewhere else in Iraq," says Toby Dodge, an Iraq expert at the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London. "It would work if you had enough people to cover the ground."
Dan Darling at Winds of Change believes that after being driven out of Fallujah, Zarqawi attempted to reconstitute in Mosul but was unsuccessful. He then fell back on the area near the Syrian border but that was assaulted too. An earlier post suggested that Operation New Market, a battalion-sized attack on Haditha, was significant because it demonstrated that the Coalition could maintain a high operational tempo. The announcement of the massive Operation Thunder involving 40 battalion equivalents of Iraqi police and troops right on the heels of New Market suggests that the tempo has not only increased but that the rate of increase itself is rising.
The Iraqi Prime Minister sought yesterday to recapture the initiative by reaching out to hostile Sunnis and international critics, even as his Government announced an unprecedented security operation involving 40,000 police and soldiers in Baghdad. ... the capital would be divided into 2 sectors and 15 districts where police would operate 24 hours a day, monitoring all foreigners and “going into every hotel, every restaurant and every street and take to prison every Arab who does not have authorisation to be here”. ... Dr Jaafari said that the clampdown was intelligence-driven. The original plan was to control 23 access points to Baghdad on the assumption that car bombs were being made outside the city and brought in, but that had to be changed, he said. “Recently we have discovered that there are factories within Baghdad . . . a car can be driven and loaded within an hour to become a car bomb. This forced us to modify the plan.”
The US ability to increase tempo effectively means that it has more troops,
even though the actual number of personnel may remain the same. When
'toothpaste' is coralled faster than it can ooze, using the metaphor of the Iraq
expert Toby Dodge, the insurgency will be forced into lower and lower energy
surprising thing about this uptick in tempo is that there are actually fewer
American troops in Iraq today than three months ago: