In every military operation, the enemy gets the chance to cast the dissenting vote. The al-Qaeda counterstrategy against the sure is beginning to emerge in detail. Bill Roggio says, "Eleven major suicide bombings inside Baghdad over the past five days threaten to erode remaining political support for the Baghdad Security Plan. Now is the time for flexibility."
The failure of lasts year's security operations inside Baghdad occurred after Multinational Forces Iraq, then under the command of General George Casey, did not react to al Qaeda in Iraq's initiation of the sectarian war. General Casey also failed to reacted to the inability of the Iraqi Army units to deploy in to Baghdad and the corruption of the Baghdad police. General Casey had no desire to ramp up U.S. forces to deal with the shortfall – he wanted to use “the minimum amount of force possible” to defeat the insurgency.
General Petraeus does not suffer from these deficiencies. Last year's inability to redeploy Iraqi Army units have been resolved, and all Iraqi Army units have arrived into Baghdad as planned. The corrupt Iraqi National Police brigades were pulled off the line, taken apart, vetted and retrained. The U.S committed an additional five combat infantry brigades, a combat aviation brigade and supporting units to Baghdad and the outer belts. The rules of engagement were changed to give U.S. forces greater flexibility to fight the insurgency. U.S. forces are no longer operating from large bases and fighting a commuter insurgency, but instead are deploying into forward bases inside Baghdad's neighborhoods.
But Coalition and Iraqi forces must react to al Qaeda's bombing offensive, as time may not be on its side. As we've said from the very beginning, “U.S. and Iraqi forces must be flexible, and quickly react to as yet unseen surprises.” Now is the time to be flexible.
Read the whole thing. But note especially that both al-Qaeda and the Coalition are responding to each other. The US spent a lot of effort trying to establish an Iraq government. Al-Qaeda in Iraq responded by attempting to start a sectarian war. General Casey did not respond quickly enough, or did not have Iraqi units online able to react. Petreus has amended many of the deficiencies of the Casey era. But al-Qaeda in the meantime, has amended its tactics. Strategically the goals are still the same for both camps: sectarian warfare is the object of one; a stable government the goal of the other. Tactically both sides have evolved. Can General Petreus respond decisively to the new al-Qaeda attacks? Probably. But look to al-Qaeda to up the ante in blood even further.