He’s been ON FIRE over the past couple days, for sure. The best is the post “Here’s why Attacks on Coalition Forces in Iraq are Increasing.” He points out a FoxNews article in which General Sanchez, who commands US military forces in Iraq, discussed the fact that we’re operating much more in the Anbar province than we have been in the past. The province is in the “Sunni Triangle.”
The most populated part of the province is the responsibility of the 82nd Airborne Division. “Before the 82nd came in, we very clearly stated we were going out to the west,” Sanchez said. “We’ve been in combat force posture out in Anbar province. We knew this was an area that was a challenge for us. And we clearly stated back then there was still a lot of fighting to be done. And there would be an increase in engagements.”
I’ve noted in the past, when new operations have been announced, that we should expect an increase in enemy attacks as we hunt them down. There hasn’t really been much in the way of an announcement this time, but if we’re really on the offensive again, it puts the recent surge in attacks in an entirely different light. Kaplan writes
Thus, attacks are likely increasing because U.S. forces are operating more frequently in the most hostile area of Iraq. U.S. forces had attempted to cast a smaller shadow over the Sunni Triangle during the summer while they concentrated on pacifying other areas of Iraq. That mission is now winding down which means the Sunni Triangle will be the main area of combat for U.S. forces over the next few months. That will likely mean more insurgent attacks despite the fact that the rest of Iraq (now including Baghdad) has been essentially secured. The Sunni Triangle was always going to be the last area to give up resistance to the Coalition. That operations have begun there now indicates that we may be nearing the final phase of the Iraq insurgency.
While I think that he might be a little optimistic when he says “the rest of Iraq (now including Baghdad) has been essentially secured” and “we may be nearing the final phase of the Iraq insurgency,” I do think he’s on the money about the situation. We are not going to win the peace by acting like targets and letting infected wounds like the Sunni Triangle fester. If we’re taking the fight to them, we have an incredible advantage.
Easy? No. Bloodless? No. But a winning strategy.