There are reports that al Qaeda in Iraq fighters and terrorists are fleeing Baghdad in light of Bush’s announced troop “surge”:
Under orders from the al Qaeda commander in Iraq, Abu Ayyub al-Masri, fighters are streaming toward the Diyala region of Iraq.
This confirms reports posted on Iraq the Model, which cited al-Sabah, an Iraqi government-owned newspaper.
In speaking with Pajamas Media the military intelligence officer supplied several new details of the al Qaeda retreat.
The apparent evacuation of Baghdad by al Qaeda forces comes from direct orders issued by al-Masri, the former soldier who took control of the Iraqi wing of al Qaeda following the June 2006 bombing death of Zarqawi.
Initially, the intelligence officer informed Pajamas, the Baghdad-based AQ fighters did not want to leave. Al-Masri had to send unequivocal orders for their retreat, adding that one of the lessons from the Fallujah campaign was that Americans have learned how to prevail in house-to-house fighting. Masri said that remaining in Baghdad was a ‘no-win situation’ for the terrorists.
–In more than ten years of reading al Qaeda intercepts, I’ve never seen language like this,” the intelligence officer said. Usually, al Qaeda communications are full of bravado and false confidence, he added. [emphasis Murdoc’s]
If these reports are true, it’s already a large-scale victory for our side. Yes, we will have merely flushed the rats from one hiding hole to another, but getting as many of them out of Baghdad as possible would constitute a major step forward, not least-ways because if the violence in Baghdad dips, even a little, there will be just that much less carnage for the Green Zone Big Media Brigade to splash all over the front pages.
(Note: It’s sad when the most significant impact of fewer deaths are not the fewer deaths themselves, but the weakening of one of the enemy’s main weapons, the US media. But that’s the war we’re fighting and the world we’re living in.)
Yes, many of these fighters and terrorists will just melt away into the towns, villages, and wilderness of the Diyala region, northeast of Baghdad. But they won’t be able to make quite so much trouble from there, and as difficult as it will be to root them out, it will be easier (and more media-friendly) than having to do so within Baghdad.
Also, this could be a great chance to see what, exactly, the new Iraqi Army is capable of. They’ll be much more effective outside the city, I would think. We’ll have to see how hard they pursue the bad guys.
Incidentally, it appears that Darth Sadr’s Mahdi Army’s fallback plan is to “redeploy” into the Diwaniyah area if needed. I hope the Latvians are ready for that.
The possibility remains, of course, that this message is a fake. Maybe even a fake sent by our side.