Some reports say Abu Ayyub al-Masri, who basically took Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s place about a year ago as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed by “Sunni tribesmen“, while others (like the MSNBC.com story linked above) attribute it to red-on-red insurgent infighting.
Though it appears that neither US nor Iraqi military forces were involved in this, I think it’s safe to say that stepped-up pressure on insurgent and terrorist groups is taking a toll on the dead-enders and foreign fighters. As security in many areas improves, as more and more previously-reluctant Iraqis throw in with the new government, the terrorists are having to resort to more and more general mayhem with less and less public support. This, then will quite possibly drive more away from the cause of the terrorists and insurgency and into a loose alliance with the government.
Way, way too early to tell, but we may finally be seeing the beginning of the tidal wave.
US officials have not confirmed anything yet.