Anbar Province, long the lawless heartland of the tenacious Sunni Arab resistance, is undergoing a surprising transformation. Violence is ebbing in many areas, shops and schools are reopening, police forces are growing and the insurgency appears to be in retreat.
Huh. The situation isn't perfect, of course, but it's clearly much better than it's been in the recent past. What could have caused it? Was it perhaps a recent change in strategy and tactics by the U.S. and Iraqi governments? Let's find out:
The turnabout began last September, when a federation of tribes in the Ramadi area came together as the Anbar Salvation Council to oppose the fundamentalist militants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.
Huh! Well, it's certainly nice that the Iraqis are starting to take an active interest in their own survival, that's for sure. But surely the 'surge' has played some role in it, right? A quick ctrl-F, search for 'surge', and we find...
...nothing. That's right, the surge doesn't exist. It's not that they claim it's had no effect, it doesn't exist. The closest the Times comes to acknowledging any effort by the United States to improve things is the barest of passing mentions:
At the same time, American and Iraqi forces have been conducting sweeps of insurgent strongholds, particularly in and around Ramadi, leaving behind a network of police stations and military garrisons, a strategy that is also being used in Baghdad, Iraq’s capital, as part of its new security plan.
Huh? So apparently there's some new 'plan' going on in Baghdad that is similar to what's being done in Ramadi. That's nice, but surely not important - because one has to wade through six commas to get to a sub-sub-sub-ordinate clause at the tail end of the mother of all mangled sentences to find out about it.
I suspect what we're seeing here is the leading edge of the Democratic strategy to dodge being tarred as treasonous cowards come 2008. Should the surge ultimately work, the spin will be something along the lines of "We've said all along there was no military solution to the problem. The Iraqis worked together to solve their problems on their own. The so-called 'surge' had nothing to do with it, and probably prolonged the conflict. If we'd pulled out years ago as we Democrats wanted to, things would be even better. Vote Hillary in November!"