Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Sweet Stench of Failure

The Iraqi insurgency continues to show signs of breaking up.

In what appears to be a major battle, the Iraqis, backed by US troops that stayed in reserve plus US air power, smashed up an insurgent training camp in the Sunni Triangle (and isn't it good that they didn't have a sanctuary in which to complete their training and then fan out?):

U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 85 militants at a suspected training camp along the marshy shores of a remote lake, one of the highest guerrilla death tolls of the two-year insurgency, officials said Wednesday.
This article suggests that maybe the battle wasn't quite the decisive Iraqi government victory as it appears.

Still, the original article cited states that 7 Iraqi soldiers were killed in the battle, indicating that there was some significant action; and the statement that for 18 days locals provided information on the camp indicates that somebody was there.

In addition, this intervention by ordinary Iraqis to fight back against insurgents showing up in their neighborhood is another good sign:

"We attacked them before they attacked us," Dhia, 35, his face still contorted with rage and excitement, said in a brief exchange at his shop a few hours after the battle. He did not give his last name. "We killed three of those who call themselves the mujahedeen. I am waiting for the rest of them to come and we will show them."

It was the first time that private citizens are known to have retaliated successfully against insurgents. There have been anecdotal reports of residents shooting at attackers after a bombing or assassination. But the gun battle today erupted in full view of half a dozen witnesses, including a Justice Ministry official who lives nearby.

The insurgents are fading fast. If this trend keeps up, those murdering SOBs will be history sooner than we may have hoped.

Fortunes of war ebb and flow, so this spate of success may not last as the enemy adapts to changing circumstances, but since the insurgency is so narrowly based on a minority of a minority backed by foreign killers, the insurgency could collapse faster than the average insurgency.

These are hopeful days.