Shifting Sands:

Bill Roggio has a report from Ramadi that focuses on the shift even in 'Wild West' Anbar Province from "kinetic" to "non-kinetic" operations -- that is, from killing insurgents to reconstruction. He also details more "red on red" fighting, with even active insurgents turning on the remaining al Qaeda units -- and indeed, turning them in to the Coalition.

The Belmont Club considers the evidence and holds that the military war has in fact been won in Iraq: what remains, Wretchard says, is politics middle-east style. That's a bloody affair by itself, of course.

He got a letter back from the PAO, Captain of Marines Jeffery Pool:

You don’t know how true your post Baghdad county truly is, you’re right on the mark.

The 2nd Marine Division has been conducting talks/negotiating at the Government Center in the provincial capital in Ar Ramadi with the Governor, sheikhs and imams. Most of the groups who have been fighting the Iraqi government, military and Coalition Forces are now beginning to realize the power is with the ballot, not the bombs. However, the hard core al Qaeda terrorists realize this and are starting to threaten the local insurgents who they normally work with. This is creating what we call ‘red on red fighting’. Basically two groups who aren’t are allies slugging it out for power. This is what has been happening on a large-scale in Ramadi and to a lesser scale throughout Al Anbar.

From the city of Hit all the way to Husaybah is closed to al Qaeda groups, and in Ramadi, they are holding on by their finger nails. The series of operations 2/28 Brigade Combat Team has been conducting has really helped disrupt their planning and ability to launch attacks. But the real meat of this is the local insurgent groups who are trying to dissociate themselves from AQI.

The last tool AQI has is money. They are paying for support and sanctuary. It is not being freely given anymore in Ramadi. The elections are going to be pivotal. My opinions, if the Sunnis vote en masse then AQI is done but if AQI is successful in intimidating the populace then they bought themselves some more time.
Such is the reading of two men whose opinions I greatly respect, and one officer of Marines.

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