More good news out of Iraq:
The number of truck bombs and other large al-Qaeda-style attacks in Iraq have declined nearly 50% since the United States started increasing troop levels in Iraq about six months ago, according to the U.S. military command in Iraq.This is exactly the effect that a counterinsurgency is supposed to have. Its looking more and more like Gen. Petraeus will be reporting good news in September.
The high-profile attacks — generally large bombs hitting markets, mosques or other "soft" targets that produce mass casualties — have dropped to about 70 in July from a high during the past year of about 130 in March, according to the Multi-National Force — Iraq.
Successes against al-Qaeda have also been helped by shifting Sunni public opinion and a growing number of insurgent defections, the military says.
"Tribes and people are starting to stand up and fight back," said Brig. Gen. Mick Bednarek, deputy commander of the U.S. division north of Baghdad. "They are turning against al-Qaeda."
Some of the groups have provided intelligence on their former al-Qaeda allies, Lt. Col. Rick Welch, a staff officer who works with tribes, has said.
The increased security in many neighborhoods has also prompted more civilians to come forth with tips, officers said.