Enemy leaving Baghdad for Syria

Iraq The Model:

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We talked earlier about insurgents and terrorists fleeing Baghdad to Diyala, and today there's another report about a similar migration, from al-Sabah:

Eyewitnesses in some volatile areas said that large numbers of militants have fled to Syria to avoid being trapped in the incoming security operations.
According to those witnesses, residents and shopkeepers are no longer concerned about militants whose existence in public used to bring on clashes that put the lives of civilians in danger.
A shopkeeper in al-Karkh [western Baghdad] said that many of them [militants] packed their stuff and headed to Syria to wait and see what the operations are going to be like.
While experts consider this a failure in protecting the plan's secrecy which might lead to the loss of the surprise factor, they also say it indicates the seriousness and resolve in this plan that is already scaring away the militants. PM Maliki pointed out that seeing them run away is a good thing but he returned and said the security forces would chase them down everywhere after Baghdad is clear.

As we said in the last update, Maliki won unanimous support for his plan in the parliament and despite some opposition from the radical factions the major blocs are expressing their support and approval of the plan....

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This is an interesting development and raise a question about what Syria will do with them once they get there. My guess is they may try to blend in with other refugees. It does make sealing the border an important element of an effective strategy.

Wretchard at the Belmont Club asks if America is being taken seriously again. It appears the enemy has the ability to distinguish at this point between the rhetoric of those in Congress who want to posture and the words of a President who is taking action. The retreat of al Qaeda and others makes sense on several levels, but they risk not being able to come back. Weighing that against the assured destruction if they stay, the move makes tactical sense. The success will still depend on the ability of the Iraqis to maintain the gains from the surge. The recent action near Najaf is encouraging in that regard. I sense too, that the seriousness of Miliki in following through on the program has been communicated to the street.

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