Former insurgents kill 16 insurgents

Reuters:

A battle between al Qaeda in Iraq and a major Sunni Arab insurgent group killed at least 16 militants on Friday near the ancient city of Samarra, a senior security officer told Reuters on Saturday.

The fighting involved the Islamic Army, a nationalist group that has been hostile to al Qaeda since June and has fought the Sunni Islamist group in areas of Baghdad and some Sunni towns.

A security source in Salahuddin province, speaking on condition of anonymity, said two non-Iraqi Arabs and an Iranian were among those killed in the battle.

"The clashes ended yesterday with militants from the Islamic Army taking control of the area," he said. The area had been controlled by al Qaeda for months.

"No Iraqi or U.S. forces intervened in the battle," he said.

...

This event may say more about the change in circumstances in Iraq than the depression contained in a Washington Post report today. This Reuters story certainly is more representative of what the overall statistics in Iraq reflect in the last months.

The fact is that al Qaeda in Iraq is a defeated force and its remnants are running out of places to hide as the Iraqis reassert themselves. As this post notes many are fleeing Iraq. The area of depression that the Post is writing about is one troubled by the Shia militia and corrupt Shia police. With the defeat of al Qaeda, these people are starting to get more attention and are likely to be easier to defeat than al Qaeda. Riehl has more on what is not reported in the WaPo story.

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