Al Qaeda lost 75% of its forces in Iraq

BBC:

Three-quarters of al-Qaeda in Iraq has been destroyed over the last year, the Interior Ministry in Baghdad has said.

Iraqi and American commanders said the improvement in security in the country over 2007 had been remarkable.

But top US commander Gen David Petraeus warned al-Qaeda remained the greatest threat facing the country and security gains could easily reverse.

It came as a tape purportedly by Osama Bin Laden urged Iraqis to reject the US aim of a national unity government.

"Our duty is to foil these dangerous schemes, which try to prevent the establishment of an Islamic state in Iraq," the internet audiotape said.

The recording in the name of the al-Qaeda leader also warned Sunnis in Iraq not to join the US-allied tribal councils fighting his organisation.

Iraqi interior ministry spokesman Maj Gen Abdul Kareem Khalaf said the disruption of the al-Qaeda network was due to the weeding out of security force personnel with ties to militias.

He said: "[Al-Qaeda] activity is now limited to certain places north of Baghdad. We're working on pursuing those groups, that is the coming fight."

His claim that 75% of the group's hideouts in Iraq had been eliminated could not be independently verified. He also said assassination attempts were down 79% since June.

The fall in violence over the year coincides with the surge in US troop numbers authorised by President George W Bush.

...

Wow. If a liberal organization like the BBC notes the coincidence of the surge to the fall in violence, perhaps there is hope that even Democrats like Harry Reid might get real.

Khalaf's statement about assassinations is a verifiable number. the one on the decrease in enemy forces may be more difficult to verify because they do not publish their order of battle. Still those numbers now coincide also with bin Laden's desperate plea to turn the Sunni tide that has lined up against his forces in Iraq.

In listening to the bin Laden tape, the Democrats and the Editorial Board of the NY Times might ask them self why he would be so worked up over a bunch of local forces that are unrelated to his organization?

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