AQI Down But Not Out
2:15 PM, Apr 17, 2009 • By BILL ROGGIO
While al Qaeda in Iraq has suffered serious setbacks over the past two years, the terror group still has the capacity to carry out suicide attacks in central, northern, and western Iraq. Yesterday's suicide attack at a military base in Habbaniyah in Anbar province is the ninth major attack in Iraq in 11 days.
Yesterday's attack killed 18 soldiers and wounded 40 more. The day before, 11 Iraqis were killed and 23 more were wounded in a bombing in Kirkuk. Nine Awakening fighters and Iraqi soldiers were killed in a suicide attack on a checkpoint in Babil on April 9; five U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi security personnel were killed in a suicide truck bombing in Mosul on April 10; seven Iraqis were killed and 23 were wounded in a car bombing in a Shia neighborhood in Baghdad and one Iraqi was killed in a suicide attack in Fallujah on April 8; nine Iraqis were killed in car bomb attack in Baghdad on April 7; and 34 Iraqis were killed and scores were wounded in six car bombings in Baghdad and seven soldiers were wounded in a suicide attack in Dalouyia on April 6.
While the recent spike in attacks is worrisome, particularly as it comes as there are tensions over the status of the Awakening forces in Baghdad (which in my opinion are being exaggerated) and the United States is preparing to withdraw from the major cities, Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Mahdi Army, and an assortment of terror and insurgent groups have yet to reassert control of territory as it had prior to the surge in 2007, and show no signs of doing so in the near future. Outside of Mosul, Kirkuk and northern Diyala province, the fight has largely shifted from a counterinsurgency to counterterrorism.