SURGE UPDATE….It’s hard to know whether the surge has had any success yet in Baghdad, but it certainly seems to have had an effect in Diyala province:
Attacks on U.S. and Iraqi soldiers here have risen sharply in recent months, a problem compounded by an influx of fighters in search of safer havens outside Baghdad. Many of the insurgents are well-trained, highly mobile fighters who refuse to get dragged into open confrontations in which American forces can deploy their overpowering weaponry.
….Since November, when the 5,000-member 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division deployed to Diyala, at least 46 American soldiers have died in the fighting, officers said. Eleven U.S. soldiers were killed in the province from October 2005 to October 2006, according to a Washington Post database.
That’s an increase from about one death per month to 8 per month. The answer? Send 2,000 more U.S. troops to Diyala. Sigh.
Read the rest for more. It’s not entirely bad news (there’s some evidence that American troops are taking advantage of splits among the various insurgent factions), but the rays of sunshine are mighty small among the widening gloom.