Al Qaeda has strategically failed in Iraq.
American and Iraqi leaders believe that while it would be premature to write off Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Sunni group has lost control of its last urban base in Mosul and its remnants have been largely driven into the countryside to the south.
Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq’s prime minister, who has also led a crackdown on the Shi’ite Mahdi Army in Basra and Baghdad in recent months, claimed yesterday that his government had “defeated” terrorism.
“They were intending to besiege Baghdad and control it,” Maliki said. “But thanks to the will of the tribes, security forces, army and all Iraqis, we defeated them.”
The number of foreign fighters coming over the border from Syria to bolster Al-Qaeda’s numbers is thought to have declined to as few as 20 a month, compared with 120 a month at its peak.