Friday, May 04, 2007

Like playing whack-a-mole...

US Troops overthrow neighborhood-sized nation.

Great insight into the nitty gritty of the surge. Good reading. God bless our troops.
Across the walls of the villas they seized in the name of their shadow government, black-masked al-Qaida militants spray-painted the words: "Property of the Islamic State of Iraq."

They manned checkpoints and buried an elaborate network of bombs in the streets. They issued austere edicts ordering women not to work. They filmed themselves attacking Americans and slaughtered those who did not believe in their cause.

For months, al-Qaida turned a part of one Baqouba neighborhood into an insurgent fiefdom that American and Iraqi forces were too undermanned to tackle -- a startling example of the terror group's ability to thrive openly in some places outside Baghdad even as U.S.-led forces struggle to regain control in the capital.

U.S. forces took back the entire Tahrir neighborhood during a weeklong operation that wrapped up Sunday in Baqouba, a city 35 miles northeast of Baghdad that al-Qaida declared last year the capital of its self-styled Islamic caliphate.

Though the operation was a success -- it forced the guerrillas to either flee or melt into the population -- soldiers say the extremists are likely to pop up anywhere else that's short on American firepower.

Just like whack-a-mole.