Consequently, this piece, containing a smidge of good news from Baghdad, gains credibility (Abizaid is the Arabic-speaking US general:
Abizaid and his commanders decided to focus on Baghdad, the eye of this hurricane of violence. They crafted a new plan called "Operation Forward Together" in which U.S. troops, backed by Iraqi forces, would wrest back control of the city's most violent areas. This new battle of Baghdad began on Aug. 7, led by Maj. Gen. James D. Thurman, a bristly, rough-hewn Oklahoman who commands the 4th Infantry Division and has been dubbed "the Thurmanator." He was Abizaid's guide yesterday into two of the three neighborhoods that have been cleared so far: Amiriyah in northwest Baghdad and Doura in the southern part of the city.A long way to go.
As we entered Amiriyah in the late afternoon of a 115-degree August day, the streets were almost deserted. When the cleanup began, the area was cordoned off and then searched house to house by U.S. and Iraqi troops. People live behind their gates; through the metal fences, you can see well-tended gardens, despite the trash in the alleys. Surprisingly, perhaps, there was little resistance. People were fed up. In the two weeks since the crackdown began, there has been a 44 percent decline in violent attacks compared with the previous month and an 83 percent drop in murders.
But--a flicker at the end of the tunnel? Inshallah.