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Is Iraq Nearly Rid of al-Qaeda?

Jonathan Schanzer

Iraq’s interior ministry spokesman announced that 75% of al-Qaeda in Iraq was destroyed in 2007, according to today’s ash-Sharq al-Awsat. Sharq also has a feature story highlighting the successes of Sunni militias that fight al-Qaeda, and are critical to the US strategy for Iraq stability.

Usama bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s leader, knows his terrorists are losing ground in Iraq. Al-Jazeera’s English website today analyzes his recent audio recording urging Iraqis not to join the US-funded militias fighting his men.

Another person likely concerned by the good news is University of Michigan professor Juan Cole. Cole has a piece in Salon.com that tries to explain how the surge is failing, despite evidence to the contrary. Cole, like bin Laden, has a lot at stake. Chaos in Iraq keeps them both in business. Click here for recent contentions about Cole.