As the surge of operations that American and Iraqi forces began on June 15, 2007, winds to a close, security in Baghdad and throughout Iraq has improved so dramatically that, for the first time in years, there is reason for optimism in Iraq. U.S. commanders and soldiers have reversed the negative slide that followed the Samarra mosque bombing in 2006, bringing the number of enemy attacks in Iraq back down to the levels of mid-2005.
Yet the reasons for the reduction in violence and its strategic significance are subjects of continuing debate in the media and in Washington. Many armchair pundits make the gross oversimplifi cation that the positive trends in Iraq have occurred simply because Moqtada al Sadr called for a ceasefire or because the United States bought off Sunni insurgents. Such assertions ignore the key variable in the equation: the Coalition’s change in strategy and our employment of the surge forces.
In this definitive volume, Kimberly Kagan sets the record straight, describing the complete operational history of the surge from its inception to the end of 2007. Kagan’s detailed analysis looks at the external players–from al Qaeda in Iraq, and the Iranian-backed Special Groups, to the Jaysh al Mahdi–and covers the day-to-day strategies, locations, tactics, organization, and responses to American actions.