Bill Roggio takes a look at the offensive underway in the belts of insurgent strongholds outside Baghdad:
After months of preparation, the Baghdad Security Operation is now fully underway. The operations in the Baghdad belts and greater Diyala come as U.S. and Iraqi forces continue to establish the Joint Security Stations and Combat Outposts inside Baghdad, and clear and hold the neighborhoods. At last count, forty percent of Baghdad is now considered secure. Major, mass casualty suicide attacks inside the capital have been few and far between the past several weeks, while mortar attacks, IED strikes and small scale bombings and shootings are still a major threat.
Securing the belts will allow the Iraqi and Coalition forces to continue to secure Baghdad, and reduce al Qaeda and the insurgency’s access to weapons caches, bases of operations and support from outside the city. The next step is a political solution: resolution on key issues such as reconciliation, corruption, oil laws and adjusting the constitution must follow. These are contentious issues within the Iraqi government. But the security environment must be established to provide the political space needed to address these issues.
Now let's hope for more improvement on the political side.