Operation Lightning is getting underway. Initially at least, the Iraqi forces seem to be holding up well, much better than in the past.
In the day's biggest battle, about 50 gunmen fired rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and machine guns at a Baghdad police unit in a half-hour battle. The Iraqi forces successfully fought them off, the U.S, military saidIt looks an “inside-out” strategy is being implemented: first secure Baghdad (mostly with Iraqi forces), then chase down insurgents through the rest of Iraq (mostly with U.S. forces). It makes sense given the capabilities and limitations of the two forces. Iraqis manning checkpoints don’t generate the civilian resentment a foreign army does and they understand virtually everything about Iraq (language, culture, who's an Iraqi and who's not) better than our guys can hope to without spending a lifetime there. The U.S. forces are better armed, better armored, more mobile, and have their own air support to take out entrenched enemy positions. And of course the Iraqi forces are still growing quickly; as more of them come on-line they can gradually replace U.S. forces while maintaining their hold on Baghdad
This operation won’t be the end of the insurgency, but if it goes well it could be the beginning of the end.