A fire-fight in Anbar province surpised the Washington Post more than it did anyone else. Consider their report
Iraqi security forces backed by Sunni tribesmen killed dozens of suspected Sunni insurgents over several hours of fighting Wednesday in a village in western Iraq, Iraqi police officials said Thursday.
The fighting was unusually fierce for an Iraqi-led operation and was also notable because of the collaboration of tribesmen in volatile Anbar province.
It should not have surprised the WaPo that an "Unusally fierce for an Iraqi-led operation" occurred. It was only a month ago that Iraqi's repelled a large attack just outside of Najaf with only US air support.
Neither should the WaPo found that it "also notable because of the collaboration of tribesmen in volatile Anbar province" because back in November it was reported that the Anbar tribes were aligning against al Qaida. And back in March, it was reported that the popular tide was turning against al Qaida.
Bill Roggio points out, that in regards to this most recent attack
The media accounts claim 'insurgents' attacked the village, but do not provide a reason for the attack.
...the full story, according to an American military officer and an American intelligence source, is that al-Qaeda in Iraq, under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq, assembled several hundred fighters to attack a prominent leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, the grouping of local tribes and Baathists, and former insurgents who now oppose al-Qaeda in Iraqi. The leader of the Anbar Salvation Council was to attend the funeral of one of those killed in last week's suicide bombing in Habbaniyah.
The Iraqi police in Amiriya held off the attack, and radioed for backup from Iraqi Army, police and members of the Thurwa al-Anbar, the tribal militias assembled by the Anbar Salvation Council. U.S. air support was called in to help fend off the attack. The Anbar Salvation Council leader escaped as Army, police and tribal fighters poured into the village and routed the al-Qaeda force, which was estimated to be several hundred fighters. Once intelligence source claims the figure of 50 al-Qaeda killed is low, and the number is likely over 100.
The New York Times claims "two groups that have had ties to insurgents, the Islamic Party Fighters and forces of the 20th Revolution brigade, counterattacked in support of the local residents." The proper name for the insurgent groups are the Islamic Army in Iraq, and the 1920s Revolution Brigades. And they also fought with Iraqi Army and police units.
The problem with stories like this is precisely that they do not fit the script that Iraqi forces are not gaining in resolve and capability. And it's no wonder given how many on the Left have staked their political careers on Bush failing in Iraq.
And reports like this aren't helpful either
Violent incidents are still decreasing in number and impact in Baghdad. Yesterday for instance the only reported incident was the abduction of an adviser to the minister of defense by gunmen in western Baghdad. It was less than 24 hours until the security forces succeeded in freeing the abducted general and arresting 4 of his captors.
Elsewhere in the capital the troops are using not only guns and Humvees, but also shovels and bulldozers.
As success continues, it will be more and more difficult for the media to ignore....
or feign surprise.