US Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Richard Myers were full of bravado in their surprise appearance before US troops in Iraq Thursday, May 13. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s Baghdad sources, they also quietly picked up a cheering report from Iraq ground forces commander Lt.-Gen Ricardo Sanchez. He told them of substantial progress in disarming the insurgent guerrillas of Fallujah and awarded high marks to the Iraqi forces who took over security duties in parts of the city. At the western tip of the Sunni Triangle, armed guerillas have departed Ar Ramadi following a negotiated agreement with the leading Iraqi clans of the region. Armed insurgents are also quietly departing Baquba and Balad.
In fact, said Sanchez, American control is in better shape in the recalcitrant Sunni Triangle north and west of Baghdad than in the Shiite regions of the south. The number of guerrilla attacks in the former has dropped steeply compared with the surge in Shiite areas.