From the Washington Post yesterday, “U.S. Grip Loosens in the Sunni Triangle”:
“There is a growing power vacuum in central Iraq, where support for Saddam Hussein was strongest and where much of the population depended on jobs in his government and vast security apparatus and on the favored political status he accorded to the country’s Sunni Muslims. The danger of permitting this wide-open state of affairs to persist, Iraqi officials say, is that it will spread and increase the confidence of enemies of the occupation.
“The weaker the grip of the U.S., the bigger the gap in power, and the increasing perception that the Americans are vulnerable boosts the morale of those who want to destabilize and expand a reign of terror,” said a senior Iraqi cabinet official in Baghdad. “This perception creates unease among those who cooperate with the United States.”
“I wouldn’t say we are winning,” said Lt. Brian Caplin, a U.S. officer in charge of Thuluiya’s branch of the Civil Defense Force, an Iraqi unit set up to buttress security throughout central Iraq.”