Well, well, well. NYT:
It looks to me like they cut back their activities over Christmas, whilst it was on the table. But now, with this explicitly rejected, and the talk of "the 80 per cent solution" and such..well, all that keeps it from being a betrayal is that there was no explicit offer, at least not that we know of. More likely, the message communicated is that the Americans need a punch in the mouth before they will talk sense. Worse, the obvious counter-strategy to a "tilt to the Shia" is to provoke the Sadrists, thus cutting the 60 per cent of Shia in half.
Like Spinal Tap, their amps go up to 11. And their DShKa machine guns go up to 8,000 feet.
Seized near Baghdad, the documents reflect the insurgents’ military preparations from late last year, including plans for attacking aircraft using a variety of weapons.Insert blogger triumphalism here.
Officials say they are a fresh indication that the United States is facing an array of “adaptive” adversaries in Iraq, enemies who are likely to step up their attacks as American forces expand their efforts to secure Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.
“Attacks on coalition aircraft probably will increase if helicopter missions expand during the latest phase of the Baghdad Security Plan or if insurgents seek to emulate their recent successes,” notes the intelligence report, which analyzes the recent helicopter crashes.
The American military has said that seven helicopters have been downed since Jan. 20, a figure that exceeds the total number of coalition aircraft shot down in 2006.
The intelligence report supports the concerns expressed by an American general this month that militants were adapting their tactics in an effort to step up attacks against helicopters. Such strikes have increased since the United States expanded its military operations in Baghdad in August. From December to January, the number of antiaircraft attacks rose by 17 percent, according to an American military report.
Insurgents in Iraq have boasted about the helicopter downings and posted video of some of the wreckage on militant Web sites. While Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has claimed it has “new ways” to shoot down the aircraft, some American analysts believe they are probably not employing new types of weapons but rather are making more effective use of arms already in their inventory.