I've stated here before that I don't think the Bush Administration has done a very good job in their plan for the post-invasion occupation of Iraq. I've also mentioned that I don't think adding 21,500 troops will improve much our ability to maintain security in the areas we have cleared in Iraq. I've mentioned my optimism that, if anything might work, it's the fact that General David Petraeus is now at the helm.
It may be a premature statement, but the Petraeus way of doing things appears to me to be paying dividends. In two recent incidents, increasing cooperation of Iraqi citizens has led to significant reductions in the ability of the insurgency to terrorize the Iraqi people.
Cybercast News Service reported today that
 soldiers  uncovered two underground rooms being used to store some 50 completed IEDs and materiel including grenades, end caps, blasting caps, welding equipment, 20 lbs. of bulk explosives, 200 bags of fertilizer and more than 1000 lbs. of urea, used with fertilizer in the production of car bombs. The rooms also contained shackles, apparently for restraining prisoners.
In another incident, an informant's tip led Iraqi police officers U.S. forces to a large cache of IEDs, rocket launchers, anti-aircraft rounds and other weaponry in the Baqubah area.
The idea of working with the civilian population to provide security (read: "Serving the People of Iraq") is the only way it's going to work. It appears that it just might be working. And a lot of the credit can likely go to General Petraeus. Said a US representative:
...the fact that the information leading to the raids was provided by local residents is an encouraging sign of the success of our efforts, based on increased presence of coalition forces in local neighborhoods, to build relationships and ties of confidence with Iraqi citizens.
Regarding the violence in Baghdad, an AFP report states
Iraq's spokesman for Fardh al-Qanoon, Brigadier General Qassim Atta al-Mussawi, at a separate press conference listed the successes of the security plan, involving 90,000 Iraqi and US forces.
"A total of 265 civilians and 57 militarymen, including nine officers, have been killed since the plan kicked off on February 14," Mussawi said. This compared with the preceding month when 1,440 people were killed.
He also said that 94 "terrorists" were killed by Iraqi and US forces since the launch of the plan, compared to 19 in the preceding month.
Security forces had arrested "713 terrorists and 1,052 terrorist suspects compared to 169 terrorists before the plan was put into action," Mussawi said.