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Al-Qaida finished in Iraq, author claims

June 24, 2008 at 3:27 PM

BAGHDAD, June 24 (UPI) -- The U.S. and Iraqi military and strategic success in Iraq has sounded the death knell for al-Qaida, a conservative columnist writes.

Writing for the online edition of the National Review, author Carter Andress says that though the U.S. military mission in Iraq is not over, the end is clearly in sight.

Andress points to Pentagon data showing combat fatalities among U.S. soldiers in May were at their lowest levels since the 2003 invasion. This, along with lower levels of attacks on civilian contractors, improved cargo shipments and an increase in oil production, suggests the military phase in Iraq is evolving to non-combat operations for the United States.

Conversely, Andress says, the Iraqis are preparing for further democratic elections at the provincial level this fall and have embarked on their own military operations targeting Shiite militias in Basra, Sadr City and Amarah, as well as al-Qaida holdouts in the northern city of Mosul.

The "jihad to dominate the Islamic world," Andress writes, faltered when faced with the resolve of the Iraqi people.

"The al-Qaida idea has died a violent death on the battlefields of Iraq," he concludes.

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