General Petraeus cited a 60% decline in violence within Iraq over the past six months which opens new possibilities regarding the length of deployment of American forces. He attributes the reduction in incidents of violent attacks to actions by US military forces as well as the decision by Shiite cleric Muqtada Al-Sadr to impose a cease-fire on the part of his forces. The main uncertainty about roadside bombings according to Petraeus is the difficulty in determining “if that’s because there has already been a cessation of of provisions of those items, or if there has been direction to stop.” General Petrasue emphasized that he was not claiming there was lights at the end of the tunnel and preferred keeping his head down focused on the reality of what is happening today.
General Petraeus raises key issues concerning what exactly is happening in Iraq. Are we witnessing the destruction of hostile forces or have terrorists decided to switch tactics. Are they waiting until American forces withdraw before resuming terrorist actions or have their capabilities to inflict damage been severely diminished?