Officials cited improved security tactics and personnel as well as an
increase in tips from Iraqi citizens for the drop in IED and other attacks.
They said that despite the expected occasional success of an Al Qaida
suicide bombing, the attacks in Iraq would continue to fall.
"I think the final thing is just experience," Campbell said. "The longer
you are on the ground, you'll see the number of caches found and the number
of IEDs and EFPs found much, much higher."
Officials said the U.S.-led coalition has increased efforts to block the
flow of weapons and bombs from neighboring Iran. They said Iraqi border
forces have been strengthened along the eastern border with Iran in an
effort to halt the smuggling of EFPs.
At the same time, the Iraqi Interior Ministry has been moving toward
procuring X-ray machines and advanced systems at border crossings and
checkpoints. Officials said Iraq has about 560,000 army and police
personnel, a force that has overwhelmed the insurgents.
"It's no secret that if they [insurgents] stay and fight, they don't
have a chance," Campbell said. "As we've flooded the zones. We've moved out
the joint security stations and combat outposts [and have] a 24/7 presence
out there. It's a lot harder to put these [bombs] out as we continue to
[On June 4, 19 people were killed in twin suicide car bombings in
Baghdad. Officials said the attack was one of the bloodiest in 2008.]
Officials also attributed the increase in security to the
Sunni-dominated auxiliary police force, Sons of Iraq. They said Sons of
Iraq, many of whose members have been hired for the police, provided Iraqi
and coalition forces with intelligence about enemy strategy and tactics.
Over the next year, officials said, the Interior Ministry plans to
recruit 15,000 Sons of Iraq members for security forces. They said the
remaining 65,000 members would undergo technical training or be offered
Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a Multinational Force-Iraq spokesman, said
Iraqi security forces have grown by 40 percent over the last year. Since May
20, Bergner said, Iraqi and U.S. forces have found 94 weapons caches,
including TNT, small-arms ammunition and mortars.
"There is no doubt, though, that extremists retain the ability to
replenish these weapons stocks," Bergner said. "So operations to pursue and
continue the pressure on their networks must be sustained."