I suppose this is progress:
Keen to show off the muscle of their U.S.-trained forces, ministers said other towns were in the line of fire and state television ran repetitive footage from recent days in Tal Afar of Iraqi soldiers hunting and detaining men described as rebels.
You can see where Tal Afar is on this map of Iraq. It’s in the northwest corner, due west of Mosul, and not far from the Syrian border. The city is mostly made up of Turkmen. Many Turkmen are Shi’a, although I’m not sure of the sectarian dynamics of Tal Afar.
A simple google search reveals that we have already attempted to deal with insurgents in the city several times. For example, there is this from a July 21st, 2005 CNN article:
I wonder who got the contract for supplying the wall components? In any case, this time it appears the Iraqis are taking more of a lead role in the infantry aspects of this Falluja-style assault. We are still providing armor and air-cover.
I doubt anything wonderful will result from this offensive, but if it is seen as successful it will help bolster confidence in the central government. If the Iraqis actually perform as soldiers then it might be one step forward to the day when our soldiers can come home.
No matter what happens, we can expect Iraqi television to portray it is a great victory.