That's what Michael Yon suspects it is. In recent weeks we've heard of the terror being perpetrated on the people of Mosul and others north of Baghdad. That area has been described as the last "uncleared" area. Not anymore:
Major operations against al Qaeda have begun in northern Iraq. Al Qaeda is in serious trouble. These are not ad hoc operations, but are deliberate, systematic, well-planned and working. I’ve been watching this unfold for months but have not reported due to sensitivity, but the real shooting has started and Maliki has announced it. There is every indication that this series of operations could be the death blow for al Qaeda in Iraq. AQI can continue to murder people here and elsewhere for years to come, but their grip on Iraq is weakening faster than I can track. The Iraqis and Americans have seized the initiative. Al Qaeda is on the run. Due to these operations, I anticipate an increase in US casualties, but the operations are working.
Most you may recall... Yon was among the first to sound the warning when things went downhill in 2005/2006 (for which he received a lot of flack), so he's no shill for the Bush administration. For those of us watching from the sidelines, hope is not a strategy, but it's all we've got.
Here's to hoping Yon is right... and thoughts and prayers for the "good guys" of all stripes as this unfolds.