With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran.(Emphasis mine. Via Atrios.)
"It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.
Meanwhile, a peek inside the operation near the Syrian border, with a decimated Marine squad as a focal point. (Via Americablog.)
And in Baghdad, 21 killed today, 90 injured. 76 yesterday. According to the War Room (who gets it from the NY Times, so you can check), the last two weeks have seen about 400 iraqis killed, never mind wounded.
More later, if I don't get too depressed.
UPDATE: UN report on the miserable living conditions in Iraq. The good news: It "could be much worse."
UPDATE: A Daily Star editorial calling for unity in Iraq.
UPDATE: And for a perspective on tactics, the insurgency and that pesky Matador operation near the Syrian border, here's Wretchard's take along with a correspondent's view (via same).
UPDATE: And more on the ongoing operation from the May 13th NYT.