In late 2007 President George W. Bush removed Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and tried the warfighting strategy proposed by General David Petraeus, who was given additional forces. Petraeus sent in 30,000 additional combat troops under Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, who contained the insurgency and cleared the enemy out of the belts surrounding Baghdad. Sunni leaders and tribal chiefs, fed up with al Qaeda atrocities, set up militias in tactical alliance with coalition and Iraqi government forces, The long ceasefire of Moqtada al Sadr's Shia extremists helped to reduce sectarian tension. Within a few months, Baghdad had been transformed: attacks were down by 60%, civilian deaths had dropped 70% and sectarian attacks of one sort and other had fallen by a staggering 90%. The success of "The Surge" strategy made possible the achievement of Bush's timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq's major cities in summer 2009.
- ↑ Kimberly Kagan, The Surge: A Military History (2009)