Militias on the wane in Baghdad

One can only hope that the New York Times' editorial board reads today's news story by Sabrina Tavernise 
Facing intense pressure from the Bush administration to show progress in securing Iraq, senior Iraqi officials announced Wednesday that they had moved against the country's most powerful Shiite militia, arresting several dozen senior members in the past few weeks. [....]

In Shiite neighborhoods across the capital, militia members seem to have dropped from view in recent weeks, residents and militia members say. Shiite foot soldiers have tucked away their machine guns and have melted back into bustling city blocks, preparing for what they say they believe will be an American military onslaught against them.

"They have not run checkpoints for a week," said Ali, a merchant who lives in northern Baghdad and does business with the militia. "They hid their weapons. They are bored."

An influential Shiite sheik, Adel Ibrahim Subihawi, said of senior Mahdi members, "They are making new passports right now to leave."

It was not immediately clear whether the vanishing act was related to fear over the arrests or was a calculated move to wait out the coming American troop increase and prepare to re-emerge later.
If the merest threat of the troop surge has had an effect to calm the violence and militias, what will the Democrats' opposition to such a surge do?

To be sure, the story points out that the militias may return after the surge has come and gone. But if such is the case, doesn't the demand for a date certain for withdrawal also harm American efforts?
One can only hope that the New York Times' editorial board reads today's news story by Sabrina Tavernise 
Facing intense pressure from the Bush administration to show progress in securing Iraq, senior Iraqi officials announced Wednesday that they had moved against the country's most powerful Shiite militia, arresting several dozen senior members in the past few weeks. [....]

In Shiite neighborhoods across the capital, militia members seem to have dropped from view in recent weeks, residents and militia members say. Shiite foot soldiers have tucked away their machine guns and have melted back into bustling city blocks, preparing for what they say they believe will be an American military onslaught against them.

"They have not run checkpoints for a week," said Ali, a merchant who lives in northern Baghdad and does business with the militia. "They hid their weapons. They are bored."

An influential Shiite sheik, Adel Ibrahim Subihawi, said of senior Mahdi members, "They are making new passports right now to leave."

It was not immediately clear whether the vanishing act was related to fear over the arrests or was a calculated move to wait out the coming American troop increase and prepare to re-emerge later.
If the merest threat of the troop surge has had an effect to calm the violence and militias, what will the Democrats' opposition to such a surge do?

To be sure, the story points out that the militias may return after the surge has come and gone. But if such is the case, doesn't the demand for a date certain for withdrawal also harm American efforts?