Iraq: Strategy clear, hard to enforce

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The plan is to re-establish government control in advance of the elections planned for January.

Samarra has been the first of a series of targets. The bombing in Falluja, regarded as the hardest nut to crack, is reckoned to be a prelude to a similar ground assault there, probably after the US elections in November.

The problem is that a military assault is one thing and establishing effective civilian government is another.