..the whole war on terror has moved eastwards from Iraq through to Afghanistan and Pakistan. This does not in any way mean that Iraq is no longer significant, since it will retain a substantial value to the al-Qaida movement as long as US forces remain in occupation. What it does mean, though, is that 2007 ended on a very positive note for the al-Qaida movement, even if this was hardly recognised in the United States.
As outlined earlier in this briefing, one consequence of the decrease in US military casualties in Iraq in the last three months of 2007 was that the Iraq War declined as a political issue within the US just as the 2008 Presidential Election campaign was getting under way. Since there was far less of a domestic media focus on developments in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this meant that the conduct of the Bush administrations overall war on terror was less of a matter of debate.
As we move into 2008, it is still possible that security in Iraq will re-emerge as an issue. What is even more likely is that Afghanistan and Pakistan will move much more centre stage, with South West Asia become a much more substantial issue for the American public, as well as for the region itself.