Looking on the bright side after week one:
The U.S. military commanders continue to state the operations will be ongoing through the end of the summer. The escape of Al Qaeda leaders and operatives from Baqubah and the southern belts will no doubt be touted as a failure in the plan, but this view demonstrates a lack of understanding of the fundamentals of warfare and the purpose of the operation.
First, no cordon is perfect, and the enemy has the ability to read the signs and act accordingly. It has been clear for months Baqubah would become a target of Coalition forces, and al Qaeda has its own sophisticated intelligence network that no doubt detected Coalition and Iraqi movements.
Second, the purpose of the Baghdad Security Plan and Operation Phantom Thunder is to deny al Qaeda Baghdad and the Belts, and to kill as many operatives and leaders as possible in the process. When al Qaeda attempts to regroup, it will be in the hinterlands, and in some cases, in regions less hospitable to its actions.
We can hope. But I'll wait and see.