Buried deep in the LA Times report is the meat of the story, the long "anticipated" report by Petraeus and Amb Crocker will be no such thing, it will be written by the White House. With input, of course. Apparently the debate is how to credibly claim progress, credibly...
Al Qaeda in Iraq has overplayed its hand in Anbar, mimicking the BushCo stupidity of forgetting how tribal Iraqis are. Foreign fighters might manage to avoid resentment IF they keep to the "enemy of my enemy" school but as soon as they start acting like conquerors they're screwed. So they move along to where they're not already poison. And US troops somewhere else and Iraqis somewhere else have to deal with their depredations.
Meanwhile the Iraqi government (such as it ever was) is falling apart. Moktada's Mahdi Army is splintering out of whatever psychopathic control he had and US troops are pressing them. The Shiite militia faction in the Iraqi govt is way unhappy, the Sunnis are bailing, and there's nobody there with the glue to hold it together. Too much payback on the Sunnis for them to want to risk playing, the Shiite militias' government cover is inadequate so they're unhappy and Maliki has no credibility anywhere. Iran knows better, BushCo is tired of being burned, and Iraqis in general would like some power and water and maybe some sanitary services (oh hell, and to not be shot at for awhile).
BushCo worked real hard to have this war, they're not going to just lay down for Congress, they'll spin something. And Congress will just take it. They'll just take it because some of them honestly believe in this mess, because Lackey is too nice a word for some, because some have little to no nerve, and because for some there just aren't the votes - thanks to the other categories. BushCo will have this war for just exactly as long as George II stays in office, the reality on the ground in Iraq and in the US has no bearing, not now and not ever. The ones who might have had some ability to sway this are gone and have proven what butt kissers they actually are - Colin Powell springs to mind - and what's left are a band of incompetents. Condi Rice may be able to play piano but she's definitely not up to even mid-level management in government, Karl is gone (so much for the political end), Albie will cover BushCo as long as he can (conscience won't get in the way), Gate doesn't have the power, or the will, yep our kids will continue to die for the ego of the neocons and GWB for the foreseeable future.