Overall, it sounds like there's been a slight shift in tactics. All the different operations are continuing as before, weapons cache uncovered, and Al Qaeda network dismantling is continuing. The shift is that we're shifting the focus a little more to the Mahdi army and the Iranian secret cells. Mind you, it's just a slight shift the way I see it and we are still nailing AQ constantly, but a noticeable shift.
In one of the Iraq report card benchmarks that had been met there was one caveat. Maliki has refused to allow us to take out one individual. I think that means al Sadr. That would explain why he's still living. If my guess is correct, then that's why Petreaus has been just attacking the Mahdi army, and not doing anything about the Iranian puppet.
So, "whack a mole" it isn't. Sherween village and Donkey Island prove that, once we move AQ out we are making sure they don't just settle in somewhere else. The mole head pops up and there's a shotgun pointed at it. I'm betting the old media will probably, once again, fail to report that to you though.