January 25, 2008

"The Final Battle"

Iraqi military forces are closing in on the northern Iraqi city of Mosul following a massive HBIED (home or structural improvised explosive device) killed 40 and wounded 220 on Wednesday, and a smaller blast by a suicide bomber dressed as a policeman killed the Nineveh province police director and tour others as they inspected the blast site.

"We have set up an operations room in Nineveh to complete the final battle with al Qaeda along with guerrillas and members of the previous regime,"militants the government says remain loyal to former leader Saddam Hussein.

"Today our forces started moving to Mosul. What we are planning in Nineveh will be decisive," he said during a ceremony for victims of violence in the holy Shi'ite southern city of Kerbala, broadcast on state television.

Maliki gave no details of the number of Iraqi troops involved or the scale of the operation. Defence Ministry spokesman Mohammed al-Askari did not have details but said it had been launched at Maliki's request.

"Security is very weak there and the security forces need to be reinforced," Askari said.

As noted above in the article by Reuters' Aws Qusay, there have not been any details provided about the composition of the Iraqi forces or their numbers, but what Maliki and Askari state seems to indicate that the offensive may be entirely Iraq in nature, a claim I'm attempting to verify with U.S. military public affairs in Iraq.

Iraqi forces are "in the lead" in 9 of 18 Iraqi provinces with other province hand-overs expected in 2008, and during Ashura, Iraqi security forces led security operations that successfully protected over 2 million pilgrims. But outside of Iraq, "taking the lead" for security in 9 provinces and securing Ashura events simply isn't the kind of security success easily grasped by either journalists or the public at large.

If—and it is an "if"—they do indeed engage in a large urban clearing operation carried out exclusively by Iraqi forces, however, it would seem to be a "Virginia Slims" moment that the American public can grasp on to as a a tangible success.

For an Iraqi military that has been disparaged for so long, it would be nice to say, "You've come a long way, baby."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 25, 2008 11:13 AM

I "believe" this may be the much vaunted Iraqi Corps-level offensive that was talked about a couple of months ago.

Posted by: Chuck Simmins at January 25, 2008 04:38 PM

I believe that the insurgency is in its final death throes. Again

Posted by: John Ryan at January 25, 2008 06:12 PM

I believe John Ryan is straining ever so greatly to proclaim how empty the nearly-full cup is.

Though it's funny, IIRC, the "last throes" interview included a prediction that the insurgency would be defeated.... by the end of Bush's 2nd term.

Odd how that part doesn't seem to get quoted and bandied about by Ryan and his buddies. Oh wait, they wouldn't be able to twist it into claiming Cheney meant the next month, week, day, hour or minute after he used that term.

For Teh Narrative™, one must... omit things, I guess.

Posted by: Patrick Chester at January 26, 2008 03:53 PM

John Ryan also forgets that it took 10 years, almost to the day, before the US handed full control over to Germany after WWII.

When compared with that benchmark, Iraq is doing pretty darned well.

Posted by: C-C-G at January 26, 2008 04:03 PM

If John doesn't get political perfection as quickly as he gets an email, it's an utter failure. Get with the the progg-gram, folks.


Posted by: Pablo at January 27, 2008 01:54 PM