Monday, January 28, 2008

What's Going On In Mosul?

By Cernig

I'm only asking because the US media's reporting on Iraq seems to have devolved to the level of reporting on hit-and-run accidents. What's going on in Mosul?

Not more than a few weeks back we were being told that Mosul was one of the Surge's great successes, enabling a drawdown of US forces to only one battalion from a high of over two dozen. Suddenly, Al Qaeda, we are told, has regrouped in the city. There was a massive explosion that killed as many as 50 and has been blamed on AQ (although insurgency-loyal websites have a different story). A suicide bomber killed provincial police chief Brigadier General Salah al-Juburi and two other officers the next day when they went to inspect the carnage. There were five US soldiers killed today in another explosion. There are rumors that Gadhafi's son is helping AQ there. The Iraqi Army has moved its tiny supply of tanks and helicopters into the city along with major reinforcements. The latter alone tells you there's a crisis of sorts, and if it doesn't then the Defense Minister's saying that "The situation in Mosul is worse than imagined by far" will.

And all of this popped up out of nowhere and escalated into the current security crisis just after reports of an Iraqi soldier who shot and killed two US servicemen just after Christmas. He was called an Al Qaeda member but local reports claimed he had become angry when US soldiers beat a pregnant woman and opened fire after arguing with them. Lefalets distributed in Mosul exhorted locals to emulate the soldier, known as Caesar. Could there be a connection? If so, then it is in the interests of both the Iraqi authorities and US military to downplay it and the mainstream media isn't looking to see if there is one. They're content with their stenography of the story of the last stand of a mysteriously and suddenly resurgent Al Qaeda. Yet an AQI that has such a regenerative ability to regroup and resupply would be just as problemmatic in its own way as a Sunni backlash following the Caesar incident, which should be garnering more attention than it is.

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