The Battle for Mosul

Marie Colvin reported in the Times of London this weekend about the intense fighting in Mosul between an amalgam of U.S. and Iraqi forces and al-Qaeda-in-Mesopotamia fighters. The assault appears to be unfolding similarly to other initiatives: cordon of the city, followed by the establishment of movement control measures like checkpoints, followed by raids on insurgent strongholds and targeted individuals.

Colvin reported the tactics are working and that the U.S.-Iraqi coalition has scored a number of important successes in the past 10 days, such as the killing of an Al Qaeda leader who called himself the "Emir of Mosul." Momentum appears to be on the U.S. side. But Mosul is a large city, and it will be difficult to clear it entirely -- and to follow this initiative with successful efforts in the political, economic and reconstruction areas. As one of Iraq's three largest cities, Mosul's fate matters a great deal. Keep your eye on it.

By Phillip Carter |  July 7, 2008; 12:00 AM ET  | Category:  Iraq
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The great leaders, such as Murtha, now have another sight to turn their blind eyes to. Honest political figures stay bought, no matter what the facts are. "Surge, we don't need no stinking surge."

Posted by: Gary E. Masters | July 7, 2008 5:09 AM

Remain optimistic that increased amount of and efficiency in the application of fielded forces are succeeding in improving the depth of the mantle that sits atop the cauldron that Iraqi society has become.

The question remains as defined in the NY Time editorial "Where do we go from here?".

There are broader issues of our national security that need to be addressed. Success of the surge, so what? This is not a blindly asked question.

Defeat AQI, is it maybe the same as a newly branded group of sunni baathists still in play in Iraq? Same intelligence network that held Saddam in power, possibly? Funded by whose oil revenues? External to Iraq, to whom does it really pose a threat?

Are we winning another battle that Giap would proclaim "irrelevant"?

Where do we go from here when "here" is the United States national security?

Posted by: Bill Keller | July 7, 2008 6:42 AM

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