'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Fallujah Sacked Before November 2? 

Troop movements in Iraq indicate that the final assault on Fallujah is going to begin shortly. The question is if it will occur before election day or shortly after. Given that the last invasion of Fallujah was carried out for strictly political reasons and given the current desperation of the Bush campaign, I think if Fallujah could be sacked before November 2nd, perhaps capturing Zarqawi in the process, it will happen. The real issue is whether a decisive victory is tactically possible given the reality on the ground. As Kim Sengupta writes in the Independent:

The question now is not if but when there will be an attack on Fallujah. The US military maintains that the date has not been influenced by the American elections on 2 November, and, even leaving political considerations aside, it is unclear if enough troops will be available for an offensive before then.

The Americans have about 2,500 troops around Fallujah at present. In the battle to take another rebel stronghold, Samarra - seen as a dress rehearsal for Fallujah - 3,000 American and 2,000 Iraqi government forces were needed to fight 500 insurgents. Fallujah is estimated to contain between 2,000 and 2,500 militants, including al-Zarqawi's fighters and another group led by Omar Hadid. US military commanders are said to believe that a force of about 10,000 is necessary to take and hold the city.

Military activity by the US and its allies is increasing every day. Yesterday, 850 British troops with Warrior armoured cars and Scimitar light tanks moved from Basra into an area near Iskandariyah, 20 miles south-west of Baghdad. They will free up 1,000 US marines for the Fallujah encirclement.

If they can do it, they'll do it. This is all Rove has left up his sleeve.

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