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

Thursday, November 11, 2004

And on to Mosul, Whack-a-Mole as Military Strategy... 

It's common knowledge now that during the run-up to the final assault on Fallujah, when the US was busy announcing that Fallujah was going to be hit but waiting for the elections to be over, a large contingent of the insurgents there simply abandoned the city. Yesterday, for example, the Times reported

Abu Khalid, the guerrilla fighter, said insurgent leaders had debated how many men to leave in the city.

"There were different views about that," he said. "They discussed percentages like 20 percent inside the city and 80 percent outside, to save as many fighters as possible for future operations. In the end, they settled on a 50-50 split."

"We told the fighters that those who want to stay alive and fight should leave, and those who want to become martyrs in this battle should stay," he said.

[ ... ]

Canny insurgents rarely stand and fight, and they often take advantage of their ability to blend in with civilians and melt away. And for them, the propaganda campaign is as important, if not more so, than the strictly military one, since the most immediate goal is to win the support of the people.

Well, given today's events it looks like a lot of them moved on to Mosul:

Insurgents launched attacks in Iraq's third-largest city Thursday, raiding police stations and political offices and battling U.S. and Iraqi forces for hours. An American official acknowledged it could take "some time" to secure the city.

One Kurdish official in Mosul said Iraqi police had proven ineffective in the fight and some were cooperating with the insurgents.

The occupying forces seem to be interested in moving on to Mosul as well: AFP quotes Iraq's Defence Minister Hazem Shaalan as saying

We will launch operations in Mosul, because some groupings that came from neighbouring western countries [Syria] are trying to step up terror operations there.

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