The much anticipated quagmire in Fallujah, like the other quagmires predicted by the media and intellectuals, did not materialize. Instead of detailing the unprecedented successes of the Coalition and the heroism of our soldiers, the media’s focus on the insurgency in Iraq has moved from Fallujah to outlying areas of the Sunni Triangle. The recent unrest in Mosul is offered as proof that the insurgency is growing, despite the reduction of Fallujah as a base of operations, the seizure of torture chambers and bomb factories, and the capture or deaths of thousands of insurgents or terrorists in their vain attempts to defend the city from the Coalition onslaught.
While Mosul has encountered violence from the insurgents, it has not become a safe haven for terrorists as Fallujah was. American and Iraq forces maintain bases within the city, conduct patrols and can carry our operations at will. A main source of the instability in Mosul is due to the unreliability of the local police forces. Some police are sympathetic to the insurgent’s cause, and the problem went straight to the top. Mosul’s chief of police, who fled the city after being removed from command, was arrested after failing to prevent and possibly allowing insurgents to overtake police stations in the city. Iraqi soldiers, backed by American forces, are clearing out problem neighborhoods in Mosul, even as the decapitated bodies of Iraqi soldiers are uncovered.
Pentagon planners are considering deploying the ready brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to Iraq to free up elements of the 1st Calvary Division to hunt down the insurgents before they can reestablish bases of operations.
“What’s important is to keep the pressure on these guys now that we’ve taken Fallujah from them,” a high-ranking U.S. military commander said, speaking on condition he not be named because of the sensitivity of the deliberations on adding more troops. “We’re in the pursuit phase. We have to stay after these guys so they don’t get their feet set.”
This is significant as the rapid deployment brigade of the 82nd Airborne would not be considered without serious deliberations. This is the Army’s highest unit of readiness, with elements sitting on the tarmac of Pope Air Force Base ready to go at a moment’s notice. Either the situation on the ground is dire (highly unlikely based on all information available) or the Coalition believes there is an opportunity to rout the enemy and achieve the goal of conducting elections in January, and the deployment of this brigade will positively impact the situation on the ground.
In a twist of events, a Sunni Cleric that opposed the scheduled elections is assassinated, indicating the locals of Mosul may not be so willing to support the insurgency and sit out the upcoming elections. The elections are a serious threat to the insurgency, as a democratically elected government will provide added legitimacy to destroy the insurgency and cement the formerly powerful Sunnis as a minority party that no longer controls the future of Iraq. Attacks in Mosul may be as much about destroying the prospects for elections as election officials and materials have been the targets of threats and violence.
But Mosul’s insurgents believed to include loyalists of Saddam Hussein and militant Islamic groups have wasted no time in making clear that anything related to the vote could become a target. Several grocery store owners who were supposed to distribute voter registration forms to Iraqis along with their monthly government food rations have been threatened, officials said.
One store owner, Mohammed Abdul Qader, said eight militants showed up at his store in eastern Mosul and told him that handing out registration forms could cost him his life. “They asked me to give them all the sheets if I received any or else they would kill me. I was very scared,” he said.
The restoration of security in Mosul and elsewhere is critical to conducting elections on January 30th. Violence in the western region of Iraq is only likely to increase as elections move forward. The Sunni Ba’athists and their terrorist allies fear democracy in Iraq as it is a sure sign of defeat for their organizations. For the Sunni Ba’athists, a democratically elected government of Iraq would destroy any hopes of returning to power, as the Shi’ites and Kurds will not tolerate a rebellious Sunni insurgency. For the Islamist terrorists, democracy in Iraq, as in Afghanistan, would show the world the Taliban-like Islamist movement is not supported by Muslims who have the ability to choose their own destiny. Successful elections in Iraq will not end the insurgency or the Islamofascists’ violence. But elections will demonstrate that these movements are morally bankrupt and devoid of widespread support, and that freedom can take root in the most unlikely places, even in the heart of the traditionally undemocratic Arab world.
Arthur Chrenkoff’s latest edition of Good News from Iraq is a highly recommended read for those who tire of reading the inordinate amount of negative news emanating from Iraq. Arthur skillfully compiles the good news relating to government, reconstruction, security and other areas.
Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.