Last Stand in Mosul

BY Herschel Smith
8 years, 8 months ago

We have carefully noted the difference between indigenous insurgents in Iraq and foreign fighters who perpetrate terror, as well as the gradual defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, which is comprised of fighters from Saudi Arabia, Syria, Jordan, Chechnya, Africa, Western China, and other locations across the globe, those fighters battling the U.S. for religious reasons, among others.  Why is it important to make the delineation between the two categories?  Because one must know the enemy before he can know what approach to use.  It has meant everything to the battle for Anbar to know the parties to the struggle.  Some local insurgents, upon watching the defeat of the foreigners in the battle that the 2/6 Marines conducted for Fallujah in Operation Alljah, simply stood down and went home to Al-Qaim, a far Western Province of Anbar, where they were carefully reintegrated into society.  Yet a foreign fighter who has travelled half way across the globe to fight America and who has injected himself with Epinephrine isn’t likely to stand down because you offer him a promise, a paycheck and peace.  Knowing the human terrain means everything in counterinsurgency.

Yet there is a hard core element of indigenous insurgents who will not reconcile with the current government, whether regional or national.  Azzaman reports that they have congregated in Mosul.

A split in the ranks of the Islamic Army of Iraq is certain to reverse the successes U.S. occupation troops allege to have made in the country in the past few months.

The Mosul sector has severed ties with the Islamic Army whose leaders have agreed to cooperate with U.S. troops and turn their guns against Qaeda fighters and elements in the country.

The Mosul sector is one of the most effective and battle hardened of the insurgent group which once claimed the execution of almost daily attacks on U.S. troops.

Mosul –  Iraq’s second largest city and the districts within the borders of the Province of Nineveh, of which the city is the capital –  was the hometown of army generals and senior officers of former leader Saddam Hussein’s armed forces.

From Mosul came the largest number of volunteers of the former Republican Guards, Saddam Hussein’s elite forces, the Special Security and intelligence.

These disgruntled officers and security and army personnel are the commanders of the Islamic Army and the split of Mosul is bound to complicate matters for both the U.S. an the Iraq government.

While the Islamic Army has pledged to suspend all operations against U.S. troops, its Mosul sector has vowed to proceed ahead with anti-U.S. operations.

For the past three days, hundreds of leaflets have been distributed in Mosul, confirming the split and declaring that the city and its environs no longer receive their instructions form (sic) the leaders of the Islamic Army.

The Islamic Army combatants have given themselves a new name al-fatih al-Mubeen and the leaflets said the new formation had nothing to do with the alliances the Islamic Army has entered into recently.

Recall that when al Qaeda utilized brutality to subjugate the population thus engendering hatred for them and what they stood for, various other groups parted ways with them.  Al Qaeda reorganized into what they call the Islamic State of Iraq, while the hard core Ba’athists, Fedayeen Saddam and other Sunni fighters from the previous regime who refused to reconcile created what they call the Islamic Army of Iraq (more than likely a surrogate name for many of them since they didn’t start their fight for religious motivation).  The Islamic State of Iraq (al Qaeda) and Islamic Army of Iraq are not only enemies of the current state of Iraq along with the U.S., but of each other as well.

Azzaman cannot but let its bias be put on display with every commentary they author (anti-Maliki, anti-U.S.), as with the comment about “the successes U.S. occupation troops allege to have made in the country.”  Yet when the bias can be effectively ignored, they have proven accurate in much of their reporting on Iraq.  Assuming the accuracy of this report, the diehard holdouts from the former regime appear to be making their last stand in Mosul (they cannot move further North into Kurdish territory, and Mosul itself is large part Kurdish).  The irony of this is not wasted.  Mosul is where General David Petraeus and the 101st Airborne Division had so much success in 2003.  General Petraeus will get his chance very soon to finally stamp out the Ba’athists and provide what might be a lasting security for the people of Mosul.

  • LT Nixon


    Informative post, thanks. Many of the Sunni insurgency groups got so disgruntled with Al-Qaeda’s brutal tactics that they allied with the coalition in “Concerned Local Citizens” groups. Also, Association of Muslim Scholars, an organization of pro-insurgency anti-US talking heads, recently got booted out of their mosque by the Sunni Enfowment Council for being too pro-Al Qaeda. I think the next big security challenge is the mob-like influence of Shiite militias.

You are currently reading "Last Stand in Mosul", entry #805 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Counterinsurgency,Iraq,Mosul,Sunni Insurgency and was published November 29th, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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