US paper: 'The insurgents' troubling gains in Mosul'

Edit: as my text makes clear, this is NOT in fact from a US paper - forgot to correct the heading before posting. :oops:

Depressing stories from Iraq could be posted any day, but I thought this story was interesting for making the point that US forces have been doing their best to do that G5 thang (contrary to some Brit perceptions.)

Although I have lingering doubts about the Koranic acceptability of naming a TV programme "Iraqi Idol"....

Any bets on a successful election taking place as scheduled on Jan 30?

Full story (Lebanon-based newspaper, American reporter who writes regularly for the Washington Post) at

The insurgents' troubling gains in Mosul

By David Ignatius
Special to The Daily Star
Monday, December 13, 2004

A year ago, the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was a model for American commanders of how to do it right. U.S. troops worked closely with Iraqis and gradually gained their trust; they found ways to finance thousands of popular reconstruction projects; they even helped produce offbeat programs for local television, including a Mosul version of "Cops," and a talent show they called "Iraqi Idol."

Today, Mosul illustrates how things have gone wrong in Sunni Muslim areas of Iraq. There are fewer U.S. troops here than a year ago. Meanwhile, a well-organized insurgency has taken root in this city on the banks of the Tigris, intimidating the local population and terrorizing the police. Local security forces are mostly in disarray, and American troops last weekend were fighting running street battles. U.S. commanders say the city's two million residents know little about the election scheduled for Jan. 30, and insurgents have even managed to destroy most of the voter-registration materials.

"Many, many people are afraid," says Brigadier General Carter Ham, who has commanded U.S. forces here since February. The insurgents have infiltrated the city, he says, and their campaign "has had a significant effect on the population."

Ham spoke at his base at the Mosul airport during a quick trip to the city last weekend by General John Abizaid, who commands U.S. forces in the Middle East. Abizaid's visit provided a window on Mosul's importance as a crucial front in the Iraq war. There's no easy optimism about the battle here; U.S. commanders know they face a brutal and determined enemy that combines the ruthlessness of Saddam Hussein's old regime and the passion of radical Islam.

The insurgents' most powerful weapon is raw fear. According to U.S. commanders, they distribute DVDs showing beheadings of their captives. The message: "Here's what we'll do if you try to stop us." After U.S. troops patrolled one Mosul neighborhood recently, insurgents arrived in eight cars. They seized a man and shot him in the head as a warning against cooperation with the Americans.



War Hero
I suppose it's not only in America that right-wing naivety dominates the media:(
Who in the whole feckin world thought that the best we could offer Iraq would be REALITY TV? REALITY TV, when there's no electricity, petrol or jobs and crazed terrorists and kidnappers are shooting folk in broad daylight! I mean, reality TV makes me want to blow myself up - imagine what it does to the Iraqis!

Latest Threads