Trouble in Mosul

LM �who is behind the latest trouble in Mosul?� MH �Well so far no claim has been made for today's attack, or even for the existence of the huge arms cash that caused the explosion yesterday. But it's clear that both Iraqi authorities in Mosul and US commanders believe it is Al Qaeda in Iraq. Last week the US commanders in Iraq identified Mosul as one of the last remaining strongholds in Iraq of Al Qaeda and their supporters. So the question now is, I think US commanders are wondering whether they can shift their attention to the city and if they succeed in driving Al Qaeda from the city, it could be perhaps a fatal blow to the group's sustained operations in Iraq.� LM �so you're saying this would be possibly the last place where the coalition forces would have to make a concerted effort to turn Sunnis against the group Al Qaeda in Iraq and towards the Americans?� MH �there are two main areas of concern here: one is that Mosul is so close to the Syrian border that it's providing an ideal logistical and financial hub for insurgent groups of various colors. There is little doubt that they have been able to operate so far relatively freely in Mosul and the surrounding areas and they've proven themselves a very resilient organization. They do still exist in some of the rural areas north of Baghdad, particularly in Diyala province. But the governor of Mosul today told me that Mosul would be the last battle against Al Qaeda, he believes that the population of Mosul is fed up with these attacks and they would, as elsewhere in Sunni areas, rise up against Al Qaeda and drive them out.� LM �Mosul is the place where General David Petreaus basically earned his reputation a few years ago. Is there any kind of contrition or criticism that the surge has not been seen in Mosul, that more troops were not brought to Mosul and perhaps if they had we wouldn't be seeing the violence we are now?� MH �well I think the plan was always to start with Baghdad and the role it out from there and there seems to be little doubt that insurgents have been pushed more towards Mosul. Certainly there are community leaders who are now saying, bring the surge to us. when General Petreaus was in charge of Mosul, initially it was a rather quiet city but shortly after he left the city collapsed, people just weren't loyal to the new authority in Baghdad. But some people do kind of hold back against Petreaus, rightly or wrongly and sort of wonder when they are going to get a security force they can rely on. Today's suicide attack was caused by a man dressed in a police uniform.�

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