Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More from Michael Yon

If you're at all interested in the situation in Iraq, you need to read Michael Yon's dispatches from Mosul. Michael provides sober, candid reports that avoid the extremes of cheerleading and defeatism. His two most recent updates are especially worth a look:

The enemy in Iraq does not appear to be weakening; if anything, they are becoming smarter, more complicated and deadlier. But this does not mean they are winning; to imply that getting smarter and deadlier equates to winning, is fallacious. Most accounts of the situation in Iraq focus on enemy "successes" (if success is re-defined as annihiliation of civility), while redacting the increasing viability and strength of the Iraqi government, which clearly is outpacing the insurgency.

Empty Jars

Part of the persistence of the insurgency results from a staggering availability of fighting materials. There are tons of explosives and munitions here in Mosul, with more streaming in every day, though mounting evidence strongly suggests this flow is abating. For example, the street price of 60mm "mortar bombs" was about $3/shot 9 months ago. Now it’s up nearly seven-fold to over $20. Car bomb incidents in Mosul, while still causing major damage to both military and civilians, have been declining. Whether this is a temporary dip or steady trend remains to be seen. Even if the ongoing flow were completely cut off, there is still a deep well of materiel on hand.

Stemming the flow of munitions has been an ongoing challenge, one that’s been met with varying degrees of success. It begins with intelligence about how material moves in and out of a city. Mosul has 34 “major” land routes, consisting of 11 roads and 23 “rat lines.” The so-called rat lines are usually no more than hard-packed dirt trails, but they are navigable avenues into Mosul.

The Devil's Foyer


Post a Comment

<< Home