Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Insurgents in Mosul

The always valuable Joel Wing analyses the rise of the new Iraqi insurgency in the northern city of Mosul and its surrounding state of Ninewa:
Ninewa is once again an urban bastion of the insurgency. Several different groups such as Al Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Sunni, Naqshibandi and perhaps others have rebuilt their networks throughout the province, and are carrying out a steady campaign to wear down the government, security forces, and people. Militants earn a huge amount of money through their extortion rings in Mosul to carry out these operations. They are also able to bring in fighters and supplies from Syria through Ninewa. Their tactics appear to be working, as there are more and more stories of militants being able to act uninhibited in the province. The Americans and Iraqis were never quite able to shake the hold of the insurgency over Mosul. Now it is back and terrorizing the area. The governorate is a perfect location because many in the populace and political class are opposed to Baghdad. That offers more opportunities for at least passive support of the militants, especially for groups like the Naqshibandi that play upon nationalist themes. In turn, the bases in Ninewa can be used to launch further attacks into the central part of the country. The province is therefore an important battleground between the government and militants, which the former is losing.
Read the whole thing for details. Part of the analysis details how government forces alienated the population in the context of the anti-Maliki protest movement that's been going on for some time now.

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