United Press International and the Iraqi paper Azzaman have both reported recently that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is preparing for a second offensive against the city of Mosul in Ninewa province. They said that Iraqi forces are moving north for the operation. This has been in the works since at least mid-August, when Prime Minister Maliki blamed the population of Mosul for not helping with Operation Lion’s Roar/Mother of Two Rivers, which was launched on May 10, 2008. Before that the U.S. also launched an operation in the city at the beginning of the year.
As reported earlier, despite these offensives, little has changed within Mosul. The number of attacks, violent incidents, deaths, and wounded barely changed from January to August 2008 for example. The new quarterly report to Congress by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that the number of attacks from April 1 to July 1, 1,041 total, barely changed compared to July 1 to September 30, 924 total. Thousands of Christians have also recently fled the city as they came under attack. More importantly, the underlying tension in the city between Kurds and Arabs has not been resolved. That is the major reason why there has been no reduction in violence or political accommodation in the city. The eastern half of Mosul is occupied by the Kurdish Peshmerga, which leads many Arabs to view them as occupiers. The Kurds also wish to annex portions of Ninewa province, and perhaps Mosul itself, which also adds to distrust.
All of Maliki’s crackdowns since Basra in March 2008 have been military in nature. Baghdad has been able to clear an area, but there has been little hold and build afterwards. Until the government starts dealing with the political issues, violence will abate during the duration of the military operation in Mosul, and then return to what it was beforehand, as happened after May.
For more on Mosul see:
The Security Situation In Mosul
Back To Mosul
Bad Times For Iraq’s Christians
Christians In Mosul Update
Ali, Fadhil, “Iraqi Government Launches Operation to Expel al-Qaeda from Mosul,” Terrorism Focus, Jamestown Foundation, 5/20/08
Aswat al-Iraq, “92 targets achieved during operations’ first day Ninewa operations commander,” 5/10/08
Kuwait News Agency, “Iraqi PM admits failure of Umm Al-Rubai in military operation,” 9/18/08
Mohammed, Jareer, “Prices soar in Mosul as troops mass for new offensive,” Azzaman, 10/29/08
Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly and Semiannual Report to the United States Congress,” 10/30/08
UPI, “Iraqi Christians forming ad hoc militias,” 10/29/08