Well informed Bernhard at Moon over Alabama says - "A new phase of the war over Iraq has started. "
It has been telegraphed for some time as Local news reports have been full of plans for Mosul and the numbers of troops heading there for battle for at least the last two / three weeks.
"The coming fight over Mosul will get bloody. As the Arab media will now be censored, it might take a while until we get a somewhat true picture of it.
Mosul is for some time now a hotbed of resistance activities in Iraq.
It is the capital of the Ninawa Governorate near to the Kurdish area in north Iraq. It lies on both sides of the Tigris with five bridges connection these parts. At least two of these bridges have earlier been under attack. Mosul has nearly 2,000,000 inhabitants.
Maliki has ordered a huge offensive against Mosul involving a three brigade size (10,000-15,000 troops) force of Iraqi government troops and U.S. support (likely one brigade - 3,500 troops).
The attack will start in the next few days."... More ..
The unlikely bulk of ex marine and child molester Scott Ritter looms - " Iraq's Tragic failure" at Truth dig .....
"If the president is free to pursue his policies, it could lead to direct military intervention in Iran by the United States prior to President Bush’s departure from office or, failing that, place his successor on the path toward military confrontation. " ... lay off it Scott you've been forecasting the Iranian invasion since June 2006.
However with his ear well close to CIA sources he does provide a timely reminder that the fag end of Saddam's Baathists have survived Bremer's brave boys and reports that in October 2007 the Iraqi Baath Party held its 13th conference, in which it formally certified one of Saddam’s vice presidents, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, as the supreme leader of the Sunni resistance in Iraq.... and then proceeds to punt this guy as the head honcho for Al Quaeda in Iraq (AQIQ).
He sees the coming strife in the North as a reflection of the Tet offensive.... watch this space.
"Saddam may be dead," says Scott, speaking for his paymasters, the CIA " but not so his plans for resistance. The massive security organizations which held sway over Iraq during his rule were never defeated, and never formally disbanded."
Are we to see the resurgence of the (rumoured dead) Nizar al Khazraji and his grisly pals (so popular with the CIA pre illegal invasion) ex Saddam's Information Minister Mohammed Sahaf, (not so Comical Ali) Health Minister Umid Mubarak and Foreign Minister Naji Sabri Al-Hadithi, 59 ... or even the arrival from retirement of Mr Aziz ?
PS : BBC World News briefing at 5.30 GMT says the Taliban have been re-branded for the Spring (Tet ?) offensive as the "Mujahadeen" and are gathering strength in Qetta on the Pak borders - they talk of 1.5 million madrassa studentswilling to fight for the legendary Muja.
USA Today 11/2/08 - Al-Qaeda tries to salvage image
ISN 10/2/08 - Questioning the Mosul offensive -"The military buildup in Mosul is part of a large-scale offensive involving 24,000 US soldiers and 130,000 Iraqi troops, designed to root out purported al-Qaida-linked militants in several provinces."
This Fucking War - No Local Allies in Wings for Mosul Fight - " Iraqi and American commanders are preparing for a prolonged - and possibly pivotal - fight against al-Qaida in Iraq in this vital northern hub. They are missing an essential tool used to uproot insurgents elsewhere: groups of local Sunni fighters - the so called Awakening Councils. "
"...creating ties with Sunni militia allies is a dangerous option. "It's just politically very delicate and the U.S. military would be in danger of breaking with its Kurdish allies if it went in that direction"
Captains Journal - Looming Battle for Mosul 10/2/08 see also Last Stand in Mosul 29/11/07