Despite years of military offensives, Mosul remains a running sore, and there is no end in sight to the bloodshed. Unfortunately, the city’s troubles will only get worse, come 2009.
The 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment, the American unit responsible for bringing a semblance of order to the chaotic metropolis, will soon end its 15-month deployment, and god knows who is going to replace them. Then, in July, under a provision of the newly-signed Status of Forces Agreement, U.S. troops will vacate the Combat Outposts they established earlier this year in Mosul’s worst neighbourhoods, often under fire. They will fall back to to their sprawling Forward Operating Base called Marez and, as the saying goes, commute to the fight.
Whether the Iraqi Army and police can hold the line on their own remains to be seen. Knowing Mosul’s explosive mix of nationalism, islamism, criminalism and general despair, I’m not holding my breath.
My coverage of Mosul is here.