I’m just re-entering the real world after the cruise. This is what I’m hearing, checking in with people on Fallujah. We have found some 600 ready-to-go IED’s there so far, compared to roughly 225 around the rest of the country the previous month. We’ve found 91 major weapons caches in Fallujah–basically every mosque has one–compared to 130 throughout the rest of the country the prior month. The terrorists and insurgents seemed to expect us to come in from the south, but instead we poured in from the north. We probably killed up to 2,000 insurgents and captured another 1,000. So in operational military terms, it seems to have been a big success and to have denied the insurgents an important sanctuary.
Politically, things are hanging together reasonably well. The Iraqi Islamic Party has made sounds about quitting the government, but its officials are still there. Sheik Ghazi Yawar, the president of Iraq, from the largest Sunni tribe, has stayed in the government. The Sunni Ulema Council has announced it will boycott the elections, but so be it–it represents Sunni radicalism.
Mosul has been a problem, one the administration probably should have better anticipated, although the city seems to be coming under control again. The police chief there, now fired and under arrest, was considered a model official not too long ago. His turning is probably a sign that the insurgent’s intimidation efforts are still much too effective. The performance of the police overall–they are the linchpin of security–continues to be a problem, as we are about a year behind where we should be with their training. Not enough effort and resources were poured into the training initially. We’ll be turning out more police soon, but the key ingredient is leadership, which is much harder to create. On the bright side, units of the Iraqi National Guard and the Iraqi Intervention Force seem to be performing well.
And so it goes…