Developments in Iraq

November 10, 2004

I came across two potentially significant articles on Free Republic concerning very recent developments in Iraq’s red hot Sunni triangle. ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) online quotes US Commander General Thomas Metz as saying that key figures in the insurgency may have fled Fallujah. Metz said:

I personally believe that some of the senior leaders probably have fled. I would hope not but I’ve got to assume that those kind of leaders understand the combat power we can bring.

Reporter Nick McKenzie said:

It’s been suggested that many insurgents have fled to the nearby city of Ramadi, another key town in the so-called “Sunni triangle”. In the last 24 hours, armed have insurgents paraded in front a camera crew in Ramadi.

Next, Retired Colonel Douglas Macgregor added: DOUGLAS MACGREGOR:

We telegraphed what we were going to do. There were no surprises. The enemy knew when we were coming, where we were coming. As a result it looks as though the large numbers of enemy that we’d hope to trap and destroy inside Fallujah simply aren’t there. What number is there is unclear.

Today General Metz said perhaps 2,000 but I suspect that number will be revised downward. I suspect that we’re going to have to fight others somewhere else. In fact, I’ll be quite blunt. I’m surprised that we haven’t seen some major activity in other areas such as Ramadi up to this point.

As sure as Macgregor made that statement the AP, via the Jamaica Observer, reports that perhaps we do have some activity underway in nearby Ramadi. According to the report:

Hundreds of armed insurgents took up positions yesterday in the centre of Ramadi, fierce clashes erupted to the northwest of the city, and explosions rocked a nearby US base, police and eyewitnesses said.

And, US troops apparently engaged with insurgents in another nearby town, Parawana.

This is all sketchy at this point. But there seems to be mounting evidence that our telegraphing of the Fallujah offensive led many of the insurgents to bolt. I’m sure our commanders knew what they were doing. I do hope they fled to a certain location or locations, like Ramadi, so that we can continue to take the battle to them in areas where they are consolidated. Even if many key insurgents left, I’m confident our offensive in Fallujah will yield great dividends and maybe even constitute a turning point in this phase of the war. It may already be generating collateral benefits, as indicated in this snippet from the above cited ABC (Australian) story:

NICK MCKENZIE: It seems the Fallujah offensive may already be shaping up to pay some dividends for the US administration. Newspaper reports from Japan say the ruling coalition there has agreed to extend its troop commitment to Iraq by another year, on the presumption that the offensive improves security in Iraq.