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  • #2291006

    US Fails to Knock Out Rebels


    by aldanatech ·

    According to the BBC, the attacks by Sunni insurgents in Mosul, Baquba and elsewhere in Iraq suggest that the insurgency is likely to continue despite the victory of US and Iraqi Government forces in Falluja.

    Lightly-armed insurgent forces are like grains of sand.

    As combat power is deployed against them they tend to drift away, either going to ground or seeking another battlefield on which to fight.

    This is exactly what has happened in Falluja.

    While US troops are largely in control of the town they are still meeting sporadic pockets of quite fierce resistance.

    Elsewhere it is clear that some insurgents left Falluja before the US-led assault and have embarked upon a co-ordinated series of attacks in Baquba, Suweira and Mosul.

    This implies a reasonably sophisticated level of centralised command.

    But in military terms it is far from clear what these various attacks amount to.

    The insurgents appear to have suffered serious losses in Falluja, but not necessarily a knockout blow.

    Sporadic violence

    Yet again it is clear that the US simply doesn’t have sufficient troops on the ground to maintain order in several key cities at once while launching a major offensive against another.

    Now a light armoured brigade has been moved on from Falluja towards Mosul.

    This is a strategically important city – close to the northern oilfields and astride routes into Turkey.

    It is also ethnically very mixed. Saddam Hussein’s efforts to Arabise the city by moving in his Sunni supporters inevitably created tensions.

    And these tensions give the violence in Mosul an added inter-ethnic dimension.

    Once Falluja is secure the US may have more troops available to put down the sporadic violence elsewhere.

    But it is still far from clear what message Sunni leaders have taken from the Falluja operation.

    Will they now be willing to join the political process in Iraq or will their bitterness towards the Americans and the interim Iraqi government be even greater?


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    • #3292446

      And on Capitol Hill, military warns of being under strain

      by aldanatech ·

      In reply to US Fails to Knock Out Rebels

      According to Los Angeles Times, continued fighting in Iraq is straining U.S. forces nearly to the breaking point, even as the Pentagon pumps more than $5.8 billion per month into sustaining its forces there, the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines told Congress on Wednesday.

      In testimony to the House Armed Services Committee, the service chiefs said the military would need considerably more money for Iraq over the next year. The chiefs of the Army and Marines in particular stressed the increasing difficulty of recruiting and retaining soldiers, and then equipping them for combat.

      “Make no mistake, today we are at war,” Gen. Michael W. Hagee, commandant of the Marine Corps, told lawmakers.

      In the last year, as the insurgency in Iraq has grown, “the demand on the force has increased exponentially,” Hagee said. “This demand is especially telling in the strain on our Marines, their families, and on our equipment and materiel stocks.”

      For the Army, which has 110,000 soldiers serving in Iraq ? five times as many troops as the Marine Corps ? the strain is particularly acute, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker said. Despite racing over the last year to install heavy armor on its fleet of more than 8,000 Humvees in Iraq, it has so far manufactured the armor for only half, he said. And not all of that has been installed on the vehicles.

      The Army has sent more than 400,000 sets of body armor to its forces in Iraq but needs 373,000 more this year, Schoomaker said.

      It has equipped soldiers serving in the war with 180,000 sets of top-of-the-line clothing and fighting equipment under an initiative to rapidly equip the forces, but it is short 131,000.

      The Army is also rushing to provide its troops with 41,600 more radios, 33,500 M-4 carbines and 25,000 machine guns, and to repair thousands of tactical wheeled vehicles, Schoomaker said.

      “I’m talking about quite a large-scale deal,” he told the committee.

      Republicans joined Democrats on the committee in expressing dismay about the strain on the forces.

      Committee Chairman Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) said the war was “in danger of wearing [the military] out.”

      He added that the unrelenting pace of military operations was “eating up the life span of major equipment, ranging from fighter aircraft to tanks and Humvees.”

      With the Iraq war approaching the two-year mark, Hunter suggested that continuing to fund the overall U.S. military on a peacetime basis ? with periodic “supplemental” war spending ? may no longer be sufficient.

      Though equipment costs have been significant, the service chiefs testified, so has the impact on personnel. Recruiters have been forced to offer large signing bonuses to attract new recruits, while the National Guard and Reserve are struggling to retain people.


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