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A PUBli cAti on of the i nsti tUte for the stUdy of WAr And WEEKLYSTANDARD. COM
A PUBli cAti on of the i nsti tUte for the stUdy of WAr And WEEKLYSTANDARD. COM
Summary
In 2007, Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) was steadily pushed into northern Iraq. By the spring of 2008, the network
attempted to regroup in certain areas, particularly around the city of Mosul. Mosul has long been an important
hub for the Sunni insurgency and Coalition commanders have identified it as a strategic center of gravity for
AQI. Though AQI cells remain in central Iraq, the principal fight against the network is now taking place in Mosul,
western Ninawa province, and further south in the Za’ab triangle. As the fight against AQI proceeds and the
Government of Iraq attempts to establish security and governance in northern Iraq, it is important to understand
the context in which this struggle will take place. Iraq Report #8 focuses on the fight for Mosul beginning with
the context and history of the city and then detailing efforts to establish security in Mosul and Ninawa from the
beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 through the shaping operations that preceded Operations’ Lions’ Roar and
Mother of Two Springs in May 2008.
March 2003 – March 2008
The Fight for Mosul
by eric HAmilton
A crowd of Iraqi and U.S. Soldiers, and Iraqi reporters, gathers around Lt. Gen. Riyadh Jalal Tawfq as he gives a morale-building
speech to the Iraqi soldiers in Mosul, Feb. 27 (Sgt. Patrick Lair, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment).
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O
n January 23, 2008, a 20,000 pound
explosive located in an insurgent weapons
cache in a western Mosul neighborhood
collapsed a three-story apartment building
and several surrounding structures, killing and
wounding more than 300 people. The following
day the Ninawa provincial police chief, Brigadier
General Saleh Mohamed Hassan al-Jiburi, was
killed by a suicide bomber while inspecting the
carnage of the previous day’s attack. In response
to these events, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki
announced that additional Iraqi Security Forces
would be sent to Mosul and that there would be a
“decisive” battle against Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
These events brought Mosul to the forefront
of the fght against AQI and other associated
insurgent groups in Iraq.
In the past year, the fght against AQI was
reshaped by a series of major combat operations
under a new counterinsurgency strategy as well
as the spread of Sons of Iraq (SoI, previously
known as “Concerned Local Citizen”) groups
and Awakening movements. Coalition and Iraqi
Security Forces cleared AQI from its former
sanctuaries and areas of operation in Anbar
province, Baghdad and the surrounding belts,
and Diyala province. Though isolated pockets of
AQI remain in these areas, the network has largely
been pushed north to areas in the Jazeera Desert,
along and behind the Hamrin Ridge, Southwest
of Kirkuk, in the cities of the upper Tigris River
Valley – most importantly, Mosul – and across
Ninawa province. Coalition Forces assess that
while Baghdad has always been the operational
Source: MNF-Iraq. The darker red areas highlight where insurgents are capable of carrying out operations.
The lighter red areas highlight where insurgents are able to transit.
December 2006 mArcH 2008
Al qAeDA in irAq AnD sunni insurgents
Eric Hamilton is a Researcher at the Institute for the
Study of War, www.understandingwar.org. He holds an
M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University
where he worked at the Center for Peace and Security
Studies. He will begin the Politics and International
Relations Ph.D. Program at the University of Southern
California this fall.
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center of gravity for AQI, Mosul is the
network’s strategic center of gravity
– an area of interest that if lost would
make AQI’s survival very diffcult.
Mosul has always been a center for
the Sunni insurgency. It is a critical
hub for AQI funding and foreign
terrorist facilitation. It is also the hinge
that connects the west-east line of
communication that runs from the
Syrian border to the north-south lines
that lead to central Iraq.
AQI and a patchwork of other
insurgents are now frmly entrenched
in large sections of Mosul, as well as
along the road network west of the
city from the Syrian border; along the
cities of the upper Tigris River Valley;
and in the belt of felds, villages, roads,
ridges, and valleys that connects these
two lines southwest of the city. There
are currently three fghts being waged
in Mosul: Coalition and Iraqi Security
Forces are fghting to uproot AQI from
the city; they are also fghting to uproot
AQI in the more rural areas around
the city used as support zones; fnally,
Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq
are engaged in a larger provincial and
regional struggle for land and power.
This backgrounder focuses on the fght against
AQI, but also addresses the other issues as they
relate to the fght for the city of Mosul itself.
The fght for Mosul is sure to be long and
diffcult as it unfolds over the coming months.
What follows is a comprehensive look at the
situation in that city, beginning with historical
context and then proceeding with details of
the contest in Mosul from the beginning of
the Iraq War in 2003 to early 2008. The paper
then explains the enemy system in Mosul and
concludes with a likely strategy for clearing and
securing the city.
context AnD History
Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq,
with a population of approximately 1.8 million
people. It is located 250 miles north of Baghdad
along the Tigris River in Ninawa province and
constitutes the uppermost tip of the so-called
‘Sunni triangle.’ The Sunni triangle is bounded
by Mosul, the cities along the upper Tigris River
Valley, and the cities along the middle Euphrates
River Valley in Anbar province. At the northern
tip of this triangle, Mosul lies on a fault line where
various ethnic, religious, sectarian, and tribal
groups intersect. The distribution of the city is
approximately 70% Sunni Arab, 25% Kurd, and
the remaining 5% a mixture of Shi’as, Turcomans,
Yezidis and Christians.
As in Baghdad, the Tigris River runs through
Northern Iraq
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the center of Mosul, bisecting the city into eastern
and western halves. The western half is populated
predominantly by Sunni Arabs, while the eastern
half is home to a large Kurdish population. As
a result of previous Arabization initiatives, many
of the newer, outer lying districts on Mosul’s
eastern and northern edges have large Sunni Arab
communities. Sprinkled across the city are small
Shi’a, Turcoman, Yezidi, and Christian enclaves.
North and east of Mosul, the surrounding villages
become increasingly Kurdish; although in villages
closer to Mosul, they are mixed
with Arab, Christian, Yezidi, and
Shabak. The areas south and
west of Mosul are largely Arab
with a few contested areas, like
Sinjar, to the west along the Arab
and Kurd fault line.
Tribal structures are also
important in Ninawa province.
In Ninawa and northern Salah
ad Din provinces, there are some
136 different tribal elements
of varying size and infuence,
which are largely subsumed
under the two dominant tribes
in the region, the Shammar and
Jiburi tribes.
5
The Shammar
tribe is very infuential in western
Ninawa and its membership
extends over the border with
Syria. Its infuence and location
have made it an important ally for insurgents
based in Mosul and in Syria. At various times,
the tribe has both passively and actively assisted
insurgents. The Jiburi tribe is very infuential
from the Mosul area to the south where it extends
deep into Salah ad Din province. The Jiburi tribe
is more powerful in Salah ad Din than in Mosul,
and it exerts much infuence along the upper
Tigris River Valley lines of communication. The
tribal history in Mosul itself has been contentious,
but the tribes are generally less infuential now
than they were in the past. The diversity and
history of the city preclude any particular tribe
from being dominant.
Before the Iraq War, Mosul was a Ba’ath
party stronghold. The city had a long history as
a source for the Iraqi Army’s offcer corps that
dated back to the Ottoman Empire. Under the
British Mandate in the early twentieth century
these offcers became important members of the
mandate government and formed the core of the
new Iraqi Army.
6
After the British departed Iraq,
Sunni Arab military offcers continued to be an
important factor in Iraq’s development.
7
In 1968,
many leaders of the newly empowered Ba’ath
regime were Army offcers. This connected the
central government to the social networks that
had supplied Iraq’s offcer corps,
increasing the power of the Sunni
Arab families, clans and tribal
networks in the northwestern
provinces of Iraq.
8
This dynamic
made cities like Mosul and
surrounding areas important
centers for Ba’ath Party rule.
After Saddam Hussein came
to power in 1979, he favored
individuals from his family,
the al-Bu Nasir tribe, and his
hometown of Tikrit. At the same
time, he cultivated ties with the
Sunni Arab population from cities
in the Sunni triangle like Mosul,
Samarra, and Ramadi. He
recruited many individuals from
these Sunni Arab strongholds to
lead his security and intelligence
services.
9
Mosul was home to a
large Ba’ath Party headquarters and continued
to be an important military center. By some
estimates, under Saddam Hussein, Mosul and
the surrounding areas contributed over 300,000
residents to the military, security and intelligence
services.
10
By 2005, there were still an “estimated
1,100 former fag offcers, 2,000 former colonels
or lieutenant-colonels, and 4,000 other former
offcers, plus 103,000 other former soldiers in
circulation” in Ninawa province.
11
After the fall
of Saddam Hussein these offcers and soldiers
formed the core of the Sunni insurgency in
Ninawa.
Mosul’s ethnic balance and history as a
Ba’athist and military stronghold help to explain
the city and the fght taking place there. Part
n By 2005, there were
still an ‘estimated 1,100
former fag offcers,
2,000 former colonels
or lieutenant-colonels,
and 4,000 other former
offcers, plus 103,000
other former soldiers in
circulation’ in Ninawa
province. After the fall of
Saddam Hussein, these
offcers and soldiers
formed the core of the
Sunni insurgency in
Ninawa.
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of the confict in Mosul is tied into the larger
Arab-Kurd competition in northern Iraq
because Mosul’s Arabs are fearful of Kurdish
expansionism. Even though the current fght for
Mosul is not fundamentally ethnically-based, this
factor has created a skeptical population that has
provided sanctuary to insurgents. Furthermore,
many of Mosul’s population of well-trained
former military and security personnel have
supported the insurgency since the war began
because they had the most to lose when Saddam
Hussein fell from power. Mosul, therefore, serves
as a both a recruiting ground and sanctuary for
the insurgency.
From tHe eArly DAys oF tHe WAr
tHrougH tHe bAttle oF mosul
in 2004
Under the original plan for the invasion of
Iraq in 2003, the U.S. 4
th
Infantry Division was
to enter northern Iraq through Turkey. Turkey,
however, did not authorize the United States to
open a northern front through Turkish territory.
As a result, northern Iraq initially lacked a large
combat presence. 2,000 paratroopers from the
173
rd
Airborne Brigade Combat Team (ABCT)
along with 1,000 U.S. Special Operations Forces
(SOF) worked with several thousand Kurdish
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peshmerga forces to push south and west from
their bases in the Kurdish-controlled region.
The primary objectives were to secure Kirkuk
and Mosul, and nearby military assets and oil
infrastructure. Coalition planners were careful
to keep Kurdish political parties and their
peshmerga militias from provoking a Turkish
invasion or infaming Arab-Kurdish tensions. The
paratroopers from the 173
rd
ABCT conducted
Operation Option North securing Kirkuk,
nearby airfelds, and the northern oil felds. A
few hundred SOF, along with
peshmerga forces, frst targeted
the Ansar al Islam group along
the border with Iran to prevent
being attacked from behind and
then turned toward Mosul in
early April.
12
On April 11, 2003, the Iraqi
V Army Corps, responsible for
the Green Line demarcating the
Kurdish region, surrendered
to an SOF contingent north of
Mosul clearing the way into the
city.
13
After the fall of Saddam
Hussein, Mosul, like other places
in Iraq, fell into disorder. The
Central Bank and other banks
were plundered, the Mosul
University library was pillaged,
and looters took everything
from ambulances to beds and
medical equipment from Saddam
General Hospital.
14
The general disorder was
compounded by the various fault lines in the
city that the few SOF present could do little to
contain. Kurds fought Arabs; pro-Saddam Arabs
fought anti-Saddam Arabs; and they all blamed
each other for the disorder.
15

The Arab-Kurd fault line proved most
problematic. The Sunni Arabs had dominated
the Iraqi government and the city of Mosul in
Saddam’s time and they stood the most to lose
from the war in general. In Mosul, the general
unease among Sunni Arabs was exacerbated
by the widespread presence and activities of
Kurdish civilians and militias.
16
Lt. Col. Robert
Waltemeyer, commander of the SOF contingent
in Mosul, tried desperately to keep the militias
outside of the city and contain their activity,
but he was ultimately unsuccessful.
17
Armed
Kurdish civilians were seen looting banks, stealing
cars, forcing Arabs out of homes and fying the
yellow fag of the Kurdistan Democratic Party
(KDP).
18
The KDP and the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan (PUK) – the two largest Kurdish
political parties – rushed to establish presences
in Mosul relying mainly on their peshmerga
militias.
19
These militias secured buildings for
use as political party offces
(including eventually the former
Ba’ath Party headquarters) and
set up checkpoints at key points
in the center of Mosul as well as
on roads leading in and out of
the city. Many Arab residents
complained of being harassed
and arrested by these militias.
20

At the same time, journalists on
the ground reported that the fow
of Kurds from Kurdish cities
like Irbil and Dahuk further
aggravated these problems.
21
In the midst of the general
disorder in Mosul, former regime
elements began to organize
themselves into an insurgency.
Demonstrators appeared in the
streets with pro-Saddam and
anti-Kurd banners and Iraqi
fags calling for the withdrawal
of American troops from Iraq.
22
At various
mosques throughout the city, clerics called for
unity and opposition to the American presence
as former Ba’athists and military personnel met
and began to organize for resistance.
23
Higher-
level Iraqi generals fed to Tikrit and across the
border to Syria, where they continue to organize
and support the insurgency. Clashes between
American military forces working with Kurdish
peshmerga and an embryonic insurgency became
increasingly frequent. Toward the end of the frst
week after U.S. forces arrived in Mosul, 31 Iraqis
were killed and another 150 were injured in these
confrontations.
24
In the most damaging incident,
Mashaan al-Jiburi, an allegedly corrupt opposition
n In April 2003, Lt. Col.
Robert Waltemeyer,
commander of the SOF
contingent in Mosul, tried
desperately to keep the
Kurdish militias outside
of the city and contain
their activity, but he was
ultimately unsuccessful.
Armed Kurdish civilians
were seen looting banks,
stealing cars, forcing
Arabs out of homes and
fying the yellow fag of
the Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP).
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leader who had been in exile in Syria for years,
appeared outside of the local Ba’ath offce where
U.S. soldiers were working. He declared himself
Mosul’s governor, implying that the occupation
forces had appointed him. U.S. soldiers came
under fre and subsequently returned fre in the
ensuing riot, killing a dozen Iraqis and injuring
over a dozen more.
25

A few days after entering Mosul, elements of
the U.S. Army’s 10
th
Mountain Division and
the 26
th
Marine Expeditionary Unit reinforced
the SOF.
26
By the last week of April, forward
elements of the 101
st
Airborne Division arrived
under the command of then-Major General
David Petraeus. Eventually, the 101
st
’s presence
grew to 20,000 soldiers and its responsibility
encompassed all of Ninawa province.
27
The
division was headquartered at the Mosul Airfeld
with units also stationed further west at Tal ‘Afar
and south at the Qayyarah Airfeld. Four infantry
battalions were responsible for Mosul and were
supported by military police (MP), civil affairs
(CA), and engineer battalions.
28
During its tenure in Mosul, the 101
st
Airborne
Division established security, facilitated the local
government’s formation, and helped initiate more
than 5,000 projects by using funds from the
Commander’s Emergency Response Program
(CERP). Major General Petraeus recognized
the problems with Mosul’s ethnic balance and
its signifcance for the Ba’ath Party. Hence, he
crafted his strategy accordingly. The arrival of a
larger American combat force helped diminish
the presence and activities of Kurdish militias. As
troop strength grew, U.S. forces disarmed and
removed peshmerga forces from the city while
taking over security checkpoints.
29
In addition,
3,000 former police offcers were rehired and
put through an intensive training program by the
division’s MP battalion. After training, police
offcers worked with MPs who were spread out
into 14 police stations around the city and with
other American military forces that regularly
conducted patrols with Iraqi police.
30

Major General Petraeus also identifed
problems associated with what he termed “de-
Ba’athifcation without reconciliation.”
31
Mosul
had thousands of level-four Ba’athists and above.
This included 120 tenured professors at Mosul
University, many of whom were educated in the
US or the UK. Petraeus sought exceptions to
de-ba’athifcation for those not deemed security
threats in order to help integrate Sunnis and
former Ba’athists into the new Iraq. The Iraqi
Governing Council rejected these exceptions. As
Major General Petraeus later refected: “It was,
frankly, situations like that that did make some
areas of Iraq—of the Sunni Arab areas—fertile
ground for what initially billed itself as the
resistance, then was stoked by former regime
elements seeking to reverse what had taken place.
And, of course, [that] provided fertile grounds for
al-Qaeda – Iraq to fourish in as well.”
32
Major General Petraeus also worked to
establish representative local government. He
conducted negotiations with the city’s various
ethnic and tribal groups convening a caucus to
select a mayor and city council. A similar process
was instituted on the provincial level to select a
governor and provincial council.
33
In both cases,
General Petraeus tried to foster a well-balanced
government that integrated Kurdish parties
without alienating Sunni Arab constituencies.
This balance helped form the working
relationship between Mosul’s various groups that
emerged in 2003.
General Petraeus also relied heavily on his
CERP funds to establish security and promote
the local government. The CERP program
grew out of the need for commanders on the
ground to disburse relatively small amounts of
money quickly in order to help stabilize local
areas. Commanders have the authority to spend
CERP funds without a centralized process that
requires submitting funding requests, which
can save months of valuable time. The program
was originally funded by seized regime assets
and was later picked up as part of U.S. security
and reconstruction expenditures. Funds are
used for “the building, repair, reconstitution,
and reestablishment of the social and material
infrastructure in Iraq.”
34
In the seven months
after the invasion of Iraq, the 101
st
Airborne
Division used $57 million dollars to underwrite
approximately 5,000 projects including: building
or re-building 500 schools and dozens of medical
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clinics; opening hundreds of kilometers of roads;
and putting an irrigation system back into
operation.
35
In an interview at the time, General
Petraeus stated that “money is the most powerful
ammunition we have” and that the CERP was
critical for keeping Iraqis employed, which
provides tangible evidence that the occupation
powers were helping the Iraqi people.
36
In the nine months that the 101
st
Airborne
Division spent in Mosul, a semblance of normalcy
returned to the city and Mosul’s various groups
and even some former regime elements were
able to form working relationships. Many
of the practices instituted by Major General
Petraeus would become the core of a revised
counterinsurgency strategy that is now being
used to re-secure Mosul. The level of security in
Mosul was at its highest under the 101
st
Airborne
Division. These levels have not been seen in the
city since the departure of the 101
st
.
In January 2004, Task Force Olympia, about
8,700 soldiers built around the 3
rd
Stryker BCT
(SBCT), 2
nd
ID, replaced the 101
st
Airborne
Division reducing the number of forces in
Ninawa by half. In less than twelve months,
the gains made by the 101
st
Airborne Division
were reversed.
37
During 2004, ethnic tensions
grew and a balance emerged whereby insurgents
(From left to right) Maj. Gen. David H. Petraeus, commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division; Ghanim Al-Baso, interim mayor
of Mosul and the Nineveh province; Turkey Hazaa’a, chief of the Mosul customs offce; and Sheike Fenar Ahmad Sfwok, sheikh of
the Al-Shammari tribe and government of Rabia; sign an agreement to reopen the Rabia border crossing with Syria May 13, 2003
(U.S. Army Photo by Pfc. James Matise).
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and Arab nationalists controlled the west side of
Mosul and Kurdish political parties and militias
controlled the east side.
38
In October 2004,
the 3
rd
SBCT, 2
nd
ID was replaced by the 1
st

SBCT, 25
th
ID. One of the 1
st
SBCT, 25
th
ID’s
battalions, however, was immediately deployed
to Fallujah as part of Operation Phantom Fury,
leaving Mosul with only 3 battalions.
39
As
the Coalition deployed fewer combat forces to
Ninawa, insurgents from Fallujah fed in large
numbers to Mosul.
In the second week of November 2004,
insurgents mostly associated with AQI and Ansar
al-Sunna, in addition to some former regime
groups, began conducting operations against
Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces across the
city and targeting Kurds in eastern Mosul. On
November 11
th
, several hundred insurgents
stormed police stations across the city. Instead
of confronting the masked gunmen, all but 200
of Mosul’s 5,000 policemen refused to fght and
melted away into the population. The insurgents
then established themselves in western Mosul
and some areas of eastern Mosul. Undermanned
Coalition Forces relied on several thousand
Kurdish peshmerga to help retake the city.
Fighting ensued over the next two weeks, leaving
many killed and wounded before a degree of
security was restored.
40

The Battle for Mosul in November 2004 had
lasting implications. First, Kurdish forces re-
entered the city in large numbers. Those units
have not left, as they were re-fagged and now
operate as the 2
nd
Iraqi Army Division. Second,
before November 2004, Sunni Arab insurgents
associated with the former regime operated in
Mosul, but afterward there was an increasing
presence of AQI and Ansar al-Sunna, which were
frmly entrenched in western Mosul and parts
of eastern Mosul. A stalemate emerged with
overwhelmingly-Kurdish army forces operating on
the east side of the city and insurgents on the west
side. The city’s Sunni Arab population tolerated
and even supported AQI and other insurgents
and Mosul developed into a hub for AQI. This
stalemate did not change very much through
2006.
operAtions AgAinst Aqi in 2007
By the end of 2006, AQI, other Sunni
insurgent groups, and Shi’a militias controlled
large swaths of terrain across Iraq. Coalition
Forces operated out of large Forward Operating
Bases (FOBs) and conducted mostly targeted
raids, while focusing on a train and transition
strategy. Around this time, two dynamics began
to change the situation in Iraq – the establishment
of the Anbar Awakening Council and the growth
of the Sons of Iraq (SoI) movements; and a
change in counterinsurgency strategy coupled
with a surge in combat forces.
41

The new counterinsurgency strategy and
troop surge focused initially on Baghdad and
the surrounding areas, where combat forces
conducted clearing operations to retake areas
under enemy control or infuence. Although
Multi-National Division-North (MND-N) was
already conducting an economy of force mission,
additional forces were shifted from northern
Iraq to Baghdad. The 4
th
Heavy Brigade
Combat Team, 1
st
Cavalry Division (4
th
HBCT,
1
st
CD) took over responsibility for Ninawa
province from the 3
rd
Stryker Brigade Combat
Team, 1
st
Infantry Division (3
rd
SBCT, 1
st

ID) in December 2006 without its 2-12 Cavalry
battalion. That battalion deployed to the Mansoor
security district in Baghdad, instead of to Ninawa
with the rest of the brigade. This reduced the
Coalition’s presence in Ninawa province from
four battalions to three and reduced the presence
in the city of Mosul from two battalions to one.
The 4
th
HBCT, 1
st
CD was headquartered
at FOB Marez in Mosul. The 3-4 Cavalry,
a Reconnaissance, Surveillance, and Target
Acquisition (RSTA) squadron, was based at FOB
Sykes and was responsible for the area stretching
from Tal ‘Afar out to the Syrian border. The 1-
9 Cavalry, an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron
(ARS), was responsible for training Iraqi Army
and Police offcers in the province. Only the 2-
7 Cavalry, a Combined Arms Battalion (CAB),
remained in the city of Mosul.
42
In addition
to the loss of one battalion of Coalition Forces,
the Iraqi Army moved two battalions from its
2
nd
Division from Mosul to Baghdad. In total,
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1,000 U.S. soldiers and about 6,500 Iraqi soldiers
and policemen were responsible for securing a
contested city of almost 2 million.
43

At the beginning of 2007, the main effort for
both Coalition and insurgent operations in Iraq
was in Baghdad and the surrounding
areas in central Iraq. Conditions in
Mosul and Ninawa were actually
signifcantly better at the time and the
number of attacks fell by approximately
one-half over the frst half of the year. In
December 2006, there was an average of
15-18 attacks a day in Ninawa province.
44

In March 2007, this number fell to 10-13
attacks a day.
45
By July, this number fell
further to 7-9 attacks.
46
Attacks involved
improvised explosive devices (IED),
vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIED), and small
arms fre. VBIEDs, the most effective of
these weapons, were used in attacks 3-5
times a week.
47

There were three reasons for the
decline in the number of attacks during
this time. First, the increasing capacity of
the 2
nd
and 3
rd
Iraqi Army Divisions led
to greater effectiveness in Coalition and
ISF operations. Second, AQI was focused
on the fght for central Iraq and may have
shifted reinforcements there. And third,
a great deal of infghting among insurgent
groups in Mosul and the surrounding
area led to a decrease in the enemy’s
ability to conduct attacks.
48

While attacks actually decreased in
northern Iraq through the frst half of
2007, the fght for central Iraq began
pushing AQI further north. As Coalition
operations cleared areas in Baghdad,
insurgents moved outside of the city to
the northern and southern Baghdad belts
and up into Diyala province. In June
2007, Coalition operations followed AQI
out into the belts and up into Baqubah
methodically pushing AQI further and
further north from the capital. As the
operational tempo increased throughout
the spring in central Iraq, Coalition
and Iraqi Security Forces also targeted
AQI along the Tigris River Valley and in
Ninawa province in order to disrupt insurgent
pockets and the lines of communication that run
from Mosul down the Tigris River Valley.
In the months of May and June 2007, 13
U.S. Army Sgt. Vincent Minghelli (kneeling) and Sgt. Raymond
Flores provide outer security for their team while they are in an
Iraqi house during Operation Ant Hill in Mosul, Iraq, on June 7,
2007. These Soldiers are doing random house checks and asking
the local citizens for information about the growing insurgent
problem in the community. Minghelli and Flores are assigned to
Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade
Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division (Staff Sgt. Quinton Russ, Joint
Combat Camera Center).
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AQI leaders were captured or killed in Mosul,
including six emirs, four terrorist cell leaders,
and two facilitators. Several of these individuals
played key roles in AQI operations in Mosul.
On May 29
th
, ISF detained Aman Ahmad Taha
Khazam al-Juhayshi, the alleged emir of Ansar
al-Sunna in Mosul.
49
Two weeks later on June
12
th
, ISF and Coalition Forces killed Kamal Jalil
Bakr ‘Uthman, also known as Sa’id Hamza, who
was an AQI military emir in Mosul.
50
Days later,
Coalition Forces killed another key AQI leader,
Izz al-Din, also known as Abu Ahmad, who led
fve AQI cells in the city.
51
On June 25, Coalition
Forces killed the AQI emir for western Mosul,
Khalid Sultan Khulayf Shakir al-Badrani, also
known as Abu Abdullah.
52
By the end of June,
the AQI network in Mosul had seriously been
weakened by the deaths of these key leaders and
the capture of a number of other AQI insurgents,
facilitators, and fnanciers.
53

Coalition and Iraqi forces continued to
dismantle the Mosul AQI network in July and
August 2007. During this time, operations
were conducted almost daily. By mid-July, it
had become evident that U.S. and Iraqi efforts
during the previous month had greatly strained
the AQI network. Several individuals detained
in July operations had been recently promoted
to fll the “numerous vacancies in the terrorist
leadership structure.”
54
Because many of the
newly-promoted operatives were less qualifed,
it facilitated further disruption of AQI in Mosul.
Coalition raids in mid-July netted a suspect
believed to be the most active AQI cell leader in
Mosul, a security emir for Mosul, and an AQI
battalion commander.
55
During the months of May, June, and July
2007, Coalition Forces developed an intelligence
picture of the AQI leadership network in
Mosul and increasingly targeted higher-ranking
individuals. This intelligence provided the basis
for a series of operations in late July and early
August in which Coalition and Iraqi forces
targeted the AQI emir for all of Mosul. Beginning
on July 20
th
, raids targeting associates of the emir
of Mosul resulted in a number of key captures,
including the AQI administrative emir for Mosul,
the emir’s driver, and a sniper cell leader. During
a cordon and search operation in the northeastern
part of the city on August 1
st
, ISF engaged and
killed the emir for Mosul, Saf, and three of his
bodyguards who attempted to fee in a pickup
truck. Saf was the overall emir for Mosul and the
suspected deputy emir for all of northern Iraq.
56

Not only did these key captures and kills
diminish AQI’s capacity, but several large caches
and IED factories discovered during these
months further undermined the terrorist network
in Mosul. It is also worth noting that many of
these fnds were due in large part to tips by
local citizens, suggesting growing willingness to
cooperate with Iraqi and Coalition forces. In early
July 2007, ISF discovered a large IED factory,
an explosives cache, and a military grade bunker
system on the outskirts of Mosul.
57
Nearly 10,000
pounds of ammonium nitrate, a chemical used to
make home-made explosives, were found at the
site along with other bomb-making materials.
58

The next day, in the al-Sina’a neighborhood in
western Mosul, ISF discovered a second IED
factory, which specialized in constructing curb-
shaped IEDs.
59
On July 11
th
and 19
th
, caches
were also found in the al-Sina’a neighborhood
and on the western outskirts of Mosul. As IA
soldiers continued to target illegal weapons
production in western Mosul, another large
weapons cache was discovered at a home in the al
Najar neighborhood on July 30
th
.
60
By August, Coalition and ISF operations in
Mosul had seriously degraded the AQI network
in northern Iraq. Military operations in the
preceding months had been successful and were
becoming even more effective, local Iraqis became
more forthright with tips and intelligence about
AQI members and weapons caches, and there
were widening divisions between insurgents and
the population as was the case elsewhere in Iraq.
By late summer, however, there were signs that
AQI’s migration north could soon have a greater
impact on Mosul as levels of insurgent activity
increased south of the city.
In August, the 4
th
HBCT, 1
st
CD shifted some
its focus to the Za’ab triangle southeast of Mosul,
in northern Salah ad Din province – a region that
spans the area roughly between Qayyarah, Bayji,
and Kirkuk.
61
Za’ab is a strategic area connecting
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multiple insurgent lines of communication; and
Coalition Forces had not had a presence there
in months. By August, it was clear that it had
become a safe haven that AQI had fallen back
on when pushed out of areas further south.
Moreover, there were signs that Mosul itself
was also starting to feel the effects of the AQI
displacement from central Iraq. Increasingly,
individuals that had fed Baghdad started showing
up in northern Iraq. In one case in late August,
Coalition Forces detained an alleged AQI leader
who had recently fed from Baghdad along with
seven of his associates. This leader provided
fnancial support to AQI, was a foreign terrorist
facilitator, and controlled terrorist operation
south of the Baghdad Airport before coming to
Mosul.
62
In addition, attacks in late summer
hovered around 7-10 a day, but days with higher
numbers of attacks became more frequent.
63

Around the same time that AQI migrated
north, the 3-4 Cavalry redeployed from Iraq in
early September without replacement, leaving
only two battalions in Ninawa. The 1-9 Cavalry
shifted from a training mission and was given
responsibility for the area from Tal ‘Afar out to the
Syrian border, as well as the Qayyarrah area south
of Mosul.
64
The 2-7 Cavalry remained in Mosul
and continued to disrupt the AQI network during
September under the division-level offensive
Lightning Hammer II. As part of operations
in Mosul, Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces
targeted AQI fnanciers, facilitators, weapons
facilities, and leadership.
On September 3 and 4th, 2007, Coalition
and Iraqi Army forces detained two key AQI
fnanciers, including one who was believed to be
the number one AQI fnancier in Ninawa.
65
On
September 8
th
, Iraqi Security Forces cleared
a large weapons cache and VBIED and IED
factory in western Mosul. The cache included
three prepared VBIEDs, three partly constructed
VBIEDs, and 21 IEDs.
66
On September 24
th

and 25
th
, Coalition Forces targeted the emir
for all of northwestern Iraq in northeast Mosul,
detaining seven individuals, including the emir’s
brother who was responsible for arranging
vehicles, distributing wages, and supplying false
documentation for AQI members in Mosul.
67
In
October, Coalition Forces continued to disrupt
the network under Lightning Hammer II. During
various raids, Coalition Forces targeted and
detained cells leaders, an administrative emir, and
the security emir for the city.
68
By November 2007, it was clear that AQI and
other Sunni insurgents had migrated further
north, where attacks were higher than anywhere
else in the country.
69
On November 5
th
, MND-
N launched the division-level offensive Operation
Iron Hammer. In addition to the Khalis Corridor
in Diyala province, the Za’ab triangle and Mosul
were highlighted as areas of concern given their
increased levels of AQI activity. In Mosul,
intelligence driven raids targeted insurgents
cells and weapons caches on both sides of the
city, in addition to foreign terrorist facilitators.
70

Outside of Mosul, support areas and lines of
communication were targeted south of the city
near Qayyarah and west of the city along the main
roads through Tal ‘Afar and Rabiah to the Syrian
border. Senior leaders were thought to have
fallen back to this area and even across the border
into Syrian.
71
During this time, Abu Ayyub al-
Masri, the overall leader of AQI, is known to
have transited Mosul twice.
72
These operations
continued in the last week of November and into
December under the follow on to Iron Hammer,
Operation Iron Reaper.
73

cHAnging DynAmics in mosul
At tHe enD oF 2007
During the summer of 2007, Coalition and
Iraqi operations seriously challenged the AQI
network in Mosul. A number of senior Mosul
leadership individuals were killed and detained,
and insurgent infghting weakened terrorist
operations. At the same time that the network in
Mosul deteriorated, however, the fght in central
Iraq began pushing insurgents north. By the end
of summer, elements of AQI fell all the way back
to Ninawa province in order to rebuild the Mosul
network, as well as to regroup and reconstitute
their overall network in order to repenetrate areas
where they had been ousted from in central Iraq.
In September 2007, Coalition and Iraqi
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Security Forces reached a security trough in
Ninawa. Operations were still successfully
targeting AQI, but a larger insurgent presence and
a determined effort by AQI to rebuild the Mosul
network led to increases in the number of attacks
in Ninawa. From March to September 2007,
there were about 7-9 attacks on any given day in
Mosul and the surrounding area. Only on a few
occasions did AQI carry out spectacular attacks
demonstrating a higher operational capability.
On May 16
th
, the network conducted a complex
attack in and around Mosul. 200 armed gunmen
attacked the main provincial jail using 6 VBIEDs,
14 IEDs, RPGs, and assault rifes. At the same
time 2 VBIEDs were used to destroy a bridge
just west of the city.
74
On August 14
th
, several
massive VBIEDs targeted Yezidi villages near the
border town of Sinjar in western Ninawa, killing
344 and injuring more than 700.
75
Coalition and
Iraqi operations made large-scale, coordinated
attacks like these infrequent, but by the end of the
summer attacks against Iraqi Police checkpoints
and patrols began to increase slightly.
A spike in violence and the number of attacks
coincided with the latter weeks of Ramadan at
the end of September. On September 26
th
,
four VBIEDs detonated across northern Iraq,
one of which targeted the Mosul courthouse
and killed three Iraqi citizens while wounding
more than 40 others.
76
Later that week, AQI
gunmen killed three prominent Sunni Imams
from three different mosques in Mosul.
77
And
two weeks later, a VBIED targeted an Iraqi police
station on the western side of the city, killing 16
and wounding another 50.
78
These larger and
more symbolic attacks were accompanied by
more ordinary IED and small arms attacks, and
kidnappings and murders. As more and more
insurgents moved north, this spike in violence
gave way to a period in which attacks in Ninawa
actually began to increase throughout the fall and
into winter, even as attacks everywhere else in
Iraq declined. By late October and throughout
November, attacks increased to around 80 a week
or more than 11 a day on average. In the frst
week of December 2007, this number rose to 103
or almost 15 attacks a day.
79
Throughout late summer and fall,
commanders thought areas in northern Iraq,
particularly Mosul, would be areas where AQI
would attempt to regroup.
80
Planners hoped
that the 2
nd
and 3
rd
Iraqi Army Divisions, two
of the more effective Iraqi units, would be able
to join with two Coalition battalions to secure
Ninawa and prevent AQI from regrouping and
reconstituting in and around Mosul.
81
By the
frst week of December, however, it was clear that
AQI had indeed regrouped in the Mosul area and
that Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces needed
more troops and an increase in operational
tempo. Commanders on the ground in Mosul
frst recommended the return of the two Iraqi
battalions from the 2
nd
division that had been
moved to Baghdad as part of Operation Fardh
al-Qanoon.
82
Moreover, decisions were likely
taken at this time to shift a Coalition battalion to
Mosul as well as to form the Ninawa Operations
Command.
December tHrougH
eArly 2008
In early December 2007, the 4
th
HBCT,
1
st
CD rotated out of theatre and was replaced
by the slightly larger 3
rd
Armored Cavalry
Regiment (ACR), a highly-mobile, combined
arms unit.
83
The 3
rd
ACR deployed with three
squadrons, two of which took over responsibility
for Ninawa.
84
The 3-3 Armored Cavalry (AC)
squadron was assigned to Mosul and the 1-3 AC
squadron was assigned to western and southern
Ninawa. The 3
rd
ACR increased Coalition troop
strength in Ninawa slightly, and added 300 tanks
and Bradley personnel carriers, and a number
of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles
(MRAPs).
85
Upon taking over responsibility for
Ninawa province, the 3
rd
ACR, in conjunction
with Iraqi Security Forces, increased the tempo of
operations to pressure a resurgent AQI network
in Mosul. A key part of these operations was
the development of a more comprehensive
intelligence picture about the AQI network in
the city in order to set conditions for operations
in 2008, when a larger force presence would be
available.
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In the frst few weeks of December, Coalition
Forces detained three wanted individuals and
an additional 26 suspected terrorist associates
in Mosul in near-daily operations.
86
The most
important individual detained was Yasin Sabah
Salih Jubayyir, AQI’s security emir for most of
northern Iraq, who was captured on December
13
th
. Yasin was a foreign fghter who helped
direct AQI security operations across the north.
He operated along the upper Tigris River
Valley and was a senior weapons and terrorist
facilitator.
87
Also captured on December 13
th

with Yasin was Najim ‘Abdalla Hasan Salih,
AQI’s security emir for Mosul.
88
The capture
of these two individuals, in turn, helped develop
intelligence about the Mosul network and led
to multiple captures and kills, including Haydar
al-Afri, also known as Imad Abd al-Karim, on
December 25
th
. Haydar was the AQI leader for
the western region of Mosul where he facilitated
weapons and materials to cells in western Mosul,
and planned attacks against Iraqi and Coalition
Forces.
89
In the last few days of December,
Coalition Forces detained another 30 individuals
including one who was the leader of an
assassination cell that conducted attacks against
Iraqi Security Forces. He was also involved in
extortion, executions, and counterintelligence
operations.
90

In the frst two weeks of January 2008,
Coalition Forces detained 53 individuals in
the Mosul network. Among them were foreign
terrorist facilitators, individuals associated with
IED attacks, two IED cell leaders, media cells,
and associates of AQI senior leaders.
91
One
of the individuals detained on January 6
th
was
Iraqi army Lt. Gen. Riyadh Jalal Tawfq, commander of the Ninevah Operations Command, greets Iraqi army soldiers as he arrives
at an Iraqi army station in Mosul, Feb. 27 (Sgt. Patrick Lair, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment).
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A PUBli cAti on of the i nsti tUte for the stUdy of WAr And WEEKLYSTANDARD. COM
believed to be AQI’s deputy emir in the city. He
was involved in planning attacks and operated
as a judge in an illegal court system that ordered
and approved abductions and executions. He
was also a close associate of the two AQI leaders,
Yasin and Haydar al-Afri, that were captured
in December.
92
On January 7th, another high-
value target, Mohammed Ibrahim Ali, a wanted
AQI bomb maker and IED cell leader, was also
detained.
93
In several operations in the second
half of January, Coalition Forces continued
to target the network associated with Yasin,
Haydar al-Afri, and the deputy emir captured
on January 6
th
, leading to the capture of an IED
cell leader, individuals involved in kidnapping,
and maintaining and facilitating weapons.
94
In
an operation on January 21
st
, Coalition Forces
detained AQI’s overall security emir for Mosul.
95
By mid-January 2008, a number of security
developments led to an augmented and more
coherent force structure in Mosul. First,
Coalition Forces moved the 1-8 Infantry
Battalion, a Combined Arms Battalion (CAB),
from the Baghdad area to Mosul. The 1-8
Infantry Battalion took over responsibility for
Mosul with the 3-3 AC squadron, splitting the
city into two halves with each unit covering
one side. Second, the two battalions from the
2
nd
Iraqi Army Division that were deployed in
Baghdad began returning to Mosul. And third,
the Iraqi Security Forces established the Ninawa
Operations Command (NOC).
The purpose of the NOC was to coordinate
the efforts of the Iraqi Army, Iraqi Police, Border
Security Forces, and Iraqi Special Operations
Forces operating in Ninawa.
96
Furthermore,
the establishment of the NOC provided a
coherent Iraqi operational command to partner
with Coalition forces throughout the province.
Importantly, Major General Riyadh Jalal Tawfq
– a Sunni Arab – was selected to head the NOC.
Previously, he was commander of the 9
th
Iraqi
Army division, which was responsible for the
Rusafa area in east Baghdad. Rusafa was one of
the key fashpoints in the sectarian confict that
consumed Baghdad in 2006. General Riyadh is
credited with having helped secure this key district
in Baghdad in 2007, and was selected based on
his ability to lead effective military operations and
to work across the sectarian and ethnic cleavages
that often plague Iraq. These qualities were
deemed important for trying to coordinate the
efforts of the largely Kurdish Iraqi Army divisions
in Ninawa with the largely Arab population and
police force in Mosul.
Despite these developments, security in
Mosul continued to deteriorate from December
2007 through February 2008, with increased
signifcant daily attacks, at least half of which
consisted of IEDs and VBIEDs.
97
In the month
of January alone, 300 IEDs were found or
detonated by the 3-3 AC squadron.
98
By the
middle of February, attacks averaged around 20
per day, ranging anywhere from 12 to 30. One
week, attacks spiked to 180, or almost 26 attacks
a day.
99
Moreover, spectacular attacks became
more frequent. The Zanjili bombing on January
25
th
killed and wounded almost 300 Iraqis, and
fattened an entire neighborhood block.
100
The
following day, the Ninawa provincial police chief
was killed by a suicide bomber while inspecting
the carnage.
101
And on January 28
th
, a complex
attack coordinating an IED attack and small
arms fre conducted by AQI and Ansar al-Sunna
insurgents killed fve U.S. soldiers in the Sumer
neighborhood in the southeastern part of the
city.
102
The Zanjili explosion, in particular, raised the
visibility of Mosul as an insurgent stronghold.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made a speech two
days after the explosion calling for a fnal, ‘decisive
battle’ against AQI in Mosul.
103
Maliki said that
reinforcements were being rushed to the city
and that the fght would begin immediately.
104

Maliki’s statements, however, belied the facts
on the ground. Moving forces to Mosul had
been planned long before and most of the forces
had already arrived. More importantly, no
one expected the fght for Mosul to be an end-
all battle, nor end quickly. In Major General
Hertling’s words, “It is not going to be this
climactic battle…It’s going to be probably a slow
process.” This process had begun in December
with the movement of forces to Mosul, efforts to
begin establishing combat outposts (COP) across
the city, and operations to develop intelligence
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about the enemy system in and around the city.
In February 2008, Coalition Forces continued
operations against the AQI network targeting
neighborhoods in both western and eastern
Mosul. In the frst two weeks of the month
Coalition Forces detained a suicide bombing
cell leader and his associates, another judge of
an illegal terrorist court system, and a number
of associates of a senior AQI foreign facilitator
also believed to be responsible for the January
28
th
attack against Coalition soldiers.
105
Many
of those individuals detained were associated
with others detained or killed in December
and January, indicating that a more developed
intelligence picture was leading to greater
operational success.
During February, Coalition and Iraqi Security
Forces also heavily targeted the Sumer and
Palestine neighborhoods in the southeastern part
of Mosul. These neighborhoods are the frst point
of entry into Mosul from the outer lying areas
on the eastern side of the Tigris River south of
the city. Sumer in particular has been a highly
contested area with AQI using the neighborhood
to project forces into other areas further north in
eastern Mosul and also as a transit point in and
out of the city on the eastern side. On February
7
th
, elements of the 1-8 Infantry battalion and
the 2
nd
Iraqi Army Division began Operation
Viking Harvest II in an effort to clear the Sumer
and Palestine neighborhoods of insurgents and
establish a new COP.
106
The area was closed to
traffc for three days in effort to stem the escape of
insurgents.
107
On the frst day of the operation,
41 individuals were detained in both targeted
and cordon-and-search raids that were developed
based on intelligence.
108
In the following
days, a number of other wanted and suspected
individuals were detained and a large weapons
cache including suicide bomb vests and materials
was found and cleared.
109
Operations in the southeastern part of Mosul
ultimately led to a number of high-value captures.
On February 18
th
, Coalition Forces captured
Abd-al-Rahman Ibrahim Jasim Tha’ir, the
Mosul military emir, who oversaw all of AQI’s
operations in Mosul.
110
He was formerly the
military emir for Bayji, but was moved to Mosul
after the previous military emir was detained
on January 21
st
.
111
Abd-al-Rahman sat at the
top of a pyramid of various Mosul networks and
cells. His capture helped develop intelligence
about the southeastern network and led to several
other important captures later in the month.
Three days after Abd-al-Rahman’s capture,
Coalition Forces conducted another operation in
southeastern Mosul targeting the alleged senior
leader for the network in Bayji.
112
During the
same week, Coalition Forces detained several
other individuals on the western side of the city
including an associate of numerous foreign AQI
leaders in Samarra who recently relocated from
Samarra to Mosul.
113

Abd-al-Rahman’s captured was important
in terms of operations in Mosul and Ninawa
province in general, but these three captures also
highlight the move of AQI from further south
along the Tigris River to Mosul. The individual
from Samarra likely relocated because of the
successful operations in months prior to clear
Samarra of insurgents. Mosul may have just been
a place to regroup. The Bayji area, however, does
not seem to have been cleared of insurgents yet.
The relocation of Abd-al-Rahman and the senior
leader from Bayji to Mosul, along with similar
cases in recent months, suggests that the Bayji
area is still very active and that AQI is using the
area as a reserve force for emirs captured or killed
in Mosul and possibly elsewhere.
On February 27
th
, the intelligence gathered
from Abd-al-Rahman and various other
operations in February led Coalition Forces to
the location of the AQI military emir for the
southeastern region of the city, Abu Yasir al-Saudi,
AKA Jar Allah.
114
Jar Allah was a Saudi national
who spent time fghting in Afghanistan before
arriving in Iraq in August 2007 along with three
other Saudis. Upon arriving in Iraq Jar Allah and
his associates were sent to Mosul where they were
to help supervise AQI activities in the city. They
quickly became an important part of operations
in Mosul and Jar Allah eventually took charge of
the AQI network in the southeastern region of the
city. Jar Allah was connected to the AQI senior
leader for the northern Iraq networks and was an
associate of Abu Ayyub al-Masri.
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As the military emir for southeastern
Mosul, Jar Allah was “a key operational leader”
responsible for planning and conducting attacks
across the city. Jar Allah’s network was responsible
for the attack on Coalition Forces on January 28th
that killed 5 soldiers in the Sumer neighborhood
in southeastern Mosul. During this complex
attack insurgents frst fred on a Coalition patrol
from a nearby mosque and then targeted the unit
with an IED device. His network also constructed
a large VBIED using 5,000 pounds of explosives
packed inside a truck painted to look like a Red
Crescent food relief truck. Coalition forces found
and cleared this VBIED on February 15th before
it could be used. In addition to directing AQI’s
operations in southeastern Mosul, Jar Allah was
also involved in smuggling and kidnapping, and
helped direct AQI’s foreign terrorist facilitation
activities in the city.
The diagram above was released by MNF-
Iraq after Jar Allah’s capture and shows the type of
intelligence picture that Coalition Forces worked
to develop since January and the signifcant
progress made against not only the southeastern
network, but the overall Mosul network.
The unnamed military emir at the top of the
chart is Abd-al-Rahman, who’s name had not
been released yet. Below Abd-al-Rahman is
Jar Allah (Abu Yasir al-Saudi) and his southeast
network. As the diagram depicts this network was
fairly sophisticated with multiple cells in charge
of various activities ranging from RPG, IED
Source: MNF-Iraq
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and anti-aircraft attacks to administration and
operational security. Many of Jar Allah’s associates
were also foreign nationals. In January and
February, Coalition Forces captured 8 members
of this network and killed 4 others. And in the
days that followed Jar Allah’s capture Coalition
Forces continued to target the network.
115
These
operations led to another high value target later
in the week. On March 8
th
, Coalition Forces
killed Ahmad Husayn Ghanim ‘Ali, also known
as Abu Mansur, the security emir for east Mosul.
Abu Mansur was AQI’s deputy emir for the city
and was a judge in the network’s illegal court
system.
116

Operations in March and April have continued
to target the southeastern network as well as
other areas. Moreover, the formation of a more
comprehensive strategy has emerged, which is
described below after a description of the enemy
system in Mosul.
tHe enemy system in mosul
Mosul is situated at a strategic crossroads
in northern Iraq at the meeting point of west-
east and north-south lines of communication.
Looking along the west-east line, the important
feature is Mosul’s proximity to the Syrian border.
This line has been important to the Sunni
insurgency since 2003. A lesser line also stretches
from the east near the Iran-Sulaymaniyah area
where Ansar al-Sunna still maintains a base of
operations.
117
The north-south line runs along
Main Supply Route (MSR) Tampa from the
Turkish border down through Mosul and then
roughly follows the Tigris River Valley/MSR
Tampa down through central Iraq. This line
has functioned as one of the primary lines of
communication for the Sunni insurgency, and, in
particular, AQI.
Mosul’s strategic location and population
have made it a hub for the Sunni insurgency in
northern Iraq. The west-east and north-south
lines connect leadership elements in Syria to those
in Mosul and subsequently down to central Iraq.
Coalition Forces assess that while Baghdad has
always been the operational center of gravity for
AQI, Mosul is the network’s strategic center of
gravity – an area of interest that if lost would make
AQI’s survival very diffcult.
118
First, Mosul is
critical for AQI’s fnancing. Its location makes
it a hub for fnanciers traveling back and forth
between Syria and Iraq. The city also houses a
number of large banks where wire transfers are
received. Mosul is also the center for trade and
industry in northern Iraq, which is important
because AQI has relied on raising money through
intimidation, extortion, fraudulent real estate
deals, and kidnapping.
119
Second, Mosul is
the destination for foreign terrorists entering
Iraq from Syria. Foreign fghters and future
suicide bombers are given instructions on how
to get to Mosul and from there link up with the
network that then funnels them south into central
Iraq.
120
Third, in addition to its role in funding
and facilitation, Mosul has been a large urban
sanctuary for AQI because of its location away
from central Iraq. Insurgents fell back on Mosul
in November 2004 and have now done so again.
At the beginning of March between one-half
and two-thirds of the attacks in Iraq occurred
in or around Mosul.
121
AQI is considered the
largest and most active terrorist group in the city,
but there are also elements of Ansar al-Sunna,
Jaysh Islamiya, 1920 Revolutionary Brigades, and
Naqshibandi groups.
122
Coalition intelligence
offcers believe there are 400 to 600 “hardcore”
AQI terrorists and 1,200 to 1,600 nationalist
insurgents and other individuals (often simply
working for money).
123
Mosul is considered
the last urban stronghold of AQI and is home
to “a fractured insurgency of many different
groups.”
124
Coalition Forces believe that AQI
has tried to regroup and reconstitute its network
in Mosul, while attempting to unify the larger
insurgency, which has become increasingly
fractured.
125
There is some evidence that AQI
and Ansar al Sunna have formed a working
relationship in Mosul, but there is still infghting
between elements of the insurgency, particularly
AQI and the nationalist groups.
126
The ultimate
goals of these different factions will likely remain
irreconcilable, but there may be instances of
tactical and operational cooperation as the
insurgency is squeezed.
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Mosul’s enemy groups are mixed among the
population across both the west and east sides
of the city, but the west side and the eastern
and northern suburbs of Sumer/Palestine and
Rashidiyah are the main strongholds. Beyond
Mosul, AQI uses suburbs, close villages, and
villages out in the belts as support zones for
operations in the city. These areas are homes to
safe houses, more elaborate insurgent complexes,
weapons caches, weapons assembly sites, and
areas where AQI can simply escape security
operations in the city.
127
Attacks on the west side
of the city tend to target Coalition Forces, Iraqi
Army, and Iraqi Police patrols, checkpoints, and
infrastructure (COPs, bases, stations). Attacks
on the east side also target security forces, but
civilians in the largely Kurdish areas are heavily
targeted as well.
128
Insurgents have also
attacked Kurdish political party offces on the
east side. Outside of the city insurgents mostly
target security patrols along main routes. Attacks
against security patrols are generally conducted
with IEDs, while those against checkpoints and
infrastructure tend to be conducted with VBIEDs
and sometimes small arms fre. Large attacks
against civilians are sometimes conducted with
VBIEDs, but most tend to be small arms fre
attacks or outright murder, like beheadings.
The pattern of these attacks suggests that
AQI is trying to control roads and prevent patrols
with IEDs both inside and outside of Mosul. At
the same time checkpoints and infrastructure
are targeted in order to thwart the establishment
of an effective security structure across the city.
Moreover, attacks against Kurdish civilians and
political party offces are a deliberate effort to
divide Arabs and Kurds in order to fnd sanctuary
among an Arab population skeptical of Kurdish
intentions in northern Iraq.
tHe strAtegy to secure mosul
Through the frst two months of 2008,
Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces captured or
killed 142 AQI insurgents in Mosul including
a number of senior leaders.
129
At the same
time that Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces
developed intelligence and conducted operations,
they also worked to implement the frst stages of
a larger, more comprehensive strategy for clearing
the city and establishing greater security. This
strategy will include both kinetic and non-kinetic
operations.
Major General Mark Hertling described the
emerging strategy for Mosul as very similar to
the strategy employed in Baghdad the previous
year with Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces
methodically taking control of key areas across
the city and maintaining forces in these areas.
130

Commanders have stressed that this kinetic
process of securing Mosul will take at least several
months.
131
The key to this strategy is moving
security forces from large FOBs on the outskirts
of the city to COPs in neighborhoods where they
can sustain a 24/7 security presence and protect
the population. By the beginning of March,
Coalition Forces had already built 20 COPs
across Mosul and more were in the planning
stage.
132

The frst COPs were built in western
neighborhoods like Yarmuk and Rissala, eastern
neighborhoods like Sumer, Palestine, and
Intisar, and Rashidiyah in the north.
133
These
neighborhoods are located just outside of central
Mosul and many of them border key highways
like MSR Tampa, which are important routes
for Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. These
outer neighborhoods are also the links between
insurgents operating inside and outside of the city.
This approach suggests that Coalition Forces aim
to establish security in these areas frst and then
expand security zones both toward center city and
the outskirts.
Once COPs are established they house a
combination of Coalition soldiers, Iraqi Army
soldiers, and Iraqi Police offcers. These forces
then work together to collect intelligence and
clear neighborhoods, establish both permanent
and spot checkpoints in their area of operation,
and conduct presence patrols. In doing so, the
enemy does not enjoy sanctuary, or freedom
of movement and supply. This helps to set the
conditions for possible reconciliation and local
governance. Once COPs are established and
security can be expanded outward, Coalition and
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Iraqi leaders try to link neighboring COPs to
one another in order to form a seamless security
blanket across the city. This process is still in the
early stages in Mosul. Some of the areas that
need to be cleared have not had a Coalition or
Iraqi Army presence for 16 months or longer.
Furthermore, insurgents on the west side of
the city are considered among the most active
and best organized in all of Iraq.
134
On top of
this, tensions between a largely Kurdish Iraqi
Army Division and Arab Iraqi Police units and
population will make this process even more
diffcult.
135

Other ideas have also been discussed to try to
deny enemy freedom of movement. In December,
the Ninawa provincial council approved a plan
to dig a large trench around the outside of
Mosul and establish a series of entrances with
checkpoints to better control who enters and exits
the city.
136
It is not clear where this project stands
at present. Coalition Forces, however, in a similar
effort have been working to repair breaches to
a twenty foot high earthen berm that was built
around parts of the city after the November 2004
Battle of Mosul.
137
There have also been plans
discussed by ISF to build large concrete barriers
similar to those in Baghdad around problem areas
like Sumer.
138
Outside of Mosul, commanders have stressed
that operations in areas west and south of the
city will be important for establishing security in
Mosul. On the immediate outskirts of the city
are a number of villages and industrial areas that
insurgents have been operating from and where
they take kidnapping victims. For example, the
Badush area just west of the city where a large
cement factory is located has provided a more
rural operating area for insurgents out of the reach
of forces in Mosul. The village areas of Salam
and Yarimjah have provided similar sanctuary
just southeast of the city. Further to the west, the
areas of Tal Afar, Sinjar, and Biaj, and the villages
along the corridor of the main highway that runs
from the Syrian border through these areas to
western Mosul will be targeted. To the south, the
Tigris River Valley cities of Sharqat and Qayyarah,
as well as smaller villages like Hammam al-Alil
and al-Hadra will be targeted. And the southwest
belt that swings between these west-east and
north-south lines, which includes villages like
Adba and Jurn, will also be targeted.
Military operations will be important for
setting the conditions for greater security in
Mosul, but the most important aspects of an
enduring security structure will be the result of
political integration and progress. First, local
tribes and former military personnel and regime
elements need to be integrated into security forces
and local government. Second, the status of
Kurdish areas in northern Iraq needs to be settled.
To some degree these issues are interrelated.
Beyond these two issues, the Government of Iraq
(GOI) needs to support provincial reconstruction
and provincial elections will help establish a more
representative provincial government.
In 2003, parts of Mosul’s large Sunni Arab
population – particularly former Iraqi Army
soldiers - lost a lot of political power when
Saddam Hussein fell from power. Major
General Petraeus worked hard to reintegrate the
reconcilable part of this population while cracking
down on the irreconcilable part in 2003, which
helped ensure a smaller and less enthusiastic base
of support for the insurgency. When security
deteriorated in November 2004 and was only
reestablished with a large Kurdish military
presence, an uneasy balance was established
across the city with greater support for AQI
and other insurgents stemming from distrust
of Kurdish intentions. This uneasy balance has
ossifed to some degree and could be exploited
by AQI. Part of the strategy to secure Mosul,
therefore, requires working with local Arab tribes
and doing more to reintegrate Arabs into security
forces.
The SoI programs have been successful in
parts of Iraq, but commanders have stressed
that they are unlikely to work in Mosul because
of Kurdish fears of organized Arab security
forces operating outside of a formal security
structure. There are currently some 1,200 SoI
members in Ninawa mostly south of the city
among the Jiburi tribe. In January, when talk
about a ‘decisive battle’ in Iraq circulated, Iraqi
leaders stressed that participation from local
Mosuli tribes was needed and that efforts would
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be made to reach out to them.
139
On February
18
th
, Prime Minister Maliki traveled to Ninawa
to meet with a delegation of leaders from the
Jiburi tribe to explain the upcoming operation
and the importance that Iraq’s tribes have had in
helping secure Iraq in the last year and promoting
reconciliation.
140
Efforts to reach out to the
Shammar tribe in western Ninawa have not been
as successful because of the support that AQI
receives from some tribe members and intense
disputes with Kurds over the status of certain
western cities like Sinjar.
141

Since January, there has also been an effort to
recruit Iraqi security forces from among Mosul’s
Arab population, especially from west Mosul
where Coalition and Kurdish Iraqi Army soldiers
have a diffcult time operating. In February,
the NOC was able to enlist 2,200 new soldier
and offcer candidates for the Iraqi Army during
a recruiting drive. 1,300 of the individuals
were new recruits, while 900 were former
noncommissioned and commissioned Iraqi Army
offcers. An announcement was also made that a
new recruiting center would be opened in western
Mosul to continue receiving recruits from the
area.
142

The divide between Arabs and Kurds in
Ninawa province has been a problem since the
beginning of the Iraq War. Large swaths of
Kurdish majority areas in Ninawa, including
Mosul, are eligible under article 140 of the
Constitution to be annexed by the Kurdish
Regional Government (KRG), and Kurdish
offcials in the Ninawa provincial government are
actively pushing measures to move this process
forward.
143
Kurds do not constitute a majority
in the province, but control the Governor and
deputy Governor posts, as well as the Ninawa
Provincial Council. Kurdish political parties
and peshmerga forces have been active in Mosul
since the frst days of the war as detailed above.
They have also been active in the northern and
western parts of the province as well. There is a
perceived Kurdish expansionism that many Arabs
in Ninawa fear. The United Nations is currently
working this issue, and resolution of some of the
contested areas in Ninawa and elsewhere could
go a long way toward helping establish security in
northern Iraq.
At the same time that operations and political
integration move forward, Coalition and Iraqi
Security Forces, and local government will begin
efforts to reconstruct secure parts of Mosul that
have been devastated by attacks in the last year.
The city and province will both need support
from the GOI for these efforts, but GOI funding
of provinces has been problematic across Iraq
and the north should expect no different. Later
in the year, provincial elections will take place,
which will also be important for political progress
in Mosul and Ninawa. Sunni Arabs largely
boycotted the 2005 elections and as a result
Kurdish political parties occupy most government
positions in the province. Participation by Sunni
Arabs in the upcoming elections will hopefully
redress some of the imbalances and provide a
legitimate outlet for current grievances.
conclusion
The fght for Mosul will be long and will play
out over the coming months. Coalition and Iraqi
forces will likely employ a similar strategy to that
employed in Baghdad with some key differences.
While Baghdad was cleared with twenty Coalition
battalions, there are only two in Mosul. The lion’s
share of the burden will therefore fall on Iraqi
Security Forces. As a result, the operation is likely
to be much slower than if it were conducted by
Coalition Forces. The Iraqi Security Forces are
still building capacity and their shortcomings in
logistics and supply have long been a problem
in Mosul. This will be an important test to see
whether a slimmed down Coalition Force can
work with Iraqi Security Forces to create and
maintain security in an area that is a sanctuary for
a large number of determined insurgents.
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Endnotes
1 Sam Dagher, “Al Qaeda Goes North: Police Chief
Killed in Mosul,” Christian Science Monitor, January
25, 2008; Joshua Partlow and Ann Scott Tyson,
“Five U.S. Soldiers are Killed When Convey is Hit
in Mosul,” Washington Post, January 29, 2008; Sgt.
Patrick Lair, “MPs, Dogs Sniff Out Explosives in
Mosul, Deny Enemy of Supplies,” MNF-I Daily
Stories, February 27, 2008.
2 Kim Gamel, “Iraq Announces Major Offensive in
Mosul,” Associated Press, January 25, 2008.
3 See Eric Hamilton, “Developments Fighting Al Qaeda
in Iraq,” Backgrounder #21, Institute for the Study of
War, January 29, 2008.
4 Rear Admiral Greg Smith, Operational Briefng,
March 2, 2008; Colonel Donald Bacon, “Coalition
Focus on Clearing Mosul Terrorist Networks,”
Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable, March
3, 2008; General David Petraeus as quoted in Jim
Garamone, “General Petraeus Describes Factors
Affecting Iraq Assessment,” American Forces Press
Service, March 3, 2008.
5 Major General Mark Hertling, Press Briefng,
February 11, 2008.
6 Phebe Marr, The Modern History of Iraq, Second
Edition (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2004),
p. 26.
7 Marr, The Modern History of Iraq; Charles Tripp, A
History of Iraq, New Edition (New York: Cambridge
University Press, 2000).
8 Tripp, A History of Iraq, p. 193.
9 Ibid., p. 196-7, 227.
10 Thanassis Cambanis, “U.S., Iraqi Troops Fight to
Take Control in Mosul,” The Boston Globe, November
17, 2004.
11 Michael Knights, “Lessons from Mosul,” Policy Watch
#950, The Washington Institute for Near East Studies,
January 27, 2005.
12 On pre-war planning and the invasion of Iraq in 2003
see Michael Gordon R. Gordon and General Bernard
E. Trainor, Cobra II: the Inside Story of the Invasion
and Occupation of Iraq (New York: Pantheon Books,
2006).
13 Ibid., p. 450-4.
14 David Rohde, “Sniper Fire Greets GIs in Big City
in North,” New York Times, April 11, 2003; Dennis B.
Roddy, “Looting Heavy After U.S. Moves Into Mosul
Without a Fight,” Pittsburgh Post Gazette, April 12,
2003.
15 David Rohde, “Sniper Fire Greets GIs in Big City
in North,” New York Times, April 11, 2003; Stephanie
Nolen, “Arabs Blame Mosul Looting on Kurdish
Conquerors,” The Globe and Mail, April 12, 2003;
Phillip Robertson, “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report
from the Most Violent Place in Iraq,” Salon, April 23,
2003.
16 Phillip Robertson, “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report
from the Most Violent Place in Iraq,” Salon, April 23,
2003.
17 David Rohde, “In Newly Occupied Mosul, U.S.
Colonel Faces 1.7 Million Added Responsibilities,”
New York Times, April 12, 2003; Michael Gordon R.
Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: the
Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (New
York: Pantheon Books, 2006), p. 450.
18 David Rohde, “Sniper Fire Greets GIs in Big City
in North,” New York Times, April 11, 2003; Phillip
Robertson, “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report from the
Most Violent Place in Iraq,” Salon, April 23, 2003.
19 Kieran Murray, “U.S. Troops Disarm Kurdish
Peshmerga in Mosul,” Reuters, April 26, 2003; David
Rising, “Kurdish Paramilitaries Stop Armed Patrols,”
Associated Press, April 28, 2003.
20 Phillip Robertson, “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report
from the Most Violent Place in Iraq,” Salon, April 23,
2003.
21 Middle East News Agency, “Iraqi Arabs, Kurds Clash
in Mosul,” BBC Monitoring Middle East, April 12,
2003.
22 Ibid.
23 Phillip Robertson, “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report
from the Most Violent Place in Iraq,” Salon, April 23,
2003.
24 David Rohde, “Deadly Unrest Leaves a Town Bitter at
US,” New York Times, April 19, 2003.
25 “David Rohde, “At Least 10 Iraqis are Dead in
Clashes in Northern Iraq,” New York Times, April
15, 2003; Michael Howard, “Riots Greet Would-Be
Leader of Mosul,” The Guardian, April 16, 2003;
David Rohde, “Deadly Unrest Leaves a Town Bitter
at US,” New York Times, April 19, 2003; Phillip
Robertson, “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report from the
Most Violent Place in Iraq,” Salon, April 23, 2003.
26 David Rohde, “In Newly Occupied Mosul, U.S.
Colonel Faces 1.7 Million Added Responsibilities,”
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New York Times, April 12, 2003; Gordon and Trainor,
Cobra II: the Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation
of Iraq, p. 451-454.
27 18,000 troops from the 101
st
and 1,000-2,000 non-
divisional units. Major General David Petraeus, 101
st

Airborne Division Commander Liver Briefng From
Iraq, May 13, 2003.
28 Major General David Petraeus, 101
st
Airborne
Division Commander Liver Briefng From Iraq, May
13, 2003; Donna Miles, “Major General David H.
Petraeus Cites Highs and Lows of Iraqi Deployment,”
American Forces Press Service, March 17, 2004.
29 Kieran Murray, “U.S. Troops Disarm Kurdish
Peshmerga in Mosul,” Reuters, April 26, 2003; David
Rising, “Kurdish Paramilitaries Stop Armed Patrols,”
Associated Press, April 28, 2003.
30 Major General David Petraeus, 101
st
Airborne
Division Commander Liver Briefng From Iraq, May
13, 2003; Michael R. Gordon, “101
st
Airborne Scores
Success in Northern Iraq,” New York Times, September
4, 2003; Major General David Petraeus, “Lessons of
the Iraq War and Its Aftermath,” PolicyWatch #855:
Special Forum Report, Washington Institute for Near
East Policy, April 9, 2004.
31 General David Petraeus, Interview with Sky New,
March 5, 2008.
32 Ibid.
33 Major General David Petraeus, 101
st
Airborne
Division Commander Liver Briefng From Iraq, May
13, 2003; Michael R. Gordon, “101
st
Airborne Scores
Success in Northern Iraq,” New York Times, September
4, 2003; Major General David Petraeus, “Lessons of
the Iraq War and Its Aftermath,” PolicyWatch #855:
Special Forum Report, Washington Institute for Near
East Policy, April 9, 2004.
34 “This includes but is not limited to: water and sanita-
tion infrastructure, food production and distribution,
healthcare, education, telecommunications, projects
in furtherance of economic, fnancial, management
improvements, transportation, and initiatives
which further restore the rule of law and effective
governance, irrigation systems installation or
restoration, day laborers to perform civic cleaning,
purchase or repair of civic support vehicles, and
repairs to civic or cultural facilities.” See Mark S.
Martins, “The Commander’s Emergency Response
Program,” Joint Forces Quarterly, No. 37 (2
nd
Quarter
2005), p. 46-52.
35 Donna Miles, “Major General David H. Petraeus
Cites Highs and Lows of Iraqi Deployment,”
American Forces Press Service, March 17, 2004; Major
General David Petraeus, “Lessons of the Iraq War
and Its Aftermath,” PolicyWatch #855: Special Forum
Report, Washington Institute for Near East Policy,
April 9, 2004.
36 Ariana Eunjunj Cha, “Military Uses Hussein Hoard
For Swift Aid; Red Tape Cut, Cash Flows to Iraqi
Contracts,” Washington Post, October 30, 2003.
37 For an excellent background on Mosul in 2004 see
Michael Knights, “Lessons from Mosul,” Policy Watch
#950, The Washington Institute for Near East Studies,
January 27, 2005.
38 Thanassis Cambanis, “In Mosul, Kurdish Militia
Helps Keep Order,” Boston Globe, November 18,
2004.
39 Edward Wong, “Insurgents Attack Fiercely in North,
Storming Police Stations in Mosul,” New York Times,
November 12, 2004.
40 “US Bombs Flashpoint Iraqi City of Mosul as
Insurgents Flock In,” Agence France Presse-English,
November 11, 2004; Edward Wong, “Insurgents
Attack Fiercely in North, Storming Police Stations in
Mosul,” New York Times, November 12, 2004; Edward
Wong, “Raids in the Mosul Region Undermine Value
of Victories,” New York Times, November 14, 2004;
Edward Wong, “U.S. Troops Move to Reign in Rebels
in North of Iraq,” New York Times, November 16,
2004; “U.S., Iraqi Troops Begin Operations to Secure
Parts of Mosul,” Associated Press, November 16, 2004;
Thanassis Cambanis, “In Mosul, Kurdish Militia
Helps Keep Order,” Boston Globe, November 18,
2004; Thanassis Cambanis, “Fear of Ethnic Confict
Charges Mosul Unrest,” Boston Globe, November 30,
2004; Michael Knights, “Lessons from Mosul,” Policy
Watch #950, The Washington Institute for Near East
Studies, January 27, 2005.
41 For an overview of these developments see Eric
Hamilton, “Developments Fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq,”
Backgrounder #21, Institute for the Study of War,
January 29, 2008.
42 Wesley Morgan, Multi-National Force – Iraq, Order
of Battle, Institute for the Study of War, April 2008;
Chris Roberts, “Parade Marks Return of Fort Bliss
Units from Iraq,” El Paso Times, February 26, 2008.
43 Michael R. Gordon, “Pushed Out of Baghdad Area,
Insurgents Seek Hub in North,” New York Times,
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December 5, 2007.
44 Colonel Stephen Twitty, Pentagon Press Briefng from
Iraq, July 27, 2007.
45 Colonel Stephen Twitty, Pentagon Press Briefng from
Iraq, March 2, 2007.
46 Colonel Stephen Twitty, Pentagon Press Briefng from
Iraq, July 27, 2007.
47 Colonel Stephen Twitty, Pentagon Press Briefng from
Iraq, March 2, 2007.
48 Colonel Stephen Twitty, Pentagon Press Briefng from
Iraq, July 27, 2007.
49 Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070529a,
“Al-Qaeda Regional Emir, 13 Others Detained,” May
29, 2007; Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release
A070625c, “Al-Qaeda emir of West Mosul killed
during Coalition operations,” June 25, 2007.
50 Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070613d,
“ Al-Qaeda Military Emir of Mosul Killed,” June 13,
2007.
51 Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070615a,
“One terrorist leader captured, another killed in
Coalition operations,” June 15, 2007.
52 Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070625c,
“Al-Qaeda emir of West Mosul killed during Coalition
operations,” June 25, 2007.
53 Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070616a,
“Four terrorists killed, 20 detained in Coalition
operations,” June 16, 2007; Multi-National Force-
Iraq Press Release A070617a, “10 terrorists killed,
20 detained in Coalition operations,” June 17, 2007;
Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070619a,
“Coalition raids target al-Qaeda; one terrorist killed,
15 suspects detained,” June 19, 2007; Multi-National
Force-Iraq Press Release No. 20070621-20 IA, “CF
roll-up multiple caches, fugitives,” June 21, 2007;
Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070622a,
“Terrorist fres on own family during raid,” June
22, 2007; Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release
A070623b, “7 terrorists killed, 10 detained, bombs
destroyed,” June 23, 2007.
54 Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070717a,
“Coalition Forces detain suspected al-Qaeda senior
leader in Mosul,” July 17, 2007.
55 Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070712a,
“19 suspected al-Qaeda detained in Coalition
raids,” July 12, 2007; Multi-National Force-Iraq
Press Release A070714a , “Al-Qaeda cell leader, 17
suspected bombers captured,” July 14, 2007; Multi-
National Force-Iraq Press Release 20070720-12 Iraqi,
“Coalition Forces, detain Al-Qaeda leader in Mosul,”
July 20, 2007.
56 Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release 20070802-
09, “Al-Qaeda emir of Mosul shot, killed by ISF,”
August 2, 2007; Multi-National Force-Iraq Press
Release A070720b3 terrorists killed, “44 suspects
detained in Coalition operations,” July 20, 2007.
57 Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20070708-06 IA, IP discover IED factory near Mosul
July 8, 2007.
58 Ibid.
59 Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20070711-03 IED factory discovered, specialized in
‘curb-shaped’ bombs, July 11, 2007.
60 Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20070801-01 Local tip leads to cache discovery,
August 1, 2007
61 The 4
th
HBCT, 1
st
CD picked up responsibility for
the Za’ab Triangle back in February. Colonel Stephen
Twitty, Pentagon Press Briefng from Iraq, September
7, 2007; Also see “Za’ab Triangle” under Regions
at the Institute for the Study of War website www.
understandingwar.org.
62 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A070830b,
“Two terrorists killed, 29 suspects detained; Coalition
disrupts al-Qaeda ops Aug. 30, 2007
63 Colonel Stephen Twitty, Pentagon Press Briefng from
Iraq, September 7, 2007.
64 Ibid.
65 Amit R. Paly, “Iraqis Joining Insurgency Less For
Cause Than Cash,” Washington Post, November
20, 2007; Colonel Stephen Twitty, Pentagon Press
Briefng from Iraq, September 7, 2007; Multi-
National Division – North PAO Press Release
20070905-13, “2nd IA Soldiers Capture Confessed
‘Key AQI Financier’ in Nineveh,” September 5, 2007.
66 Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20070908- 03, “Lightning Hammer II Uncovers
VBIEDs, IED Cache in Mosul,” September 8, 2007.
67 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A070924b,
“Three Terrorists Killed, 21 Suspects Detained
During Operations Targeting al-Qaeda,” September
24, 2007; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release
A070925b, Five Terrorists Killed, 22 Suspects
Detained During Operations Targeting al-Qaeda,”
September 25, 2007.
68 Multi-National Corps – Iraq Press Release 20071008-
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07, “Iraqi Forces, U.S. Special Operations Forces
Dismantle Terrorist Cells, Kill One Insurgent,”
October 8, 2007; Multi-National Corps – Iraq Press
Release 20071009-01, “Iraqi Security Forces, U.S.
Special Operations Forces Detain Six in Northern
Iraq,” October 9, 2007; Multi-National Force – Iraq
Press Release A071014a, “Coalition Forces Positively
Identify Terrorist Killed in Recent Operation,”
October 14, 2007.
69 Major General Mark Hertling, Department of
Defense News Briefng, November 19, 2007.
70 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071107b,
“Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq Networks,
Three Terrorists Killed, Nine Suspects Detained,”
November 7, 2007; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press
Release A071108b, “Coalition Forces Capture a
Suspected Terrorist, Four Other Suspects Detained,”
November 8, 2007; Multi-National Division – North
PAO Press Release 20071109-02, “Iraqi Security
Forces, Coalition Forces Kill 14 Enemy Fighters,
Detain 44 in Northern Iraq,” November 9, 2007;
Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071110a,
“Ten Suspects Detained as Coalition Forces Target
al-Qaeda,” November 10, 2007; Multi-National
Force – Iraq Press Release A071111a, “Coalition
Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda Network; 16 Suspects
Detained,” November 11, 2007; Multi-National
Force – Iraq Press Release A071113a, “Coalition
Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda Networks; One Killed. 14
Detained,” November 13, 2007; Multi-National
Division – North PAO Press Release 20071117-07,
“Iron Hammer successful in pursuit of al-Qaeda in
Iraq,” November 17, 2007; Major General Mark
Hertling, Department of Defense News Briefng,
November 19, 2007; Multi-National Force – Iraq
Press Release A071120a, “Coalition Forces Find
Detention Facility and Weapons Cache; 12 Killed,
Including Senior Mosul al-Qaeda Leader, Five
Detained,” November 19, 2007.
71 Major General Mark Hertling, Department of
Defense News Briefng, November 19, 2007.
72 Michael R. Gordon, “Pushed Out of Baghdad Area,
Insurgents Seek Hub in North,” New York Times,
December 5, 2007.
73 Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20071202-03, “Iron Reaper Continues Pursuit of
al-Qaeda,” December 2, 2007; Major General Mark
Hertling, Operational Briefng, December 18, 2007.
74 Kirk Semple, “Street Battles in Iraqi Cities Point to
Dire Security Status,” New York Times, May 17, 2007.
75 Megan Greenwell and Dlovan Brwari, “Truck Bombs
Kill 175 in Iraq’s North; Religious Sect Targeted By
4 Coordinated Blasts,” Washington Post, August 15,
2007; James Glanz, “Iraq Toll Reaches 250 in the
Deadliest Attack of the War,” New York Times, August
16, 2007; Colonel Stephen Twitty, Pentagon Press
Briefng from Iraq, September 7, 2007.
76 Andrew E. Kramer, “Bombings in Iraq Said to Signal
Ramadan Offensive,” New York Times, September 27,
2007; Multi-National Division – North PAO Press
Release 20070926-07, “Suicide VBIEDs in Northern
Iraq, Fail to Shake Iraqi Will,” September 26, 2007.
77 Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20070930-06, “Three Imams Murdered During
Separate Attacks in Ninawa,” September 30,
2007.
78 Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Mudhafer al-Husaini,
“Suicide Truck Bombing Kills 16 in Mosul,” New York
Times, October 17, 2007; Multi-National Division
– North PAO Press Release 20071017-04, “SVBIED
Kills 3 IPs, Wounds 12 in Ninawa Province,” October
17, 2007.
79 Michael R. Gordon, “Pushed Out of Baghdad Area,
Insurgents Seek Hub in North,” New York Times,
December 5, 2007.
80 Steve Negus, “The City Where Iraqi Forces Aim to
Stand Firm,” Financial Times, October 12, 2007.
81 Ibid.
82 Ann Scott Tyson and Sudarsan Raghavan, “Gates
Cautiously Upbeat on Iraq; Secretary, on Visit, Says
Stability, Democracy ‘Within Reach’”, Washington
Post, December 6, 2007.
83 Responsibility was offcially handed over on
December 12, 2007. Sgt. 1st Class Brian Sipp, 4th
BCT, 1st CD PAO, “First Cavalry’s ‘Long Knife’
Brigade Turns Over Northern Iraq Battlespace to 3d
ACR ‘Brave Rifes’ After 14-Month Tour,” December
12, 2007; Wesley Morgan, Multi-National Force – Iraq,
Order of Battle, Institute for the Study of War, April
2008.
84 The 2-3 Armored Cavalry deployed to Diyala
province in support of operations under the 4
th

SBCT, 2
nd
ID.
85 Solomon Moore, “In Mosul, New Test of Iraqi Army,”
New York Times, March 20, 2008.
86 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071229b,
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“Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq
Operations; Three Killed, 34 Detained,” December
29, 2007.
87 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071213a,
“Coalition Forces Target Foreign Terrorist Facilitators,
11 Detained,” December 13, 2007; Rear Admiral
Greg Smith, Operational Briefng, February 5, 2008.
88 Rear Admiral Greg Smith, Operational Briefng,
February 5, 2008.
89 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071225a,
“Coalition Forces Target Terrorist Facilitators, Suicide
Bombers; 13 Killed, 27 Detained,” December 25,
2007; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release
A080109a, “UPDATE: Coalition Forces Positively
Identify Terrorist Killed in Operation Dec. 25,”
January 9, 2008.
90 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071227b,
“Coalition Forces Target Assassination and
Facilitation Networks, 19 Detained,” December 27,
2007; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release
A071229b, “Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda
in Iraq Operations; Three Killed, 34 Detained,”
December 29, 2007; Multi-National Force – Iraq
Press Release A071230a, “Coalition Forces Disrupt
al-Qaeda in Iraq Operations; Six Killed, 14 Detained,”
December 30, 2007; Multi-National Force – Iraq
Press Release A071231c, “Coalition Forces Target
Foreign Terrorist Facilitators, 21 Suspects Detained
(Kirkuk, Sammara, Mosul),” December 31, 2007.
91 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080107a,
“Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda in Iraq Leadership;
Six Suspects Detained,” January 7, 2008; 1
st
Lt.
Richard Ybarra, 115
th
Mobile PAO Detachment,
Task Force Iron Public Affairs, “CF Detain High
Value Target While Under Fire in Mosul,” January
8, 2008; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release
A080107a, “Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda Leaders
in Northern Iraq, Six Detained,” January 9, 2008;
Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080112a,
“Coalition Forces Targets al-Qaeda Networks in
Baghdad, Mosul; 15 Detained,” January 12, 2008;
Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080113b,
“Coalition Forces Targets Foreign Terrorists,
Propaganda and IED Cells; 13 Detained,” January
13, 2008; Multi-National Corps – Iraq Press Release
20080114-14, “Iraqi Special Operations Forces, U.S.
Special Forces Detain Terrorist Cell Leader (Mosul),”
January 14, 2008; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press
Release A080115a, “Coalition Forces Ddisrupt al-
Qaeda in Iraq Operations, 14 Suspects Detained,”
January 15, 2008; Aswat al-Iraq, “Two Gunmen
Arrested in Mosul,” Translated from Arabic, January
15, 2008.
92 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080107a,
“Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda in Iraq Leadership;
Six Suspects Detained,” January 7, 2008.
93 1
st
Lt. Richard Ybarra, 115
th
Mobile PAO
Detachment, Task Force Iron Public Affairs, “CF
Detain High Value Target While Under Fire in
Mosul,” January 8, 2008.
94 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080117b,
“Al-Qaeda Operations in Northern Iraq Disrupted;
Two Killed, 17 Detained,” January 17, 2008; Multi-
National Corps – Iraq Press Release 20080119-
08, “Iraqi Security Forces Detain Ten in Separate
Operations,” January 19, 2008; Multi-National
Force – Iraq Press Release A080119a, “Coalition
Disrupts al-Qaeda Networks Across Iraq, 16 Suspects
Detained,” January 19, 2008; Multi-National
Force – Iraq Press Release A080121a, “Coalition
Signifcantly Disrupts al-Qaeda Networks: Two Killed;
18 Detained,” January 21, 2008.
95 Rear Admiral Greg Smith, Operational Briefng,
February 20, 2008.
96 Major General Mark Hertling, Press Briefng,
February 11, 2008.
97 Richard Tomkins, “Mosul Girds for Battle,” Middle
East Times, February 19, 2008.
98 Bing West, “What Ever Happened to the Mahdi
Army,” The Atlantic, January 28, 2008.
99 Richard Tomkins, “Mosul Girds for Battle,” Middle
East Times, February 19, 2008; Drew Brown, “U.S.
Troops Setting Down Roots in Mosul,” Stars and
Stripes, February 23, 2008; Solomon Moore, “In
Mosul, New Test of Iraqi Army,” New York Times,
March 20, 2008.
100 Sam Dagher, “Al Qaeda Goes North: Police Chief
Killed in Mosul,” Christian Science Monitor, January
25, 2008; Joshua Partlow and Ann Scott Tyson,
“Five U.S. Soldiers are Killed When Convey is Hit
in Mosul,” Washington Post, January 29, 2008; Sgt.
Patrick Lair, “MPs, Dogs Sniff Out Explosives in
Mosul, Deny Enemy of Supplies,” MNF-I Daily
Stories, February 27, 2008.
101 Sam Dagher, “Al Qaeda Goes North: Police Chief
Killed in Mosul,” Christian Science Monitor, January
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25, 2008.
102 Joshua Partlow and Ann Scott Tyson, “Five U.S.
Soldiers are Killed When Convoy is Hit in Mosul,
Washington Post, January 29, 2008.
103 Kim Gamel, “Iraq Announces Major Offensive in
Mosul,” Associated Press, January 25, 2008.
104 Steven R. Hurst, “Iraqi Reinforcements Rush to
Mosul,” Associated Press, January 25, 2008.
105 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080131a,
“Coalition Disrupts Suicide Bombing Cell, Five
Detained,” January 31, 2008; Multi-National Force
– Iraq Press Release A080201a, “Coalition Targets al-
Qaeda in Iraq Networks in Mosul, Seven Detained,”
February 1, 2008; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press
Release A080207c, “Coalition Disrupts al-Qaeda in
Iraq Networks; One Terrorist Killed, 12 Detained,”
February 7, 2008; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press
Release A080208b, “Coalition Disrupts al-Qaeda
Operating in Northern Iraq, 10 Suspects Detained,”
February 8, 2008; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press
Release A080211b, “Coalition Targets al-Qaeda in
Iraq Networks in Mosul; One Killed; 14 Detained,”
February 11, 2008.
106 Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20080211-03, “Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces
Clear Way for New Combat Outpost,” February 11,
2008.
107 Aswat al-Iraq, “Mosul Placed Under Partial Curfew,”
Translated from Arabic, February 9, 2008.
108 Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20080211-03, “Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces
Clear Way for New Combat Outpost,” February 11,
2008.
109 Aswat al-Iraq, “10 Gunmen Arrested in Mosul
Raid,” Translated from Arabic, February 9, 2008;
Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release
20080211-04, “Iraqi Army, Coalition Forces Find
Large Explosives Cache,” February 11, 2008; Multi-
National Force – Iraq Press Release A080214a,
“Coalition Targets al-Qaeda in Iraq Networks; Seven
Terrorists Killed, 16 Detained,” February 14, 2008;
Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080217e,
“Coalition Forces Targets al-Qaeda Networks in
Northern Iraq; One Killed, 23 Detained,” February
17, 2008.
110 Major General Kevin J. Bergner, Operational Briefng,
April 16, 2008.
111 Rear Admiral Greg Smith, Operational Briefng,
February 20, 2008; Multi-National Force – Iraq
Press Release A080301c, “UPDATE: Coalition
Forces Identify AQI Leader, Associate Killed in
Mosul Raid,” March 1, 2008; Rear Admiral Greg
Smith, Operational Briefng, March 2, 2008; Colonel
Donald Bacon, “Coalition Focus on Clearing Mosul
Terrorist Networks,” Department of Defense Bloggers
Roundtable, March 3, 2008; Major General Kevin J.
Bergner, Operational Briefng, April 16, 2008.
112 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080221a,
“Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda Networks; One
Terrorist Killed, 20 Suspects Detained,” February 21,
2008.
113 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080223c,
“Coalition Targets al-Qaeda Networks Operating in
Mosul, 11 Suspects Detained,” February 23, 2008.
114 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080301c,
“UPDATE: Coalition Forces Identify AQI Leader,
Associate Killed in Mosul Raid,” March 1, 2008; Rear
Admiral Greg Smith, Operational Briefng, March 2,
2008; Colonel Donald Bacon, Department of Defense
Bloggers Roundtable, March 3, 2008.
115 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080302b,
“Coalition Captures IED Facilitator Near Baghdad,
19 Other Suspects Detained,” March 2, 2008; Multi-
National Force – Iraq Press Release A080303d,
“Coalition Captures Three Wanted Suspects; Five
Terrorists Killed, Six Others Detained,” March 3,
2008; Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release
A080307a, “Coalition Targets al-Qaeda in Northern
Iraq; One Killed, Five Detained,” March 7, 2008.
116 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080309a,
“Al-Qaeda Targeted, Weapons Caches Destroyed; Five
Killed, 26 Detained,” March 9, 2008; Major General
Kevin J. Bergner, Operational Briefng, April 16,
2008.
117 General David Petraeus, Interview with Sky New,
March 5, 2008.
118 Rear Admiral Greg Smith, Operational Briefng,
March 2, 2008; Colonel Donald Bacon, “Coalition
Focus on Clearing Mosul Terrorist Networks,”
Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable, March
3, 2008; General David Petraeus as quoted in Jim
Garamone, “General Petraeus Describes Factors
Affecting Iraq Assessment,” American Forces Press
Service, March 3, 2008.
119 Alexandra Zavis, “Militants Getting Share of Iraq
Kickbacks, U.S. Says; Commanders Point to Evidence
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of Mafa-Style Operations that have Kept Rebels Well
Funded,” Los Angeles Times, October 26, 2008; Amit
R. Paley, “Iraqis Joining Insurgency Less for Cause
Than Cash,” Washington Post, November 20, 2008;
Michael R. Gordon, “Pushed Out of Baghdad Area,
Insurgents Seek Hub in North,” New York Times,
December 5, 2007.
120 Abdul Hameed Bakier, “Islamic State of Iraq Gives
Advice on Infltration Routes Into Iraq,” Terrorism
Focus, Vol. 5, No. 8 (February 27,2008), p. 2-3.
121 Rear Admiral Greg Smith, Operational Briefng,
March 2, 2008.
122 Brigadier General Raymond A. Thomas, Civilian
Defense Experts Conference Call, February 13, 2008;
Richard Tomkins, “Mosul Girds for Battle,” Middle
East Times, February 19, 2008.
123 Richard Tomkins, “Iraq’s 2
nd
Division Leads Mosul
Campaign,” Middle East Times, March 11, 2008.
124 Lieutenant Colonel Michael Simmering (3
rd
ACR)
as quoted in Damien McElroy, “US and Iraqi Troops
Begin Final Offensive on al-Qaeda’s Last Stronghold
in Iraq,” Daily Telegraph, February 20, 2008.
125 Richard Tomkins, “Mosul Girds for Battle,” Middle
East Times, February 19, 2008.
126 Brigadier General Raymond A. Thomas, Civilian
Defense Experts Conference Call, February 13, 2008.
127 Spc. Eric A. Rutherford, 115th Mobile Public Affairs
Detachment, “Tiger Sinks Its Teeth Into Ninewa,”
Multi-National Force – Iraq Feature Story, April 4,
2008.
128 Major General Mark Hertling, Operational Briefng,
December 19, 2008.
129 Rear Admiral Greg Smith, Operational Briefng,
March 2, 2008.
130 Bradley Brooks and Steven R. Hurst, “Fight for North
Iraq Will Be Long, U.S. Commander Says,” Associated
Press, January 30, 2008.
131 Associated Press, “General: Iraq al-Qaeda Fight to Take
Months,” March 4, 2008.
132 Sam Dagher, “U.S. Sees Long Fight to Oust Al Qaeda
in Mosul,” Christian Science Monitor, March 12, 2008.
133 Richard Tomkins, “Mosul Girds for Battle,” Middle
East Times, February 19, 2008.
134 Solomon Moore, “In Mosul, New Test of Iraqi Army,”
New York Times, March 20, 2008.
135 Ibid.
136 Aswat al-Iraq, Trench to be Dug Around Mosul Next
Year,” Translated from Arabic, December 8, 2007.
137 Sam Dagher, “U.S. Sees Long Fight to Oust Al Qaeda
in Mosul,” Christian Science Monitor, March 12, 2008.
138 Solomon Moore, “In Mosul, New Test of Iraqi Army,”
New York Times, March 20, 2008.
139 Major General al-Askari, Operational Briefng,
January 30, p. 14
140 Aswat al-Iraq, “Prime Minister Says Government
Resolved to Boost Security in Ninawa,” Translation
from Arabic, February 18, 2008.
141 Sam Dagher, “U.S. Sees Long Fight to Oust Al Qaeda
in Mosul,” Christian Science Monitor, March 12, 2008.
142 Al-Sharqiyah TV, “Iraqi Police Find Five Bodies in
Baghdad; Political-Security Update,” Translated from
Arabic by BBC Monitoring Middle East, February
19, 2008; Major General Kevin Bergner, Operational
Briefng, February 27, 2008.
143 Khidhr Domle, “Mosul Security Plan Almost
Operational,” Kurdish Globe, February 21, 2008.

A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. CO M

Al qAeDA in irAq AnD sunni insurgents

December 2006

mArcH 2008

Source: MNF-Iraq. The darker red areas highlight where insurgents are capable of carrying out operations. The lighter red areas highlight where insurgents are able to transit.

O

n January 23, 2008, a 20,000 pound explosive located in an insurgent weapons cache in a western Mosul neighborhood collapsed a three-story apartment building and several surrounding structures, killing and wounding more than 300 people. The following day the Ninawa provincial police chief, Brigadier General Saleh Mohamed Hassan al-Jiburi, was killed by a suicide bomber while inspecting the carnage of the previous day’s attack. In response to these events, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced that additional Iraqi Security Forces would be sent to Mosul and that there would be a
Eric Hamilton is a Researcher at the Institute for the Study of War, www.understandingwar.org. He holds an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University where he worked at the Center for Peace and Security Studies. He will begin the Politics and International Relations Ph.D. Program at the University of Southern California this fall.

“decisive” battle against Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). These events brought Mosul to the forefront of the fight against AQI and other associated insurgent groups in Iraq. In the past year, the fight against AQI was reshaped by a series of major combat operations under a new counterinsurgency strategy as well as the spread of Sons of Iraq (SoI, previously known as “Concerned Local Citizen”) groups and Awakening movements. Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces cleared AQI from its former sanctuaries and areas of operation in Anbar province, Baghdad and the surrounding belts, and Diyala province. Though isolated pockets of AQI remain in these areas, the network has largely been pushed north to areas in the Jazeera Desert, along and behind the Hamrin Ridge, Southwest of Kirkuk, in the cities of the upper Tigris River Valley – most importantly, Mosul – and across Ninawa province. Coalition Forces assess that while Baghdad has always been the operational

Page  • March 003 - March 008

and the remaining 5% a mixture of Shi’as. they are also fighting to uproot AQI in the more rural areas around the city used as support zones. CO M center of gravity for AQI. It is a critical hub for AQI funding and foreign terrorist facilitation. There are currently three fights being waged in Mosul: Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces are fighting to uproot AQI from the city. beginning with historical context and then proceeding with details of the contest in Mosul from the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003 to early 2008.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D.8 million people. Mosul lies on a fault line where various ethnic. villages. Mosul is the network’s strategic center of gravity – an area of interest that if lost would make AQI’s survival very difficult. It is located 250 miles north of Baghdad along the Tigris River in Ninawa province and constitutes the uppermost tip of the so-called ‘Sunni triangle. Arabs and Kurds in northern Iraq are engaged in a larger provincial and regional struggle for land and power. At the northern tip of this triangle. as well as along the road network west of the city from the Syrian border. Mosul has always been a center for the Sunni insurgency. and valleys that connects these two lines southwest of the city. Northern Iraq context AnD History Mosul is the second largest city in Iraq. along the cities of the upper Tigris River Valley. the cities along the upper Tigris River Valley. and tribal groups intersect. religious. and the cities along the middle Euphrates River Valley in Anbar province. The distribution of the city is approximately 70% Sunni Arab. and in the belt of fields. finally. This backgrounder focuses on the fight against AQI. the Tigris River runs through Page 3 • March 003 . ridges. but also addresses the other issues as they relate to the fight for the city of Mosul itself. Turcomans. sectarian.’ The Sunni triangle is bounded by Mosul. 25% Kurd. The fight for Mosul is sure to be long and difficult as it unfolds over the coming months. The paper then explains the enemy system in Mosul and concludes with a likely strategy for clearing and securing the city. As in Baghdad. roads. It is also the hinge that connects the west-east line of communication that runs from the Syrian border to the north-south lines that lead to central Iraq. What follows is a comprehensive look at the situation in that city. with a population of approximately 1.March 008 . AQI and a patchwork of other insurgents are now firmly entrenched in large sections of Mosul. Yezidis and Christians.

there were Shabak. and his province. with a few contested areas. Ninawa and its membership these Sunni Arab strongholds to extends over the border with lead his security and intelligence Syria. The diversity and formed the core of the Sunni insurgency in history of the city preclude any particular tribe Ninawa. Mosul was a Ba’ath Ba’athist and military stronghold help to explain party stronghold. Yezidi. clans and tribal still an ‘estimated 1.6 After the British departed Iraq. they are mixed had supplied Iraq’s officer corps. Samarra.March 008 . and Christian enclaves.7 In 1968. Yezidi. while the eastern British Mandate in the early twentieth century half is home to a large Kurdish population.10 By 2005. with Arab. from being dominant. eastern and northern edges have large Sunni Arab Sunni Arab military officers continued to be an communities. many leaders of the newly empowered Ba’ath North and east of Mosul.000 former colonels and it exerts much influence along the upper or lieutenant-colonels. like provinces of Iraq.000 former colonels made cities like Mosul and and Kurd fault line. As these officers became important members of the a result of previous Arabization initiatives. Sprinkled across the city are small important factor in Iraq’s development. CO M the center of Mosul. circulation” in Ninawa province. Its influence and location services. Under the predominantly by Sunni Arabs. After the fall of hometown of Tikrit. under Saddam Hussein. The city had a long history as the city and the fight taking place there. Part Page  • March 003 . the Shammar and in the Sunni triangle like Mosul. At the same of varying size and influence. to be an important military center.100 former flag officers. He tribe is very influential in western Sunni insurgency in recruited many individuals from Ninawa.000 other former soldiers in tribal history in Mosul itself has been contentious.000 from the Mosul area to the south where it extends residents to the military. The western half is populated dated back to the Ottoman Empire. and increasing the power of the Sunni n By 2005. security and intelligence deep into Salah ad Din province. This connected the become increasingly Kurdish. he cultivated ties with the Saddam Hussein. outer lying districts on Mosul’s new Iraqi Army.100 west of Mosul are largely Arab networks in the northwestern former flag officers.11 After the fall but the tribes are generally less influential now of Saddam Hussein these officers and soldiers than they were in the past. he favored other former soldiers in ad Din provinces. surrounding areas important or lieutenant-colonels. Shi’a.000 other former important in Ninawa province. After Saddam Hussein came officers.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. By some the tribe has both passively and actively assisted estimates. The Jiburi tribe services. there were still an “estimated is more powerful in Salah ad Din than in Mosul. these under the two dominant tribes Sunni Arab population from cities officers and soldiers in the region. the surrounding villages regime were Army officers. formed the core of the 5 The Shammar Jiburi tribes.000 other former Tigris River Valley lines of communication.9 Mosul was home to a have made it an important ally for insurgents large Ba’ath Party headquarters and continued based in Mosul and in Syria. The officers. 2. Mosul and insurgents. circulation’ in Ninawa 136 different tribal elements the al-Bu Nasir tribe. Tribal structures are also centers for Ba’ath Party rule. Mosul’s ethnic balance and history as a Before the Iraq War. The Jiburi tribe is very influential the surrounding areas contributed over 300. The areas south and Arab families.000 In Ninawa and northern Salah to power in 1979. to the west along the Arab 2.8 This dynamic Sinjar. which are largely subsumed time. bisecting the city into eastern a source for the Iraqi Army’s officer corps that and western halves. plus 103. 1. although in villages central government to the social networks that closer to Mosul. At various times. and Ramadi. plus 103. many mandate government and formed the core of the of the newer. Turcoman. there are some individuals from his family. Christian. and 4. and 4.

CO M Mosul 2 Rashidiyah Al Arabi is Tigr Al Qirawan Al Hadba MOSUL UNIVERSITY Al Sukar Al Baladiyat Al Barid Al Masarif Al Muthanna ws ar Al Qahira At Tahrir Az Zuhoor Al Bakir An Nur Arbajiyah Gogjali At Tamim 2 Al Andalus NINEVEH WOODS Ash Shurrta Ath Thaqafah 2 NINEVEH RUINS 17 Tammuz 1 a Nahr al K h As Sihhah Al Uraybi Ar Rabi As Sinaa’ Ar Rafa’i Az Zanjili Abu Tammam Al Mawsil Al Jadidah Amusement Park Az Zira’i Al Nuhminiyah An Nabi Yunus NINEVEH RUINS Al Kadra Al Karama Al Quds Al Islah al-Zerai An Nabijarjis Sheik Abu al Ula Al Wasser As Sina’iya Al Yarmuk Ar Rissala 1 Ar Rafidayn Al Bath Al Intisar Al Wahda Al Amel Wadi Hajar FOB DIAMANDBACK Airport Ma’mun FOB MAREZ Yarimjah Palestine Sumer Tig ris 1 Albu Sayf 0 1 2 3 km. 4th Infantry Division was to enter northern Iraq through Turkey. Mosul. Turkey.S. MerIdIaN MaPPINg Tal Al Ruman . the U. From tHe eArly DAys oF tHe WAr tHrougH tHe bAttle oF mosul in 2004 Under the original plan for the invasion of Iraq in 2003. of the conflict in Mosul is tied into the larger Arab-Kurd competition in northern Iraq because Mosul’s Arabs are fearful of Kurdish expansionism. Special Operations Forces (SOF) worked with several thousand Kurdish Page  • March 003 . therefore.March 008 PhIlIP Schwartzberg. many of Mosul’s population of well-trained former military and security personnel have supported the insurgency since the war began because they had the most to lose when Saddam Hussein fell from power. serves as a both a recruiting ground and sanctuary for the insurgency.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D.S. did not authorize the United States to open a northern front through Turkish territory. this factor has created a skeptical population that has provided sanctuary to insurgents. Furthermore. Even though the current fight for Mosul is not fundamentally ethnically-based. 2.000 paratroopers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team (ABCT) along with 1. As a result. however. northern Iraq initially lacked a large combat presence.000 U.

the Kurdistan Democratic Demonstrators appeared in the University library was pillaged.21 Hussein. Robert Kurdish civilians and militias. In Mosul. 31 Iraqis by the widespread presence and activities of were killed and another 150 were injured in these 16 Lt. Lt. Many Arab residents desperately to keep the On April 11.March 008 . and nearby military assets and oil Kurdish civilians were seen looting banks. forcing Arabs out of homes and flying the to keep Kurdish political parties and their yellow flag of the Kurdistan Democratic Party peshmerga militias from provoking a Turkish (KDP). but he was the ground reported that the flow Kurdish region. the Ansar al Islam group along Ba’ath Party headquarters) and Robert Waltemeyer. outside of the city and contain their activity. 2003. journalists on their activity. the Iraqi complained of being harassed Kurdish militias outside V Army Corps. responsible for and arrested by these militias. A militias. The primary objectives were to secure Kirkuk but he was ultimately unsuccessful.17 Armed and Mosul. Coalition planners were careful cars. Kurds fought Arabs. surrendered ultimately unsuccessful. tried on roads leading in and out of then turned toward Mosul in early April. where they continue to organize problematic. fell into disorder. pro-Saddam Arabs as former Ba’athists and military personnel met fought anti-Saddam Arabs. CO M peshmerga forces to push south and west from in Mosul.12 the city. and they all blamed and began to organize for resistance. the border with Iran to prevent set up checkpoints at key points commander of the SOF being attacked from behind and in the center of Mosul as well as contingent in Mosul.24 In the most damaging incident. Col. and the northern oil fields.18 The KDP and the Patriotic Union invasion or inflaming Arab-Kurdish tensions. commander of the SOF contingent Mashaan al-Jiburi. Clashes between the Iraqi government and the city of Mosul in American military forces working with Kurdish Saddam’s time and they stood the most to lose peshmerga and an embryonic insurgency became from the war in general.14 The general disorder was of American troops from Iraq.19 These militias secured buildings for few hundred SOF.S. in Mosul relying mainly on their peshmerga nearby airfields. and looters took everything streets with pro-Saddam and Party (KDP). first targeted (including eventually the former n In April 2003. Toward the end of the first unease among Sunni Arabs was exacerbated week after U. like other places In the midst of the general stealing cars.20 of the city and contain the Green Line demarcating the At the same time. an allegedly corrupt opposition Page  • March 003 . stealing infrastructure. Waltemeyer. the general increasingly frequent. confrontations.22 At various compounded by the various fault lines in the mosques throughout the city. The disorder in Mosul. forcing in Iraq. along with use as political party offices peshmerga forces. to an SOF contingent north of of Kurds from Kurdish cities Armed Kurdish civilians Mosul clearing the way into the like Irbil and Dahuk further 13 After the fall of Saddam city. Col. clerics called for city that the few SOF present could do little to unity and opposition to the American presence contain. from ambulances to beds and anti-Kurd banners and Iraqi medical equipment from Saddam flags calling for the withdrawal General Hospital. aggravated these problems.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. were seen looting banks. tried desperately to keep the militias their bases in the Kurdish-controlled region. the Mosul themselves into an insurgency. level Iraqi generals fled to Tikrit and across the The Arab-Kurd fault line proved most border to Syria. forces arrived in Mosul. former regime Arabs out of homes and Central Bank and other banks elements began to organize flying the yellow flag of were plundered. Mosul.23 Higher15 each other for the disorder. The Sunni Arabs had dominated and support the insurgency. The of Kurdistan (PUK) – the two largest Kurdish paratroopers from the 173rd ABCT conducted political parties – rushed to establish presences Operation Option North securing Kirkuk.

28 During its tenure in Mosul. This included 120 tenured professors at Mosul University. And. General Petraeus tried to foster a well-balanced government that integrated Kurdish parties without alienating Sunni Arab constituencies. elements of the U. Four infantry battalions were responsible for Mosul and were supported by military police (MP). repair. The program was originally funded by seized regime assets and was later picked up as part of U.000 projects including: building or re-building 500 schools and dozens of medical Page  • March 003 . many of whom were educated in the US or the UK.S.29 In addition. U. reconstitution. He conducted negotiations with the city’s various ethnic and tribal groups convening a caucus to select a mayor and city council.26 By the last week of April. the 101st Airborne Division established security. implying that the occupation forces had appointed him. As Major General Petraeus later reflected: “It was. After training. The Iraqi Governing Council rejected these exceptions. Hence. He declared himself Mosul’s governor. soldiers were working.”34 In the seven months after the invasion of Iraq. frankly. then was stoked by former regime elements seeking to reverse what had taken place. appeared outside of the local Ba’ath office where U. A similar process was instituted on the provincial level to select a governor and provincial council.”32 Major General Petraeus also worked to establish representative local government. The arrival of a larger American combat force helped diminish the presence and activities of Kurdish militias.30 Major General Petraeus also identified problems associated with what he termed “deBa’athification without reconciliation. which can save months of valuable time.S.”31 Mosul had thousands of level-four Ba’athists and above. U.S. Major General Petraeus recognized the problems with Mosul’s ethnic balance and its significance for the Ba’ath Party. he crafted his strategy accordingly. Funds are used for “the building. and engineer battalions. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit reinforced the SOF. forward elements of the 101st Airborne Division arrived under the command of then-Major General David Petraeus. forces disarmed and removed peshmerga forces from the city while taking over security checkpoints. and helped initiate more than 5.000 projects by using funds from the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP). and reestablishment of the social and material infrastructure in Iraq. police officers worked with MPs who were spread out into 14 police stations around the city and with other American military forces that regularly conducted patrols with Iraqi police.S. Eventually. soldiers came under fire and subsequently returned fire in the ensuing riot.25 A few days after entering Mosul. the 101st’s presence grew to 20. CO M leader who had been in exile in Syria for years. the 101st Airborne Division used $57 million dollars to underwrite approximately 5. This balance helped form the working relationship between Mosul’s various groups that emerged in 2003.27 The division was headquartered at the Mosul Airfield with units also stationed further west at Tal ‘Afar and south at the Qayyarah Airfield.S. Commanders have the authority to spend CERP funds without a centralized process that requires submitting funding requests. killing a dozen Iraqis and injuring over a dozen more. As troop strength grew.000 former police officers were rehired and put through an intensive training program by the division’s MP battalion. Petraeus sought exceptions to de-ba’athification for those not deemed security threats in order to help integrate Sunnis and former Ba’athists into the new Iraq. [that] provided fertile grounds for al-Qaeda – Iraq to flourish in as well. civil affairs (CA). situations like that that did make some areas of Iraq—of the Sunni Arab areas—fertile ground for what initially billed itself as the resistance. security and reconstruction expenditures. The CERP program grew out of the need for commanders on the ground to disburse relatively small amounts of money quickly in order to help stabilize local areas. General Petraeus also relied heavily on his CERP funds to establish security and promote the local government. 3. of course.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D.000 soldiers and its responsibility encompassed all of Ninawa province.March 008 .33 In both cases. facilitated the local government’s formation.

which provides tangible evidence that the occupation powers were helping the Iraqi people. a semblance of normalcy returned to the city and Mosul’s various groups and even some former regime elements were able to form working relationships. General Petraeus stated that “money is the most powerful ammunition we have” and that the CERP was critical for keeping Iraqis employed. opening hundreds of kilometers of roads.700 soldiers built around the 3rd Stryker BCT (SBCT). CO M (From left to right) Maj.March 008 . 2003 (U. clinics. Task Force Olympia. and Sheike Fenar Ahmad Sfwok.35 In an interview at the time. These levels have not been seen in the city since the departure of the 101st. replaced the 101st Airborne Division reducing the number of forces in Ninawa by half. Gen. sign an agreement to reopen the Rabia border crossing with Syria May 13. the gains made by the 101st Airborne Division were reversed.36 In the nine months that the 101st Airborne Division spent in Mosul. Army Photo by Pfc. Ghanim Al-Baso.S. sheikh of the Al-Shammari tribe and government of Rabia. Turkey Hazaa’a. about 8. ethnic tensions grew and a balance emerged whereby insurgents Page 8 • March 003 . In less than twelve months. David H.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D.37 During 2004. In January 2004. chief of the Mosul customs office. 2nd ID. Many of the practices instituted by Major General Petraeus would become the core of a revised counterinsurgency strategy that is now being used to re-secure Mosul. interim mayor of Mosul and the Nineveh province. The level of security in Mosul was at its highest under the 101st Airborne Division. commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division. Petraeus. James Matise). and putting an irrigation system back into operation.

several hundred insurgents stormed police stations across the city. 1st Infantry Division (3rd SBCT. an Armed Reconnaissance Squadron (ARS). the 3rd SBCT. and Target Acquisition (RSTA) squadron.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. A stalemate emerged with overwhelmingly-Kurdish army forces operating on the east side of the city and insurgents on the west side.000 policemen refused to fight and melted away into the population. Page  • March 003 . the Iraqi Army moved two battalions from its 2nd Division from Mosul to Baghdad.38 In October 2004. where combat forces conducted clearing operations to retake areas under enemy control or influence. One of the 1st SBCT. In total. before November 2004. as they were re-flagged and now operate as the 2nd Iraqi Army Division. remained in the city of Mosul. CO M and Arab nationalists controlled the west side of Mosul and Kurdish political parties and militias controlled the east side. was responsible for training Iraqi Army and Police officers in the province.41 The new counterinsurgency strategy and troop surge focused initially on Baghdad and the surrounding areas. Sunni Arab insurgents associated with the former regime operated in Mosul.40 The Battle for Mosul in November 2004 had lasting implications.March 008 . The 4th HBCT. Although Multi-National Division-North (MND-N) was already conducting an economy of force mission. but afterward there was an increasing presence of AQI and Ansar al-Sunna. while focusing on a train and transition strategy. The insurgents then established themselves in western Mosul and some areas of eastern Mosul. The 3-4 Cavalry. in addition to some former regime groups. however. Those units have not left. First. and Shi’a militias controlled large swaths of terrain across Iraq.42 In addition to the loss of one battalion of Coalition Forces. 1st ID) in December 2006 without its 2-12 Cavalry battalion. leaving many killed and wounded before a degree of security was restored. On November 11th. Kurdish forces reentered the city in large numbers. Coalition Forces operated out of large Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) and conducted mostly targeted raids. The 4th Heavy Brigade Combat Team. This reduced the Coalition’s presence in Ninawa province from four battalions to three and reduced the presence in the city of Mosul from two battalions to one. In the second week of November 2004. Surveillance. other Sunni insurgent groups. was based at FOB Sykes and was responsible for the area stretching from Tal ‘Afar out to the Syrian border. 25th ID’s battalions. This stalemate did not change very much through 2006. The 19 Cavalry. Undermanned Coalition Forces relied on several thousand Kurdish peshmerga to help retake the city. insurgents mostly associated with AQI and Ansar al-Sunna. all but 200 of Mosul’s 5. Only the 27 Cavalry. began conducting operations against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces across the city and targeting Kurds in eastern Mosul. The city’s Sunni Arab population tolerated and even supported AQI and other insurgents and Mosul developed into a hub for AQI. and a change in counterinsurgency strategy coupled with a surge in combat forces. 1st Cavalry Division (4th HBCT. 25th ID. Instead of confronting the masked gunmen. a Reconnaissance. 1st CD) took over responsibility for Ninawa province from the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. 1st CD was headquartered at FOB Marez in Mosul. insurgents from Fallujah fled in large numbers to Mosul. AQI. Second. Fighting ensued over the next two weeks. leaving Mosul with only 3 battalions.39 As the Coalition deployed fewer combat forces to Ninawa. a Combined Arms Battalion (CAB). additional forces were shifted from northern Iraq to Baghdad. which were firmly entrenched in western Mosul and parts of eastern Mosul. Around this time. That battalion deployed to the Mansoor security district in Baghdad. was immediately deployed to Fallujah as part of Operation Phantom Fury. instead of to Ninawa with the rest of the brigade. 2nd ID was replaced by the 1st SBCT. operAtions AgAinst Aqi in 2007 By the end of 2006. two dynamics began to change the situation in Iraq – the establishment of the Anbar Awakening Council and the growth of the Sons of Iraq (SoI) movements.

47 There were three reasons for the decline in the number of attacks during this time. First. These Soldiers are doing random house checks and asking the local citizens for information about the growing insurgent problem in the community. Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces also targeted AQI along the Tigris River Valley and in Ninawa province in order to disrupt insurgent pockets and the lines of communication that run from Mosul down the Tigris River Valley. In the months of May and June 2007. this number fell further to 7-9 attacks. the main effort for both Coalition and insurgent operations in Iraq was in Baghdad and the surrounding areas in central Iraq. 1. In June 2007. on June 7. 1st Cavalry Division (Staff Sgt. 45 By July. Vincent Minghelli (kneeling) and Sgt. there was an average of 15-18 attacks a day in Ninawa province. 4th Brigade Combat Team.000 U. were used in attacks 3-5 times a week.44 In March 2007. Second. a great deal of infighting among insurgent groups in Mosul and the surrounding area led to a decrease in the enemy’s ability to conduct attacks. Army Sgt. the most effective of these weapons.46 Attacks involved improvised explosive devices (IED). insurgents moved outside of the city to the northern and southern Baghdad belts and up into Diyala province.43 At the beginning of 2007.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. this number fell to 10-13 attacks a day.500 Iraqi soldiers and policemen were responsible for securing a contested city of almost 2 million. Conditions in Mosul and Ninawa were actually significantly better at the time and the number of attacks fell by approximately one-half over the first half of the year. Quinton Russ. VBIEDs. 7th Cavalry Regiment. As the operational tempo increased throughout the spring in central Iraq. And third. CO M U. 2nd Battalion. Joint Combat Camera Center). and small arms fire.March 008 . 13 Page 10 • March 003 . 2007.S. As Coalition operations cleared areas in Baghdad. Iraq. In December 2006. Coalition operations followed AQI out into the belts and up into Baqubah methodically pushing AQI further and further north from the capital. vehicle-borne IEDs (VBIED). Minghelli and Flores are assigned to Alpha Company.48 While attacks actually decreased in northern Iraq through the first half of 2007. soldiers and about 6.S. the fight for central Iraq began pushing AQI further north. the increasing capacity of the 2nd and 3rd Iraqi Army Divisions led to greater effectiveness in Coalition and ISF operations. AQI was focused on the fight for central Iraq and may have shifted reinforcements there. Raymond Flores provide outer security for their team while they are in an Iraqi house during Operation Ant Hill in Mosul.

an explosives cache.56 Not only did these key captures and kills diminish AQI’s capacity. and July 2007.50 Days later. As IA soldiers continued to target illegal weapons production in western Mosul. also known as Abu Ahmad.58 The next day. Several individuals detained in July operations had been recently promoted to fill the “numerous vacancies in the terrorist leadership structure. also known as Sa’id Hamza. ISF and Coalition Forces killed Kamal Jalil Bakr ‘Uthman.000 pounds of ammonium nitrate. the AQI network in Mosul had seriously been weakened by the deaths of these key leaders and the capture of a number of other AQI insurgents. operations were conducted almost daily. By late summer. and Kirkuk. By mid-July. Safi was the overall emir for Mosul and the suspected deputy emir for all of northern Iraq.S. ISF engaged and killed the emir for Mosul. In early July 2007.59 On July 11th and 19th. suggesting growing willingness to cooperate with Iraqi and Coalition forces. also known as Abu Abdullah. who was an AQI military emir in Mosul.49 Two weeks later on June 12th.60 By August. ISF discovered a large IED factory. four terrorist cell leaders. and Iraqi efforts during the previous month had greatly strained the AQI network. in northern Salah ad Din province – a region that spans the area roughly between Qayyarah. Coalition and ISF operations in Mosul had seriously degraded the AQI network in northern Iraq. but several large caches and IED factories discovered during these months further undermined the terrorist network in Mosul. and a military grade bunker system on the outskirts of Mosul. ISF detained Aman Ahmad Taha Khazam al-Juhayshi. facilitators. Safi. it had become evident that U.51 On June 25.61 Za’ab is a strategic area connecting Page 11 • March 003 . Coalition raids in mid-July netted a suspect believed to be the most active AQI cell leader in Mosul. It is also worth noting that many of these finds were due in large part to tips by local citizens. and financiers. Izz al-Din. Military operations in the preceding months had been successful and were becoming even more effective. caches were also found in the al-Sina’a neighborhood and on the western outskirts of Mosul.57 Nearly 10. including six emirs. which specialized in constructing curbshaped IEDs. raids targeting associates of the emir of Mosul resulted in a number of key captures. Beginning on July 20th.55 During the months of May.”54 Because many of the newly-promoted operatives were less qualified. Bayji. CO M AQI leaders were captured or killed in Mosul. a security emir for Mosul. and an AQI battalion commander. June.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. however. Khalid Sultan Khulayf Shakir al-Badrani. who led five AQI cells in the city. were found at the site along with other bomb-making materials. Coalition Forces killed another key AQI leader. including the AQI administrative emir for Mosul. Coalition Forces developed an intelligence picture of the AQI leadership network in Mosul and increasingly targeted higher-ranking individuals. During this time. and there were widening divisions between insurgents and the population as was the case elsewhere in Iraq. the emir’s driver. and two facilitators. there were signs that AQI’s migration north could soon have a greater impact on Mosul as levels of insurgent activity increased south of the city.52 By the end of June. the 4th HBCT. the alleged emir of Ansar al-Sunna in Mosul. in the al-Sina’a neighborhood in western Mosul. During a cordon and search operation in the northeastern part of the city on August 1st. local Iraqis became more forthright with tips and intelligence about AQI members and weapons caches. On May 29th. another large weapons cache was discovered at a home in the al Najar neighborhood on July 30th. and three of his bodyguards who attempted to flee in a pickup truck. ISF discovered a second IED factory. In August. Coalition Forces killed the AQI emir for western Mosul. 1st CD shifted some its focus to the Za’ab triangle southeast of Mosul. it facilitated further disruption of AQI in Mosul. and a sniper cell leader. a chemical used to make home-made explosives. Several of these individuals played key roles in AQI operations in Mosul.March 008 .53 Coalition and Iraqi forces continued to dismantle the Mosul AQI network in July and August 2007. This intelligence provided the basis for a series of operations in late July and early August in which Coalition and Iraqi forces targeted the AQI emir for all of Mosul.

an administrative emir. intelligence driven raids targeted insurgents cells and weapons caches on both sides of the city. attacks in late summer hovered around 7-10 a day. there were signs that Mosul itself was also starting to feel the effects of the AQI displacement from central Iraq. Coalition Forces continued to disrupt the network under Lightning Hammer II. was a foreign terrorist facilitator. The cache included three prepared VBIEDs. individuals that had fled Baghdad started showing up in northern Iraq.67 In October.68 By November 2007. Coalition and Iraqi Page 1 • March 003 . and leadership. detaining seven individuals. it was clear that AQI and other Sunni insurgents had migrated further north. three partly constructed VBIEDs. facilitators. as well as the Qayyarrah area south of Mosul. Moreover. On September 3 and 4th. and 21 IEDs. A number of senior Mosul leadership individuals were killed and detained. distributing wages. Increasingly.73 cHAnging DynAmics in mosul At tHe enD oF 2007 During the summer of 2007. however. the 3-4 Cavalry redeployed from Iraq in early September without replacement.71 During this time. where attacks were higher than anywhere else in the country. the fight in central Iraq began pushing insurgents north. weapons facilities. 2007. In Mosul.64 The 2-7 Cavalry remained in Mosul and continued to disrupt the AQI network during September under the division-level offensive Lightning Hammer II. as well as to regroup and reconstitute their overall network in order to repenetrate areas where they had been ousted from in central Iraq. including one who was believed to be the number one AQI financier in Ninawa. CO M multiple insurgent lines of communication. Operation Iron Reaper. Abu Ayyub alMasri. MNDN launched the division-level offensive Operation Iron Hammer. the Za’ab triangle and Mosul were highlighted as areas of concern given their increased levels of AQI activity. and supplying false documentation for AQI members in Mosul. By the end of summer.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. In one case in late August. By August. is known to have transited Mosul twice. the overall leader of AQI. Coalition and Iraqi operations seriously challenged the AQI network in Mosul. At the same time that the network in Mosul deteriorated. This leader provided financial support to AQI. Coalition Forces targeted the emir for all of northwestern Iraq in northeast Mosul. During various raids. Senior leaders were thought to have fallen back to this area and even across the border into Syrian. leaving only two battalions in Ninawa. and Coalition Forces had not had a presence there in months. and insurgent infighting weakened terrorist operations. Coalition Forces targeted and detained cells leaders.62 In addition. Coalition and Iraqi Army forces detained two key AQI financiers. but days with higher numbers of attacks became more frequent.65 On September 8th. In addition to the Khalis Corridor in Diyala province. Coalition Forces detained an alleged AQI leader who had recently fled from Baghdad along with seven of his associates. in addition to foreign terrorist facilitators. In September 2007. support areas and lines of communication were targeted south of the city near Qayyarah and west of the city along the main roads through Tal ‘Afar and Rabiah to the Syrian border. Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces targeted AQI financiers.March 008 . As part of operations in Mosul. The 1-9 Cavalry shifted from a training mission and was given responsibility for the area from Tal ‘Afar out to the Syrian border.70 Outside of Mosul. it was clear that it had become a safe haven that AQI had fallen back on when pushed out of areas further south. including the emir’s brother who was responsible for arranging vehicles.72 These operations continued in the last week of November and into December under the follow on to Iron Hammer.63 Around the same time that AQI migrated north. and the security emir for the city. elements of AQI fell all the way back to Ninawa province in order to rebuild the Mosul network.66 On September 24th and 25th. and controlled terrorist operation south of the Baghdad Airport before coming to Mosul. Iraqi Security Forces cleared a large weapons cache and VBIED and IED factory in western Mosul.69 On November 5th.

74 On August 14th. two of which took over responsibility for Ninawa. killing 344 and injuring more than 700. but a larger insurgent presence and a determined effort by AQI to rebuild the Mosul network led to increases in the number of attacks in Ninawa. CO M Security Forces reached a security trough in Ninawa. combined arms unit. In the first week of December 2007.77 And two weeks later. killing 16 and wounding another 50. and kidnappings and murders. coordinated attacks like these infrequent. but by the end of the summer attacks against Iraqi Police checkpoints and patrols began to increase slightly.82 Moreover. commanders thought areas in northern Iraq.75 Coalition and Iraqi operations made large-scale. and a number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAPs). Commanders on the ground in Mosul first recommended the return of the two Iraqi battalions from the 2nd division that had been moved to Baghdad as part of Operation Fardh al-Qanoon. it was clear that AQI had indeed regrouped in the Mosul area and that Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces needed more troops and an increase in operational tempo. when a larger force presence would be available. would be areas where AQI would attempt to regroup. On May 16th.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D.78 These larger and more symbolic attacks were accompanied by more ordinary IED and small arms attacks.March 008 . On September 26th.83 The 3rd ACR deployed with three squadrons.76 Later that week. decisions were likely taken at this time to shift a Coalition battalion to Mosul as well as to form the Ninawa Operations Command. st CD rotated out of theatre and was replaced 1 by the slightly larger 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment (ACR). the 3rd ACR. particularly Mosul. Only on a few occasions did AQI carry out spectacular attacks demonstrating a higher operational capability. the 4th HBCT. Operations were still successfully targeting AQI. however. several massive VBIEDs targeted Yezidi villages near the border town of Sinjar in western Ninawa. the network conducted a complex attack in and around Mosul. would be able to join with two Coalition battalions to secure Ninawa and prevent AQI from regrouping and reconstituting in and around Mosul. four VBIEDs detonated across northern Iraq. A spike in violence and the number of attacks coincided with the latter weeks of Ramadan at the end of September. increased the tempo of operations to pressure a resurgent AQI network in Mosul. a highly-mobile. By late October and throughout November.84 The 3-3 Armored Cavalry (AC) squadron was assigned to Mosul and the 1-3 AC squadron was assigned to western and southern Ninawa. and added 300 tanks and Bradley personnel carriers. RPGs. 14 IEDs. As more and more insurgents moved north. this spike in violence gave way to a period in which attacks in Ninawa actually began to increase throughout the fall and into winter. in conjunction with Iraqi Security Forces. At the same time 2 VBIEDs were used to destroy a bridge just west of the city. there were about 7-9 attacks on any given day in Mosul and the surrounding area. From March to September 2007. attacks increased to around 80 a week or more than 11 a day on average. 200 armed gunmen attacked the main provincial jail using 6 VBIEDs.81 By the first week of December.79 Throughout late summer and fall.85 Upon taking over responsibility for Ninawa province. this number rose to 103 or almost 15 attacks a day. Page 13 • March 003 . and assault rifles. AQI gunmen killed three prominent Sunni Imams from three different mosques in Mosul. The 3rd ACR increased Coalition troop strength in Ninawa slightly. even as attacks everywhere else in Iraq declined.80 Planners hoped that the 2nd and 3rd Iraqi Army Divisions. two of the more effective Iraqi units. a VBIED targeted an Iraqi police station on the western side of the city. A key part of these operations was the development of a more comprehensive intelligence picture about the AQI network in the city in order to set conditions for operations in 2008. December tHrougH eArly 2008 In early December 2007. one of which targeted the Mosul courthouse and killed three Iraqi citizens while wounding more than 40 others.

115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment). Riyadh Jalal Tawfiq. Gen. media cells.88 The capture of these two individuals. AQI’s security emir for most of northern Iraq.89 In the last few days of December.86 The most important individual detained was Yasin Sabah Salih Jubayyir.March 008 . Coalition Forces detained another 30 individuals including one who was the leader of an assassination cell that conducted attacks against Iraqi Security Forces.87 Also captured on December 13th with Yasin was Najim ‘Abdalla Hasan Salih. also known as Imad Abd al-Karim. Patrick Lair. and planned attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces. 27 (Sgt. AQI’s security emir for Mosul. including Haydar al-Afri. individuals associated with IED attacks. commander of the Ninevah Operations Command. He operated along the upper Tigris River Valley and was a senior weapons and terrorist facilitator.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. who was captured on December 13th. helped develop intelligence about the Mosul network and led to multiple captures and kills. Among them were foreign terrorist facilitators.91 One of the individuals detained on January 6th was Page 1 • March 003 . Feb. and associates of AQI senior leaders. Yasin was a foreign fighter who helped direct AQI security operations across the north. Haydar was the AQI leader for the western region of Mosul where he facilitated weapons and materials to cells in western Mosul. greets Iraqi army soldiers as he arrives at an Iraqi army station in Mosul. He was also involved in extortion. executions. and counterintelligence operations. two IED cell leaders. Coalition Forces detained three wanted individuals and an additional 26 suspected terrorist associates in Mosul in near-daily operations. CO M Iraqi army Lt. in turn.90 In the first two weeks of January 2008. on December 25th. In the first few weeks of December. Coalition Forces detained 53 individuals in the Mosul network.

Importantly. Haydar al-Afri. and Iraqi Special Operations Forces operating in Ninawa. and maintaining and facilitating weapons. Coalition Forces moved the 1-8 Infantry Battalion. spectacular attacks became more frequent. another highvalue target.101 And on January 28th.102 The Zanjili explosion. he was commander of the 9th Iraqi Army division.92 On January 7th. Mohammed Ibrahim Ali. raised the visibility of Mosul as an insurgent stronghold. which was responsible for the Rusafa area in east Baghdad. ranging anywhere from 12 to 30. at least half of which consisted of IEDs and VBIEDs.95 By mid-January 2008. belied the facts on the ground. Second. CO M believed to be AQI’s deputy emir in the city. The purpose of the NOC was to coordinate the efforts of the Iraqi Army.94 In an operation on January 21st. a Combined Arms Battalion (CAB). a number of security developments led to an augmented and more coherent force structure in Mosul. leading to the capture of an IED cell leader. General Riyadh is credited with having helped secure this key district in Baghdad in 2007. Iraqi Police. and operations to develop intelligence Page 1 • March 003 . He was involved in planning attacks and operated as a judge in an illegal court system that ordered and approved abductions and executions. the establishment of the NOC provided a coherent Iraqi operational command to partner with Coalition forces throughout the province. in particular. These qualities were deemed important for trying to coordinate the efforts of the largely Kurdish Iraqi Army divisions in Ninawa with the largely Arab population and police force in Mosul. was also detained. individuals involved in kidnapping. One week. with increased significant daily attacks.S. Border Security Forces. 300 IEDs were found or detonated by the 3-3 AC squadron. efforts to begin establishing combat outposts (COP) across the city. the Ninawa provincial police chief was killed by a suicide bomber while inspecting the carnage.96 Furthermore. that were captured in December. however. More importantly. nor end quickly. And third.104 Maliki’s statements. First. He was also a close associate of the two AQI leaders. and the deputy emir captured on January 6th. Despite these developments.97 In the month of January alone. In Major General Hertling’s words. Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki made a speech two days after the explosion calling for a final. attacks spiked to 180. Previously. and flattened an entire neighborhood block. and was selected based on his ability to lead effective military operations and to work across the sectarian and ethnic cleavages that often plague Iraq. or almost 26 attacks a day.99 Moreover. The Zanjili bombing on January 25th killed and wounded almost 300 Iraqis.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D.100 The following day. Moving forces to Mosul had been planned long before and most of the forces had already arrived. no one expected the fight for Mosul to be an endall battle. Major General Riyadh Jalal Tawfiq – a Sunni Arab – was selected to head the NOC. from the Baghdad area to Mosul. ‘decisive battle’ against AQI in Mosul. soldiers in the Sumer neighborhood in the southeastern part of the city. security in Mosul continued to deteriorate from December 2007 through February 2008. Coalition Forces continued to target the network associated with Yasin. Rusafa was one of the key flashpoints in the sectarian conflict that consumed Baghdad in 2006. a wanted AQI bomb maker and IED cell leader.98 By the middle of February.” This process had begun in December with the movement of forces to Mosul. Coalition Forces detained AQI’s overall security emir for Mosul. a complex attack coordinating an IED attack and small arms fire conducted by AQI and Ansar al-Sunna insurgents killed five U.93 In several operations in the second half of January. the two battalions from the 2nd Iraqi Army Division that were deployed in Baghdad began returning to Mosul.103 Maliki said that reinforcements were being rushed to the city and that the fight would begin immediately. splitting the city into two halves with each unit covering one side.March 008 . attacks averaged around 20 per day. Yasin and Haydar al-Afri. the Iraqi Security Forces established the Ninawa Operations Command (NOC). “It is not going to be this climactic battle…It’s going to be probably a slow process. The 1-8 Infantry Battalion took over responsibility for Mosul with the 3-3 AC squadron.

who oversaw all of AQI’s operations in Mosul. In the first two weeks of the month Coalition Forces detained a suicide bombing cell leader and his associates.110 He was formerly the military emir for Bayji. Mosul may have just been a place to regroup. along with similar cases in recent months.105 Many of those individuals detained were associated with others detained or killed in December and January.114 Jar Allah was a Saudi national who spent time fighting in Afghanistan before arriving in Iraq in August 2007 along with three other Saudis. During February. Three days after Abd-al-Rahman’s capture. On February 7th. Jar Allah was connected to the AQI senior leader for the northern Iraq networks and was an associate of Abu Ayyub al-Masri. elements of the 1-8 Infantry battalion and the 2nd Iraqi Army Division began Operation Viking Harvest II in an effort to clear the Sumer and Palestine neighborhoods of insurgents and establish a new COP. 41 individuals were detained in both targeted and cordon-and-search raids that were developed based on intelligence. Abu Yasir al-Saudi.108 In the following days.106 The area was closed to traffic for three days in effort to stem the escape of insurgents. Coalition Forces continued operations against the AQI network targeting neighborhoods in both western and eastern Mosul. however.112 During the same week. Coalition Forces detained several other individuals on the western side of the city including an associate of numerous foreign AQI leaders in Samarra who recently relocated from Samarra to Mosul.113 Abd-al-Rahman’s captured was important in terms of operations in Mosul and Ninawa province in general. Upon arriving in Iraq Jar Allah and his associates were sent to Mosul where they were to help supervise AQI activities in the city. indicating that a more developed intelligence picture was leading to greater operational success. Coalition Forces conducted another operation in southeastern Mosul targeting the alleged senior leader for the network in Bayji. Sumer in particular has been a highly contested area with AQI using the neighborhood to project forces into other areas further north in eastern Mosul and also as a transit point in and out of the city on the eastern side. CO M about the enemy system in and around the city. They quickly became an important part of operations in Mosul and Jar Allah eventually took charge of the AQI network in the southeastern region of the city. The Bayji area. In February 2008. AKA Jar Allah. His capture helped develop intelligence about the southeastern network and led to several other important captures later in the month. These neighborhoods are the first point of entry into Mosul from the outer lying areas on the eastern side of the Tigris River south of the city. Page 1 • March 003 . The relocation of Abd-al-Rahman and the senior leader from Bayji to Mosul.111 Abd-al-Rahman sat at the top of a pyramid of various Mosul networks and cells. the Mosul military emir. but was moved to Mosul after the previous military emir was detained on January 21st. Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces also heavily targeted the Sumer and Palestine neighborhoods in the southeastern part of Mosul. and a number of associates of a senior AQI foreign facilitator also believed to be responsible for the January 28th attack against Coalition soldiers. Coalition Forces captured Abd-al-Rahman Ibrahim Jasim Tha’ir.109 Operations in the southeastern part of Mosul ultimately led to a number of high-value captures. but these three captures also highlight the move of AQI from further south along the Tigris River to Mosul. The individual from Samarra likely relocated because of the successful operations in months prior to clear Samarra of insurgents. a number of other wanted and suspected individuals were detained and a large weapons cache including suicide bomb vests and materials was found and cleared.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. On February 27th.107 On the first day of the operation. the intelligence gathered from Abd-al-Rahman and various other operations in February led Coalition Forces to the location of the AQI military emir for the southeastern region of the city. On February 18th. suggests that the Bayji area is still very active and that AQI is using the area as a reserve force for emirs captured or killed in Mosul and possibly elsewhere. does not seem to have been cleared of insurgents yet.March 008 . another judge of an illegal terrorist court system.

A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. The diagram above was released by MNFIraq after Jar Allah’s capture and shows the type of intelligence picture that Coalition Forces worked to develop since January and the significant progress made against not only the southeastern network. Jar Allah was “a key operational leader” responsible for planning and conducting attacks across the city. Coalition forces found and cleared this VBIED on February 15th before it could be used. and helped direct AQI’s foreign terrorist facilitation activities in the city. Jar Allah was also involved in smuggling and kidnapping. IED Page 1 • March 003 . Below Abd-al-Rahman is Jar Allah (Abu Yasir al-Saudi) and his southeast network. CO M Source: MNF-Iraq As the military emir for southeastern Mosul. During this complex attack insurgents first fired on a Coalition patrol from a nearby mosque and then targeted the unit with an IED device. who’s name had not been released yet. but the overall Mosul network. As the diagram depicts this network was fairly sophisticated with multiple cells in charge of various activities ranging from RPG.000 pounds of explosives packed inside a truck painted to look like a Red Crescent food relief truck. The unnamed military emir at the top of the chart is Abd-al-Rahman. In addition to directing AQI’s operations in southeastern Mosul. His network also constructed a large VBIED using 5.March 008 . Jar Allah’s network was responsible for the attack on Coalition Forces on January 28th that killed 5 soldiers in the Sumer neighborhood in southeastern Mosul.

This line has functioned as one of the primary lines of communication for the Sunni insurgency. which is important because AQI has relied on raising money through intimidation. but there is still infighting between elements of the insurgency. At the beginning of March between one-half and two-thirds of the attacks in Iraq occurred in or around Mosul. Insurgents fell back on Mosul in November 2004 and have now done so again. In January and February. Coalition Forces captured 8 members of this network and killed 4 others. which is described below after a description of the enemy system in Mosul. AQI. 1920 Revolutionary Brigades. Looking along the west-east line. Many of Jar Allah’s associates were also foreign nationals. Mosul is the network’s strategic center of gravity – an area of interest that if lost would make AQI’s survival very difficult. The west-east and north-south lines connect leadership elements in Syria to those in Mosul and subsequently down to central Iraq. Coalition Forces killed Ahmad Husayn Ghanim ‘Ali. the important feature is Mosul’s proximity to the Syrian border. and Naqshibandi groups. Moreover. Jaysh Islamiya.118 First. Mosul has been a large urban sanctuary for AQI because of its location away from central Iraq. and kidnapping.122 Coalition intelligence officers believe there are 400 to 600 “hardcore” AQI terrorists and 1. A lesser line also stretches from the east near the Iran-Sulaymaniyah area where Ansar al-Sunna still maintains a base of operations.123 Mosul is considered the last urban stronghold of AQI and is home to “a fractured insurgency of many different groups.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. while attempting to unify the larger insurgency. On March 8th.200 to 1.600 nationalist insurgents and other individuals (often simply working for money). Abu Mansur was AQI’s deputy emir for the city and was a judge in the network’s illegal court system. the formation of a more comprehensive strategy has emerged.120 Third. Page 18 • March 003 .”124 Coalition Forces believe that AQI has tried to regroup and reconstitute its network in Mosul. The city also houses a number of large banks where wire transfers are received. CO M and anti-aircraft attacks to administration and operational security.117 The north-south line runs along Main Supply Route (MSR) Tampa from the Turkish border down through Mosul and then roughly follows the Tigris River Valley/MSR Tampa down through central Iraq. in addition to its role in funding and facilitation. This line has been important to the Sunni insurgency since 2003.121 AQI is considered the largest and most active terrorist group in the city. Mosul is critical for AQI’s financing.116 Operations in March and April have continued to target the southeastern network as well as other areas.March 008 . in particular. Its location makes it a hub for financiers traveling back and forth between Syria and Iraq. which has become increasingly fractured. Coalition Forces assess that while Baghdad has always been the operational center of gravity for AQI.115 These operations led to another high value target later in the week. also known as Abu Mansur. tHe enemy system in mosul Mosul is situated at a strategic crossroads in northern Iraq at the meeting point of westeast and north-south lines of communication. but there are also elements of Ansar al-Sunna. And in the days that followed Jar Allah’s capture Coalition Forces continued to target the network. but there may be instances of tactical and operational cooperation as the insurgency is squeezed. extortion. Mosul is the destination for foreign terrorists entering Iraq from Syria.125 There is some evidence that AQI and Ansar al Sunna have formed a working relationship in Mosul.119 Second. Mosul is also the center for trade and industry in northern Iraq. the security emir for east Mosul. fraudulent real estate deals. Mosul’s strategic location and population have made it a hub for the Sunni insurgency in northern Iraq. Foreign fighters and future suicide bombers are given instructions on how to get to Mosul and from there link up with the network that then funnels them south into central Iraq. and.126 The ultimate goals of these different factions will likely remain irreconcilable. particularly AQI and the nationalist groups.

These areas are homes to safe houses.132 The first COPs were built in western neighborhoods like Yarmuk and Rissala. and Iraqi Police patrols. By the beginning of March. At the same time checkpoints and infrastructure are targeted in order to thwart the establishment of an effective security structure across the city. more comprehensive strategy for clearing the city and establishing greater security.129 At the same time that Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces developed intelligence and conducted operations. while those against checkpoints and infrastructure tend to be conducted with VBIEDs and sometimes small arms fire. and infrastructure (COPs. Coalition Forces had already built 20 COPs across Mosul and more were in the planning stage. establish both permanent and spot checkpoints in their area of operation. The pattern of these attacks suggests that AQI is trying to control roads and prevent patrols with IEDs both inside and outside of Mosul. These outer neighborhoods are also the links between insurgents operating inside and outside of the city. CO M Mosul’s enemy groups are mixed among the population across both the west and east sides of the city. Once COPs are established they house a combination of Coalition soldiers. Once COPs are established and security can be expanded outward.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. they also worked to implement the first stages of a larger. or freedom of movement and supply.March 008 . eastern neighborhoods like Sumer. and conduct presence patrols. and Rashidiyah in the north. Major General Mark Hertling described the emerging strategy for Mosul as very similar to the strategy employed in Baghdad the previous year with Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces methodically taking control of key areas across the city and maintaining forces in these areas.133 These neighborhoods are located just outside of central Mosul and many of them border key highways like MSR Tampa.127 Attacks on the west side of the city tend to target Coalition Forces.131 The key to this strategy is moving security forces from large FOBs on the outskirts of the city to COPs in neighborhoods where they can sustain a 24/7 security presence and protect the population. but most tend to be small arms fire attacks or outright murder. but the west side and the eastern and northern suburbs of Sumer/Palestine and Rashidiyah are the main strongholds. close villages. Beyond Mosul. stations). Large attacks against civilians are sometimes conducted with VBIEDs. weapons caches. In doing so. checkpoints. AQI uses suburbs. but civilians in the largely Kurdish areas are heavily targeted as well. tHe strAtegy to secure mosul Through the first two months of 2008. and areas where AQI can simply escape security operations in the city. This approach suggests that Coalition Forces aim to establish security in these areas first and then expand security zones both toward center city and the outskirts. Iraqi Army. and Iraqi Police officers. This helps to set the conditions for possible reconciliation and local governance. more elaborate insurgent complexes. bases. Outside of the city insurgents mostly target security patrols along main routes. Palestine. These forces then work together to collect intelligence and clear neighborhoods. weapons assembly sites. Iraqi Army soldiers. This strategy will include both kinetic and non-kinetic operations. and Intisar. like beheadings. Attacks on the east side also target security forces. and villages out in the belts as support zones for operations in the city.130 Commanders have stressed that this kinetic process of securing Mosul will take at least several months. Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces captured or killed 142 AQI insurgents in Mosul including a number of senior leaders. Moreover. the enemy does not enjoy sanctuary. 128 Insurgents have also attacked Kurdish political party offices on the east side. Attacks against security patrols are generally conducted with IEDs. which are important routes for Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. Coalition and Page 1 • March 003 . attacks against Kurdish civilians and political party offices are a deliberate effort to divide Arabs and Kurds in order to find sanctuary among an Arab population skeptical of Kurdish intentions in northern Iraq.

200 SoI members in Ninawa mostly south of the city among the Jiburi tribe. Beyond these two issues. will also be targeted.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D.March 008 . Military operations will be important for setting the conditions for greater security in Mosul. To some degree these issues are interrelated. commanders have stressed that operations in areas west and south of the city will be important for establishing security in Mosul. the Government of Iraq (GOI) needs to support provincial reconstruction and provincial elections will help establish a more representative provincial government. but the most important aspects of an enduring security structure will be the result of political integration and progress.134 On top of this. In December. the areas of Tal Afar. Second. This process is still in the early stages in Mosul. There are currently some 1. Coalition Forces. Major General Petraeus worked hard to reintegrate the reconcilable part of this population while cracking down on the irreconcilable part in 2003. In 2003. and Biaj.135 Other ideas have also been discussed to try to deny enemy freedom of movement. CO M Iraqi leaders try to link neighboring COPs to one another in order to form a seamless security blanket across the city. an uneasy balance was established across the city with greater support for AQI and other insurgents stemming from distrust of Kurdish intentions. parts of Mosul’s large Sunni Arab population – particularly former Iraqi Army soldiers . When security deteriorated in November 2004 and was only reestablished with a large Kurdish military presence. but commanders have stressed that they are unlikely to work in Mosul because of Kurdish fears of organized Arab security forces operating outside of a formal security structure. This uneasy balance has ossified to some degree and could be exploited by AQI. For example. in a similar effort have been working to repair breaches to a twenty foot high earthen berm that was built around parts of the city after the November 2004 Battle of Mosul. The SoI programs have been successful in parts of Iraq.136 It is not clear where this project stands at present. Sinjar. when talk about a ‘decisive battle’ in Iraq circulated. the Ninawa provincial council approved a plan to dig a large trench around the outside of Mosul and establish a series of entrances with checkpoints to better control who enters and exits the city. Furthermore. as well as smaller villages like Hammam al-Alil and al-Hadra will be targeted. Some of the areas that need to be cleared have not had a Coalition or Iraqi Army presence for 16 months or longer.137 There have also been plans discussed by ISF to build large concrete barriers similar to those in Baghdad around problem areas like Sumer. First.138 Outside of Mosul. local tribes and former military personnel and regime elements need to be integrated into security forces and local government. which helped ensure a smaller and less enthusiastic base of support for the insurgency. the status of Kurdish areas in northern Iraq needs to be settled. insurgents on the west side of the city are considered among the most active and best organized in all of Iraq. Iraqi leaders stressed that participation from local Mosuli tribes was needed and that efforts would Page 0 • March 003 . On the immediate outskirts of the city are a number of villages and industrial areas that insurgents have been operating from and where they take kidnapping victims. requires working with local Arab tribes and doing more to reintegrate Arabs into security forces. tensions between a largely Kurdish Iraqi Army Division and Arab Iraqi Police units and population will make this process even more difficult. And the southwest belt that swings between these west-east and north-south lines. the Badush area just west of the city where a large cement factory is located has provided a more rural operating area for insurgents out of the reach of forces in Mosul.lost a lot of political power when Saddam Hussein fell from power. therefore. and the villages along the corridor of the main highway that runs from the Syrian border through these areas to western Mosul will be targeted. however. The village areas of Salam and Yarimjah have provided similar sanctuary just southeast of the city. Part of the strategy to secure Mosul. To the south. which includes villages like Adba and Jurn. In January. the Tigris River Valley cities of Sharqat and Qayyarah. Further to the west.

the operation is likely to be much slower than if it were conducted by Coalition Forces. In February.300 of the individuals were new recruits. There is a perceived Kurdish expansionism that many Arabs in Ninawa fear. Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces. 1.140 Efforts to reach out to the Shammar tribe in western Ninawa have not been as successful because of the support that AQI receives from some tribe members and intense disputes with Kurds over the status of certain western cities like Sinjar. while 900 were former noncommissioned and commissioned Iraqi Army officers. Participation by Sunni Arabs in the upcoming elections will hopefully redress some of the imbalances and provide a legitimate outlet for current grievances. but GOI funding of provinces has been problematic across Iraq and the north should expect no different. as well as the Ninawa Provincial Council. conclusion The fight for Mosul will be long and will play out over the coming months. including Mosul.March 008 . Large swaths of Kurdish majority areas in Ninawa. provincial elections will take place. They have also been active in the northern and western parts of the province as well.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. are eligible under article 140 of the Constitution to be annexed by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).139 On February 18th. As a result. Coalition and Iraqi forces will likely employ a similar strategy to that employed in Baghdad with some key differences. there has also been an effort to recruit Iraqi security forces from among Mosul’s Arab population. An announcement was also made that a new recruiting center would be opened in western Mosul to continue receiving recruits from the area. especially from west Mosul where Coalition and Kurdish Iraqi Army soldiers have a difficult time operating. Kurdish political parties and peshmerga forces have been active in Mosul since the first days of the war as detailed above. the NOC was able to enlist 2. which will also be important for political progress in Mosul and Ninawa. and resolution of some of the contested areas in Ninawa and elsewhere could go a long way toward helping establish security in northern Iraq. The United Nations is currently working this issue.200 new soldier and officer candidates for the Iraqi Army during a recruiting drive. The lion’s share of the burden will therefore fall on Iraqi Security Forces.142 The divide between Arabs and Kurds in Ninawa province has been a problem since the beginning of the Iraq War. and local government will begin efforts to reconstruct secure parts of Mosul that have been devastated by attacks in the last year.143 Kurds do not constitute a majority in the province. The city and province will both need support from the GOI for these efforts. and Kurdish officials in the Ninawa provincial government are actively pushing measures to move this process forward. The Iraqi Security Forces are still building capacity and their shortcomings in logistics and supply have long been a problem in Mosul. Sunni Arabs largely boycotted the 2005 elections and as a result Kurdish political parties occupy most government positions in the province. CO M be made to reach out to them. but control the Governor and deputy Governor posts. Prime Minister Maliki traveled to Ninawa to meet with a delegation of leaders from the Jiburi tribe to explain the upcoming operation and the importance that Iraq’s tribes have had in helping secure Iraq in the last year and promoting reconciliation. Later in the year.141 Since January. This will be an important test to see whether a slimmed down Coalition Force can work with Iraqi Security Forces to create and maintain security in an area that is a sanctuary for a large number of determined insurgents. While Baghdad was cleared with twenty Coalition battalions. At the same time that operations and political integration move forward. Page 1 • March 003 . there are only two in Mosul.

David Rohde.. April 26. Michael Gordon R. David Rohde. 227. Gordon and General Bernard E.” NewYork Times.” Associated Press.” The Boston Globe. “Al Qaeda Goes North: Police Chief Killed in Mosul. p. A History of Iraq. David Rohde. “U. Tripp. “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report from the Most Violent Place in Iraq. Marr.” NewYork Times. Trainor. 26. “U. p. Soldiers are Killed When Convey is Hit in Mosul. Joshua Partlow and Ann Scott Tyson. U. “Five U. 2003. Roddy. Deny Enemy of Supplies. 2006).S. CO M Endnotes 1 Sam Dagher. Operational Briefing. Phillip Robertson. 193. “At Least 10 Iraqis are Dead in Clashes in Northern Iraq. Colorado: Westview Press. Second Edition (Boulder.” Page  • March 003 . U. January 25. April 23..” Associated Press. Dennis B. 2000).A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. “In Newly Occupied Mosul.7 Million Added Responsibilities. 2003. 2003. David Rohde.” Salon. “General Petraeus Describes Factors Affecting Iraq Assessment. General David Petraeus as quoted in Jim Garamone. “Riots Greet Would-Be Leader of Mosul. March 3. David Rising. A History of Iraq. April 23.” The Guardian. “Kurdish Paramilitaries Stop Armed Patrols. 2008.” Policy Watch #950. 2003. 2003. “David Rohde. April 11. January 29. The Washington Institute for Near East Studies. April 11.” Christian Science Monitor. “Looting Heavy After U.” Salon. Phebe Marr. Phillip Robertson. April 23.” The Globe and Mail. 2003. “MPs.S. “Developments Fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. 2008. April 23. 2003. Michael Knights.S. Dogs Sniff Out Explosives in Mosul. 2008. Phillip Robertson. 2004. 2008.” NewYork Times. “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report from the Most Violent Place in Iraq. “Sniper Fire Greets GIs in Big City in North.” NewYork Times. “Iraqi Arabs. April 19. Kieran Murray. 2004). 2008. Kurds Clash in Mosul.” Reuters. April 16. 2008. Kim Gamel. February 11. Colonel Faces 1.” Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable. Sgt.” NewYork Times. “Coalition Focus on Clearing Mosul Terrorist Networks. David Rohde. Cobra II: the Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (New York: Pantheon Books. “Deadly Unrest Leaves a Town Bitter at US. “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report from the Most Violent Place in Iraq.. 2003.” Salon. Charles Tripp. March 2. Cobra II: the Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (New York: Pantheon Books. 196-7. Michael Howard. Stephanie Nolen. “Sniper Fire Greets GIs in Big City in North. p. Patrick Lair. 2003. 450-4.” Washington Post. Thanassis Cambanis. Moves Into Mosul 15 16 2 3 17 4 18 19 5 6 20 7 21 8 9 10 22 23 11 24 25 12 13 14 26 Without a Fight. 450. January 25. Trainor. 2006). Iraqi Troops Fight to Take Control in Mosul. “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report from the Most Violent Place in Iraq.” Salon.” Salon.March 008 . April 28. April 23. 2003.7 Million Added Responsibilities. 2003. Ibid. The Modern History of Iraq. On pre-war planning and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 see Michael Gordon R. “In Newly Occupied Mosul. 2003.” Backgrounder #21. Phillip Robertson. “Arabs Blame Mosul Looting on Kurdish Conquerors. January 29. Phillip Robertson.” NewYork Times. 2008. April 11.S. 2008. 2005. 2008. p. “Deadly Unrest Leaves a Town Bitter at US.” MNF-I Daily Stories. 2003. p. “Lessons from Mosul.” Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Ibid. 2003. David Rohde. April 12. November 17. “Sniper Fire Greets GIs in Big City in North.” NewYork Times. Middle East News Agency. 2003. Ibid.” BBC Monitoring Middle East. January 27. “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report from the Most Violent Place in Iraq.” Salon. Institute for the Study of War. Gordon and General Bernard E. April 23. “Iraq Announces Major Offensive in Mosul. Colonel Faces 1. April 19. 2003. April 12. Troops Disarm Kurdish Peshmerga in Mosul. March 3. April 12. The Modern History of Iraq. 2003. February 27. April 15. David Rohde. 2003. Major General Mark Hertling.S. Colonel Donald Bacon. April 12.S. Phillip Robertson. Press Briefing. See Eric Hamilton. Rear Admiral Greg Smith. “An Arab Mogadishu: A Report from the Most Violent Place in Iraq. 2003. New Edition (New York: Cambridge University Press.” American Forces Press Service.

November 18. April 9. and initiatives which further restore the rule of law and effective governance. 2005. May 13. Storming Police Stations in Mosul. “Lessons from Mosul. For an overview of these developments see Eric Hamilton. Edward Wong. 2003. “This includes but is not limited to: water and sanitation infrastructure. “In Mosul. January 29. 101st Airborne Division Commander Liver Briefing From Iraq. 2003. “101st Airborne Scores Success in Northern Iraq.” Boston Globe. 451-454. November 16. “Major General David H. “Raids in the Mosul Region Undermine Value of Victories. February 26. 2003. 2004. Storming Police Stations in Mosul. “Kurdish Paramilitaries Stop Armed Patrols. 101st Airborne Division Commander Liver Briefing From Iraq.” PolicyWatch #855: Special Forum Report. 2004. “Pushed Out of Baghdad Area.” Boston Globe. Major General David Petraeus. purchase or repair of civic support vehicles. 2004. April 28. 2004. Michael R.” Policy Watch #950. 46-52. For an excellent background on Mosul in 2004 see Michael Knights. Troops Disarm Kurdish Peshmerga in Mosul. “Parade Marks Return of Fort Bliss Units from Iraq.” American Forces Press Service.” Associated Press. day laborers to perform civic cleaning.” NewYork Times. financial. Major General David Petraeus. May 13. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. education. management improvements. Thanassis Cambanis. Edward Wong. Major General David Petraeus.” Washington Post. Major General David Petraeus. Gordon. “US Bombs Flashpoint Iraqi City of Mosul as Insurgents Flock In. “Lessons of the Iraq War and Its Aftermath. Kurdish Militia Helps Keep Order. Institute for the Study of War. food production and distribution. 101st Airborne Division Commander Liver Briefing From Iraq. “Major General David H.S. Cobra II: the Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. 2003. January 27. 2003.000 troops from the 101st and 1.” Joint Forces Quarterly. “In Mosul. Kurdish Militia Helps Keep Order. 2008. 2003. No. The Washington Institute for Near East Studies. 2003. Kieran Murray. 2004. 2008. irrigation systems installation or restoration. “Insurgents Attack Fiercely in North. 2003. Cash Flows to Iraqi Contracts. May 13. Institute for the Study of War. Page 3 • March 003 .” NewYork Times. 101st Airborne Division Commander Liver Briefing From Iraq. Thanassis Cambanis. November 14. “Fear of Ethnic Conflict Charges Mosul Unrest. projects in furtherance of economic. Petraeus Cites Highs and Lows of Iraqi Deployment. 37 (2nd Quarter 2005).March 008 . “U. 2004. Chris Roberts.000 nondivisional units. 2004. January 27.” El Paso Times. 2004. “U. Insurgents Seek Hub in North. Order of Battle.” NewYork Times.” Backgrounder #21. 18. November 18. 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 Donna Miles. March 5. 2004. April 26. General David Petraeus. Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “U.” Boston Globe. April 9. November 30. “Lessons of the Iraq War and Its Aftermath. Interview with Sky New. May 13. Gordon. November 12.” NewYork Times.. “Military Uses Hussein Hoard For Swift Aid. 2004. Edward Wong. Red Tape Cut. CO M 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 NewYork Times. telecommunications. Wesley Morgan. 2004. p. p. April 12. Petraeus Cites Highs and Lows of Iraqi Deployment. “101st Airborne Scores Success in Northern Iraq. April 9.” Policy Watch #950. 2003. “Developments Fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq. October 30. Major General David Petraeus. “Lessons from Mosul. The Washington Institute for Near East Studies. Michael Knights. September 4. “Insurgents Attack Fiercely in North. Ibid.” NewYork Times. Major General David Petraeus.” PolicyWatch #855: Special Forum Report. Multi-National Force – Iraq. healthcare. 2005. September 4. March 17. Donna Miles. Washington Institute for Near East Policy.” Reuters.” See Mark S. “The Commander’s Emergency Response Program.” NewYork Times.” PolicyWatch #855: Special Forum Report. Michael R. November 16. Troops Move to Reign in Rebels in North of Iraq.S.” American Forces Press Service. November 11. March 17. 2004.” NewYork Times. 2004. April 2008.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. 2008. Ariana Eunjunj Cha. Thanassis Cambanis. “Lessons of the Iraq War and Its Aftermath.S. Martins. Gordon and Trainor. November 12.000-2. transportation.” Associated Press. 2004. Michael R. Iraqi Troops Begin Operations to Secure Parts of Mosul.” Agence France Presse-English. and repairs to civic or cultural facilities. Major General David Petraeus. 2003. Gordon. David Rising. Edward Wong.

30. 2007. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070712a. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070616a. “Al-Qaeda Regional Emir. Colonel Stephen Twitty. July 27. July 27.” Washington Post. Colonel Stephen Twitty. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20070711-03 IED factory discovered. understandingwar. 17 suspected bombers captured. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. “Two terrorists killed. “Iraqis Joining Insurgency Less For Cause Than Cash. Five Terrorists Killed. 2007. 2007. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070615a. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A070830b. 20070621-20 IA.” June 19. “Al-Qaeda emir of Mosul shot. 2007. “ Al-Qaeda Military Emir of Mosul Killed. 2007. Colonel Stephen Twitty. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070613d.” September 24. 2007. 2007 Colonel Stephen Twitty. specialized in ‘curb-shaped’ bombs. “Al-Qaeda emir of West Mosul killed during Coalition operations. 2007. March 2. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070720b3 terrorists killed. 2007. Ibid. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. MultiNational Division – North PAO Press Release 20070905-13. 2007. 20 detained in Coalition operations. “Terrorist fires on own family during raid. 2007. detain Al-Qaeda leader in Mosul. IED Cache in Mosul.” July 20. Colonel Stephen Twitty. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A070925b. 22 Suspects Detained During Operations Targeting al-Qaeda. September 7.” June 25. 2007.” July 20.org. 2007.” June 22. Amit R. 2007.” June 25. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20070908. “Coalition raids target al-Qaeda. Multi-National ForceIraq Press Release A070617a. 2007. Coalition disrupts al-Qaeda ops Aug. Multi- 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 National Force-Iraq Press Release 20070720-12 Iraqi. 2007.” June 16. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070625c. August 1. “10 terrorists killed. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. “7 terrorists killed. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070529a.” June 13. November 20. 2007. 13 Others Detained. “Coalition Forces detain suspected al-Qaeda senior leader in Mosul. 2007. “One terrorist leader captured. Ibid. 21 Suspects Detained During Operations Targeting al-Qaeda. another killed in Coalition operations. Colonel Stephen Twitty. 2007.” June 15. 2007. IP discover IED factory near Mosul July 8. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A070924b. “Al-Qaeda emir of West Mosul killed during Coalition operations. “Four terrorists killed. Colonel Stephen Twitty. July 27.” September 8.” July 14. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070623b. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070714a . 1st CD picked up responsibility for the Za’ab Triangle back in February. 2007. Colonel Stephen Twitty. 15 suspects detained. 2007.March 008 . Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release 2007080209.” September 25. 2007. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070622a.” June 21. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. “Lightning Hammer II Uncovers VBIEDs.” August 2. one terrorist killed.” September 5. bombs destroyed. 2007. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20070801-01 Local tip leads to cache discovery. fugitives. 2007.” July 17. 2007. 10 detained. 2007. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. 2007. March 2. September 7. 2007 The 4th HBCT. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070619a. “Al-Qaeda cell leader. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release No. September 7. 2007. 2007.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070717a.” July 12.” June 23. 2007. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20070708-06 IA. “2nd IA Soldiers Capture Confessed ‘Key AQI Financier’ in Nineveh.” June 17. “Coalition Forces.” May 29. 2007. Also see “Za’ab Triangle” under Regions at the Institute for the Study of War website www. “CF roll-up multiple caches. “44 suspects detained in Coalition operations. Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release A070625c. killed by ISF. “19 suspected al-Qaeda detained in Coalition raids. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. 2007. Multi-National Corps – Iraq Press Release 20071008- Page  • March 003 . 20 detained in Coalition operations. July 11. 29 suspects detained. Paly. “Three Terrorists Killed.03. 2007. CO M 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 December 5.

New Test of Iraqi Army. Democracy ‘Within Reach’”. “The City Where Iraqi Forces Aim to Stand Firm. Responsibility was officially handed over on December 12. 2007. 2008. Gordon. Five Detained. 2007. Detain 44 in Northern Iraq.” November 17. Richard A.” NewYork Times. Coalition Forces Kill 14 Enemy Fighters. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20070930-06. Four Other Suspects Detained. September 7. Operational Briefing. November 19.” November 11. Special Operations Forces Detain Six in Northern Iraq. December 6. 2007. Pentagon Press Briefing from Iraq. Multi-National Force – Iraq. 2007. 2007. Major General Mark Hertling. August 15. Order of Battle. 16 Suspects Detained.” NewYork Times. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20070926-07. October 12. Sgt. 2007. November 19. Insurgents Seek Hub in North. Colonel Stephen Twitty. 14 Detained. Fail to Shake Iraqi Will. Solomon Moore. “Coalition Forces Capture a Suspected Terrorist. “Iraqi Forces. Ibid. “Iraqi Security Forces. Nine Suspects Detained. 2007. U. Department of Defense News Briefing. Gordon. Major General Mark Hertling. Andrew E. Department of Defense News Briefing. “Pushed Out of Baghdad Area. 2007. “Three Imams Murdered During Separate Attacks in Ninawa. Steve Negus. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20071109-02. “SVBIED Kills 3 IPs. “Pushed Out of Baghdad Area.S. March 20.” December 2. 2007. “Iraqi Security Forces. 2007.” October 14. Multi-National Corps – Iraq Press Release 20071009-01. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071107b. Three Terrorists Killed. Oppel Jr. 2007. 2007. James Glanz. 4th BCT. “Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda Networks. “Bombings in Iraq Said to Signal Ramadan Offensive. “Iron Reaper Continues Pursuit of al-Qaeda. 2007.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. “Suicide Truck Bombing Kills 16 in Mosul. 2007. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071229b. “Iraq Toll Reaches 250 in the Deadliest Attack of the War. 1st Class Brian Sipp. “Street Battles in Iraqi Cities Point to Dire Security Status. 2007. CO M 69 70 71 72 73 07. Special Operations Forces Dismantle Terrorist Cells.” NewYork Times. The 2-3 Armored Cavalry deployed to Diyala province in support of operations under the 4th SBCT.S.” November 19.” December 12.” New York Times. Megan Greenwell and Dlovan Brwari. April 2008.” November 8.” November 9. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20071117-07. Department of Defense News Briefing. “Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq Networks.” Financial Times. Ann Scott Tyson and Sudarsan Raghavan.” October 17. Wesley Morgan. “In Mosul. 2007. 2nd ID. Religious Sect Targeted By 4 Coordinated Blasts. 2007.” NewYork Times. 2007. Institute for the Study of War. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20071017-04. December 5. and Mudhafer al-Husaini. “First Cavalry’s ‘Long Knife’ Brigade Turns Over Northern Iraq Battlespace to 3d ACR ‘Brave Rifles’ After 14-Month Tour. August 16. December 18.” NewYork Times.” Washington Post. 2007. Michael R. 2007. Including Senior Mosul al-Qaeda Leader. “Truck Bombs Kill 175 in Iraq’s North. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071110a. Secretary. Insurgents Seek Hub in North. 2007. 2007. 2007. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071111a. 2007. Says Stability. Major General Mark Hertling. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20071202-03. Kramer. 2007. Wounds 12 in Ninawa Province. “Suicide VBIEDs in Northern Iraq. 2007. December 5. 12 Killed. “Coalition Forces Find Detention Facility and Weapons Cache. November 19. 2007. “Gates Cautiously Upbeat on Iraq.” November 10. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071120a. 1st CD PAO.March 008 . 2007. U.” NewYork Times. Washington Post. Kill One Insurgent. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071108b. October 17.” October 8. “Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda Network. “Coalition Forces Positively Identify Terrorist Killed in Recent Operation. “Ten Suspects Detained as Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda. 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 Kirk Semple. on Visit. 85 86 Page  • March 003 .” September 30. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071113a. May 17. 2007. One Killed. “Iron Hammer successful in pursuit of al-Qaeda in Iraq. September 27. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071014a.” September 26.” November 7. 2007.” November 13. Michael R. Major General Mark Hertling.” October 9. 2007.

2008. “Coalition Forces Targets Foreign Terrorists. Task Force Iron Public Affairs.” January 9.” Christian Science Monitor. Joshua Partlow and Ann Scott Tyson. New Test of Iraqi Army. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071230a. February 23. February 20. “CF Detain High Value Target While Under Fire in Mosul.” December 31.” January 9. 2008. 101 Sam Dagher. 15 Detained. 2007. 2008. 2008. 27 Detained. February 5. Operational Briefing. 1st Lt. 2008.” January 19. 2008.S. 115th Mobile PAO Detachment. 92 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080107a. MultiNational Corps – Iraq Press Release 2008011908. Operational Briefing.” December 29. “Two Gunmen Arrested in Mosul. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071227b. January 25.” December 13. “Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda in Iraq Leadership. 2008. 2008.” Stars and Stripes. 25. 2008.” January 21.” January 8. 2008. 96 Major General Mark Hertling. Suicide Bombers. 93 1st Lt. February 27.” December 25. January Page  • March 003 . Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080115a. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080121a. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080107a. Six Killed. 95 Rear Admiral Greg Smith. “Coalition Forces Targets al-Qaeda Networks in Baghdad. January 15. Two Killed. “In Mosul. Multi-National Corps – Iraq Press Release 20080114-14. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080119a.March 008 . 34 Detained. “UPDATE: Coalition Forces Positively Identify Terrorist Killed in Operation Dec. “Coalition Forces Target Assassination and Facilitation Networks. 2008. “Mosul Girds for Battle. March 20. 2008. Solomon Moore. “Al Qaeda Goes North: Police Chief Killed in Mosul. 2007. 100 Sam Dagher. “MPs. Patrick Lair. 99 Richard Tomkins. 2008. Troops Setting Down Roots in Mosul. 2008. 19 Detained.” Washington Post. 2008. Three Killed. 17 Detained. “Iraqi Special Operations Forces. 2007. January 28. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071225a.” January 7. February 19. 2008. 16 Suspects Detained.S. Six Suspects Detained. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071213a. “Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda in Iraq Leadership.” Middle East Times. Drew Brown. 2008. 14 Suspects Detained. 94 Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080117b. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071231c. “Coalition Forces Target Foreign Terrorist Facilitators.” The Atlantic.” January 7. Richard Ybarra. 97 Richard Tomkins. 2007. “CF Detain High Value Target While Under Fire in Mosul. 2008. “Coalition Significantly Disrupts al-Qaeda Networks: Two Killed. 34 Detained. “Iraqi Security Forces Detain Ten in Separate Operations.” January 13. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080109a.” January 15. “Coalition Forces Target Foreign Terrorist Facilitators. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080107a. “Al-Qaeda Operations in Northern Iraq Disrupted. 11 Detained.” January 17. Task Force Iron Public Affairs. “Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq Operations. Special Forces Detain Terrorist Cell Leader (Mosul). “Coalition Forces Ddisrupt alQaeda in Iraq Operations.” January 12. Press Briefing. 2007.” Middle East Times. Rear Admiral Greg Smith. “Coalition Disrupts al-Qaeda Networks Across Iraq. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A071229b. Aswat al-Iraq.” December 29. Sgt. 2007. 2008.” December 30. “Mosul Girds for Battle.” January 14. 2008. Rear Admiral Greg Smith.” Translated from Arabic. Six Detained. 18 Detained. 2008. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080113b. Propaganda and IED Cells. Dogs Sniff Out Explosives in Mosul.” NewYork Times. 2007.” January 8. Operational Briefing.” December 27.” January 19. 2008. Deny Enemy of Supplies. U. Three Killed. “U. Richard Ybarra. Sammara. 2008. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080112a. 2008.S. “Al Qaeda Goes North: Police Chief Killed in Mosul. 14 Detained. January 29. 2008. “Five U. Soldiers are Killed When Convey is Hit in Mosul. “Coalition Forces Target Terrorist Facilitators. “What Ever Happened to the Mahdi Army. Mosul). “Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda Leaders in Northern Iraq. 98 Bing West. Mosul. 13 Detained. February 5. 13 Killed. CO M 87 88 89 90 91 “Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq Operations. 2008. 21 Suspects Detained (Kirkuk.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D.” MNF-I Daily Stories. Six Suspects Detained. 2008. February 11.” Christian Science Monitor. “Coalition Forces Disrupt al-Qaeda in Iraq Operations. 115th Mobile PAO Detachment. February 19.

” January 31. “UPDATE: Coalition Forces Identify AQI Leader. Operational Briefing. 2008. 2008. 2008. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080208b. Coalition Forces Find Large Explosives Cache. MultiNational Force – Iraq Press Release A080303d. 2008. Interview with Sky New.” Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable.” Associated Press. “Five U. 2008. One Killed. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20080211-03. “Al-Qaeda Targeted. “Coalition Focus on Clearing Mosul Terrorist Networks. Weapons Caches Destroyed. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080301c. Colonel Donald Bacon. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080301c. U.” February 17. 2008. “Coalition Targets al-Qaeda Networks Operating in Mosul.” March 7. March 2. “Coalition Captures IED Facilitator Near Baghdad. 2008. Soldiers are Killed When Convoy is Hit in Mosul. Rear Admiral Greg Smith. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080309a. Colonel Donald Bacon. Bergner.” February 7. 2008. April 16. “10 Gunmen Arrested in Mosul Raid. Associate Killed in Mosul Raid. Colonel Donald Bacon. April 16. 2008. 2008.March 008 . 2008. “Coalition Disrupts al-Qaeda in Iraq Networks. Major General Kevin J. 2008. 2008. Washington Post. 2008. 2008.” February 11. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080307a. Kim Gamel. March 3.” Associated Press. Hurst.” February 1. “Coalition Targets al-Qaeda in Iraq Networks in Mosul. 23 Detained. Five Detained. “Coalition Targets al-Qaeda in Iraq Networks. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20080211-04. Major General Kevin J.S. Rear Admiral Greg Smith. March 3.” February 21.” March 1. Seven Terrorists Killed.” Translated from Arabic. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080201a. 2008. Steven R. “Coalition Targets alQaeda in Iraq Networks in Mosul. January 25. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080131a. January 29. 2008. General David Petraeus. “UPDATE: Coalition Forces Identify AQI Leader. Operational Briefing. One Killed.” March 1. “Iraqi Reinforcements Rush to Mosul. Alexandra Zavis. “Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces Clear Way for New Combat Outpost. “Coalition Disrupts al-Qaeda Operating in Northern Iraq. 2008. CO M 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 25.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. “Mosul Placed Under Partial Curfew.” Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable.” February 14. “Coalition Focus on Clearing Mosul Terrorist Networks. One Terrorist Killed.” February 11. 26 Detained. Aswat al-Iraq. 2008. March 3.” February 8. Rear Admiral Greg Smith. March 2. March 5.” March 2.” February 11. Major General Kevin J. One Terrorist Killed. April 16.” Translated from Arabic. Seven Detained. Operational Briefing. 2008. “Coalition Forces Targets al-Qaeda Networks in Northern Iraq. 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 February 20. Five Killed. Associate Killed in Mosul Raid. Five Detained. 2008. 2008. February 9. March 2.S.” February 23. January 25. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080223c. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080207c. Rear Admiral Greg Smith. Says. Operational Briefing. 2008. “Iraq Announces Major Offensive in Mosul. 2008. Six Others Detained. Department of Defense Bloggers Roundtable. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080217e. 16 Detained. “Coalition Captures Three Wanted Suspects. 12 Detained. February 9. “Coalition Disrupts Suicide Bombing Cell. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080211b. Multi-National Division – North PAO Press Release 20080211-03. Operational Briefing. General David Petraeus as quoted in Jim Garamone.” March 9. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080221a. 20 Suspects Detained. “General Petraeus Describes Factors Affecting Iraq Assessment.” February 11. Bergner. 2008. “Militants Getting Share of Iraq Kickbacks. MultiNational Force – Iraq Press Release A080214a. Five Terrorists Killed. “Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces Clear Way for New Combat Outpost. “Iraqi Army. 2008. Commanders Point to Evidence Page  • March 003 . Joshua Partlow and Ann Scott Tyson. One Killed. 14 Detained. 2008. Aswat al-Iraq.” March 3. Operational Briefing. 2008. 2008. 2008. Operational Briefing. March 3. “Coalition Forces Target al-Qaeda Networks. Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release A080302b. 10 Suspects Detained. 2008. 2008. 2008. 19 Other Suspects Detained. 2008. “Coalition Targets al-Qaeda in Northern Iraq. 2008. Bergner. 11 Suspects Detained. 2008.” American Forces Press Service.

“Mosul Girds for Battle. Brigadier General Raymond A. 2007.S. 2008. February 18. 14 140 Aswat al-Iraq. 137 Sam Dagher. Richard Tomkins. 2008. 2008. Operational Briefing.” NewYork Times. “Prime Minister Says Government Resolved to Boost Security in Ninawa. February 27. February 19. 2008. 134 Solomon Moore. 2008.” Kurdish Globe.” Translated from Arabic. February 20. 133 Richard Tomkins. Major General Mark Hertling. 143 Khidhr Domle. 2008.” Middle East Times. 2008. February 19. 2-3. Civilian Defense Experts Conference Call.” Translation from Arabic. March 20. 2008. January 30. Paley. “Mosul Girds for Battle. February 19. 132 Sam Dagher. 139 Major General al-Askari. “In Mosul. Political-Security Update. Amit R. March 2. Sees Long Fight to Oust Al Qaeda in Mosul. Rutherford. Major General Kevin Bergner. Operational Briefing. March 12. 2008. Sees Long Fight to Oust Al Qaeda in Mosul.” Christian Science Monitor.A P U B l i c At i o n o f t h e in s t i tU t e f o r t h e s tU dy o f WA r An d W E E K LYS TA N D A R D. “U.” Multi-National Force – Iraq Feature Story. 5. “Iraqi Police Find Five Bodies in Baghdad. 2008. November 20. 2008. Trench to be Dug Around Mosul Next Year. Rear Admiral Greg Smith. “Mosul Girds for Battle. 142 Al-Sharqiyah TV. “Mosul Security Plan Almost Operational.” Translated from Arabic by BBC Monitoring Middle East. “Fight for North Iraq Will Be Long. Richard Tomkins. 2008. Thomas.2008). December 5. January 30. New Test of Iraqi Army. February 13.S.S. Spc. December 19. 2008. New Test of Iraqi Army. 8 (February 27. Sees Long Fight to Oust Al Qaeda in Mosul. 141 Sam Dagher. 138 Solomon Moore. 2008. U. March 2. Operational Briefing. 2008. “US and Iraqi Troops Begin Final Offensive on al-Qaeda’s Last Stronghold in Iraq. “General: Iraq al-Qaeda Fight to Take Months. Insurgents Seek Hub in North. Lieutenant Colonel Michael Simmering (3rd ACR) as quoted in Damien McElroy. CO M 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128 129 of Mafia-Style Operations that have Kept Rebels Well Funded. 2008.” Daily Telegraph. “Islamic State of Iraq Gives Advice on Infiltration Routes Into Iraq. 2008.” Terrorism Focus. 2008. Abdul Hameed Bakier. “Iraqis Joining Insurgency Less for Cause Than Cash. March 12. Operational Briefing. 135 Ibid. Page 8 • March 003 . No.” Middle East Times. 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment. 2008. 2008. December 8. Gordon.” Los Angeles Times.” Christian Science Monitor. Hurst. 2008. Thomas. February 19. “In Mosul.March 008 . March 11. “U. 130 Bradley Brooks and Steven R.” March 4.” Middle East Times. 136 Aswat al-Iraq. Operational Briefing. 2008. February 13.” NewYork Times. March 20. February 21. Civilian Defense Experts Conference Call. 131 Associated Press. p. April 4.” NewYork Times.” Middle East Times.S. March 12. 2008. Commander Says. Eric A. “Tiger Sinks Its Teeth Into Ninewa. 2008.” Associated Press. Richard Tomkins. “Iraq’s 2nd Division Leads Mosul Campaign. October 26. p. Michael R. Vol. “U. “Pushed Out of Baghdad Area. Rear Admiral Greg Smith. Brigadier General Raymond A.” Washington Post.” Christian Science Monitor. 2007.