Thursday, January 24, 2008
but listen, we the Re-Up Gang, we ain't the norm:
In Mosul, the insurgents kill the city's police commander as part of a double-bombing campaign at a ... building. At least 36 people are dead. Why isn't what happened clearer?
The Iraqi government took steps Wednesday to limit information about the building blast, according to Iraqi military officials in Mosul. An order from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office and the Defense Ministry prohibited Iraqi officers from discussing the incident with reporters, the officials said. The attack also took down cellphone towers, making communications difficult within the city.

Not that they just played into the insurgents' hands or anything. In March, Col. Steph Twitty, commander of the 4th Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division in the city, told me one of the reasons Mosul was relatively calm was because of the excellence of Ninewah Province's two excellent Iraqi Army divisions and the city's excellent police force. Now the insurgency has killed that force's commander. And it appears the U.S. response, at least in part, is denial:

Other U.S. officers, however, dispute the notion that Mosul is becoming overrun by fighters of the insurgent group al-Qaeda in Iraq. Maj. Gary Dangerfield, spokesman for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment in Nineveh province, said it would be a "major misnomer" to call Mosul a hotbed for insurgents.

"It has its share of attacks," he said. "We remain pretty confident in the Iraqi security forces' ability to handle the attacks that do occur. If Iraq was safe, we wouldn't be here, but Mosul is not falling, as some would say it is."

The Washington Post also reports that a math professor at Mosul University was executed in his car, along with his two children.
--Spencer Ackerman