Voice from the Commonwealth Commentary, World Views and Occasional Rants from a small 'l' libertarian in Massachussetts
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The fighting at Nasiriya seem to be continuing where at least a dozen US soldiers have been missing after the Iraqi army units laid an ambush. Air support by missile and gun firing Cobra helicopters were repeatedly called in to soften the Iraqi positions. CNN television pictures tend to convey the impression that the fighting is located in the outskirts rather than in the central areas of the city.
This is also what seems to be happening in Basra. But this process should not be given any undue weightage since mopping up operations to make even the outskirts secure would go on and fire-fights in the process should be expected. It would not make sense for the Anglo-American forces to occupy these cities till the end of the war itself when collapse may take place because of the disintegration of the centre of gravity in Baghdad. It is the battle for Baghdad that would remain significant in every possible way.
US Central Command’s Deputy Commander has been reported to say that there has been ‘‘no coherent military move’’ by the Iraqi forces since the war started. This reinforces the assessment that Iraqis are likely to concentrate on guerrilla tactics (like the ambush in Nasiriya) and not defend each and every strong point. But they have deployed regular forces in and around cities even in the south.
These would provide the bases from which guerrilla attacks could be launched. Iraqi artillery has been pounding US positions outside Basra and mortar fire at Nasiriya symbolise this strategy where the US retaliation includes the use of accurate aerial firepower the employment of which has been made completely easy by the total air superiority that Anglo-American forces enjoy in Iraq.
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