"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

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Al-Qaida's ISI Reponds to Ongoing Events in Mosul

Counterterrorism Blog reports the NEFA Foundation has released the latest ISI communique. In it, Al Qaeda denies being behind the recent large explosion in Mosul. However, more interesting is this statement.

the battle is now in its final stages, and it will be a energizing victory for the Muslims, Allah willing. The enemy has begun to stagger, and now has reached its final page, so do not let the opportunity to participate in that historic battle pass you by. In the name of Allah, this battle is of critical importance.... and it will collapse the American strategy in Iraq and elsewhere across the fields of jihad in the Muslim world. (emphasis added)

Maliki also called it a decisive battle.

"It is time to launch a decisive battle against terrorism," Maliki said after Saturday's meeting attended by US commander in Iraq General David Petraeus and Iraq's national security advisor Muwaffaq al-Rubaie.

"The battle that our armed forces will launch will destroy terrorism and the criminal gangs and outlaws in Nineveh," he said.

American commanders also believe the battle for Mosul is of strategic importance for the ISI.

"Coalition forces recognise the strategic importance of Mosul to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and our operations will continue in the area," said Commander Scott Rye, a US military spokesman.

"This is not a new plan but part of a larger, comprehensive effort to root out Al-Qaeda and disrupt its networks throughout Iraq... We will continue to coordinate closely with the government of Iraq and Iraqi security forces in our efforts to free all areas of Iraq from Al-Qaeda," Rye told AFP. (emphasis added)

The most interesting point of these quotes is both sides believe this will be the decisive battle. Given recent news reports of how Al Qaeda is on the run and making an apparently last stand in Mosul, I do not believe coalition forces are beginning to stagger as the ISI communique states but it is the ISI itself which is beginning to stagger.

In addition, the the ISI communique clearly lays out the importance of holding out in Mosul if the ISI is to have any possibility of continuing activities in Iraq, noting three times the importance of Mosul, "final stages", "historic battle", "critical importance". While two other references are pointed at Coalition forces ("final page" and "collapse"), it seems the ISI is predicting its own collapse in Iraq if it loses this battle.

What is even more telling is the the last line quoted,

and it will collapse the American strategy in Iraq and elsewhere across the fields of jihad in the Muslim world. (emphasis added)

It seems more realistic to substitute the acronym "ISI" for "American" in this quote. The ISI commander who put this communique believes a loss in Mosul will be a loss for not only Al Qaeda in Iraq, but the entire ISI movement in Iraq and jihadist activities across the world.

Al Qaeda called Iraq its central front in its stuggle to build a caliphate which would eventually encompass the world. While small pockets of Al Qaeda still exist in Iraq, Mosul is the last area where Al Qaeda in Iraq forces have concentrated. Destruction of their forces in Mosul will signal the death of the ISI both as a fighting force and a movement in Iraq. Loss of Mosul will be the final, organized battle for the ISI if it loses (and it surely will lose this battle).

While terrorist attacks will undoubtedly continue for months and possibly years to come, it appears Mosul will be the complete collapse of all organized resistance in Iraq from the ISI perspective. The commander of this communique also believes it will be the complete collapse of jihadist worldwide. Let's hope his predictions are correct in this aspect.

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