This just in from the Institute for War and Peace Reporting:
MOSUL BID TO KEEP INSURGENTS AT BAY
Moat-like trench around the northern city is intended to keep out the insurgents.
By Shareef Haza'a and Wa'ad Ibraheem in
New security measures intended to frustrate insurgents' efforts to create mayhem in the city have failed to win over local residents.
The measures - surrounding
Mosul with a moat-like ditch and ordering taxi drivers to take the trunk lids off their vehicles - are aimed to prevent militants bringing in car bombs and other weapons and kidnapping locals.
In recent months, the insurgents have been stepping up their activities in the area, with around 30 car-bomb attacks per week, according to the US Defence Department.
Local officials say the ditch will be 55 km-long and several metres wide, with 12 crossing points manned by Iraqi security forces.
Mosul deputy governor Khesrew Goran said he was confident the measures - which have the backing of the American military - will thwart the infiltrators, "It's a correct plan and it will be successful."
While local officials are optimistic about the prospects of the ditch and the trunk-lid ban stopping attacks,
Mosul residents say they are less sure.
Engineer Emad Tawfeeq was sceptical that the trench would stop insurgents.
"It's like the old tactic of fortifying cities, but there's no guarantee that [
Mosul] will not be penetrated one way or another," he said.
Mohammed al-Mosuli, a
Mosul resident and sociology professor at Sulaimaniyah
University, agreed. "We are not in the middle-ages and
Mosul is not a small castle to be surrounded by a ditch," he said.
I wish them luck, honestly. But I can't say my expectations are too high. For one thing, recall what Anthony Cordesman concluded recently in his big Iraq survey:
Dual loyalty and HUMINT penetration of Iraqi security and military forces may be the rule, rather than the exception.
Unfortunately, that jibes with the latest from Iraq. Not the hostage rescue, but this:
[A] suicide bomber wearing an Iraqi Army uniform detonated a bodybelt bomb in a canteen at an Iraqi Army base at Khalis, a market town between the Tigris and Diyala rivers about 40 miles north of Baghdad.