This note comes from Mosul, where Iraqi and American are engaging in a serious fight with al Qaeda, ISI, JAI, Ansar al Sunna, and other groups, in what many believe will be the last major battle of this war. This amalgam of terrorists, even including a cell of 1920 Revolution Brigades who are unfriendly toward us here (whereas elsewhere the 1920s have joined us in the fight against AQI), is fractured and incoherent. The groups fight among themselves and provide lethal information about each other to Iraqi and US forces.
Ansar al Sunna, for instance, has been selling out al Qaeda. The 1920s have hated AQI since at least 2006, and have been good at killing AQI in Anbar and in Diyala, for instance. Just why these groups are so fractured is not entirely clear, though some reasons are obvious. AQI and 1920s are different sorts of people with differing agendas, and above it all, there is money in Mosul, and so the individual terror groups can fund their own campaigns without overwhelming need to form alliances.
Mosul is not exactly al Qaeda's last stand in Iraq; pockets remain in areas south of Baghdad where AQI is being severely damaged by Iraqis and Americans; Diyala (more of same), Salah ad Dinh (deadly for AQI), and a few other pockets. It is true, however, that Mosul is the last major population center where AQI has any chance whatsoever. READ THE REST