Monday, April 7, 2008

Drawn battle?

In my last post, I listed, as one of the possible outcomes of the assault on Basra was a drawn battle. This is because I am getting conflicting reports. I am reading about how units of the Iraqi army broke up and the assault was a general defeat. I am also reading reports that say the Iraqi army captured a number of smaller cities in southern Iraq as well as the port of Basra. These are very different, so the moderate choice is something near the middle. In other words, a drawn battle. This is misleading.

I am looking for more confirmation on who controls the ports of Basra. I am also looking for more information as to who controls what throughout the southern part of Iraq as well as the overall losses, on both sides. Wartime reporting tends to confirm U.S. and allied losses fairly accurately. Enemy losses tend to be less accurately reported. The information tends to be fragmented. This is one reason why it takes time to assess the results of the battle.

I tend to believe that the Iraqi army fared better than the enemy did simply because of the typical miss-match of forces in any battle that matches a conventional army against irregular units. The Iraqi army has much of our equipment and training, so it would have a decisive advantage in desert warfare. The cities are the only place where irregular units can survive. Without a large amount of outside help, it would APPEAR that the ‘insurgent’ side is at a disadvantage. The Iraqi army control of the countryside should make it difficult to reinforce and supply the ‘insurgents’.

P.S. Please note how the tactical situation in Iraq is opposite from that of the situation in Vietnam. In Iraq today, the U.S. and allied armies control the countryside. The NVA and VC were able to operate in the countryside in Vietnam. In Vietnam, most of the fighting was in the countryside. In Iraq today, most of the fighting is in the cities.

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