"Today, our troops started moving toward Mosul ... and the fight there will be decisive," said Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, as thousands of Iraqi troops moved towards northern Iraq in a bid to eradicate al-Qaeda and its insurgent allies.
While most of Iraq is now secure, much of northern Iraq is controlled by al-Qaeda and former Ba'athist forces. Iraq's third-largest city, Mosul, was rocked by explosions two days ago, as Iraqi forces detonating a roadside bomb there unknowingly set off explosives in a bomb-building factory nearby. Mosul is, as U.S. officials point out, one of the few places in Iraq where al-Qaeda can still operate freely.
The fact that al-Qaeda and its allies are boxed up in Mosul is a testament to the success of The Surge elsewhere in Iraq. Al-Qaeda has nowhere else to go in urban Iraq save Mosul, Kirkuk and a scan few other places in Iraq. This is due to the widespread cooperation with the U.S. among the populace, the vastly improved Iraq security forces, and the deep revulsion for al-Qaeda even among devout Sunnis. This Iraqi surge is now possible because Iraq military units can be safely removed now from places such as Anbar Province and Baghdad.
This is the end of the end for al-Qaeda in Iraq.