Well, more info indeed has been pouring out, and it mostly seems good. As I noted last time, I won’t be running news updates. Everyone else is doing a fine job.
No, my primary function tonight will be to point out where I was wrong in my previous post. From what we’re seeing and hearing, no major crossing occurred at the Euphrates. Instead, as others predicted, the river is being used as a barrier to prevent the maneuver and escape of enemy fighters.
One speculation of mine that does seem to have come to pass is the use of the main east-west highway through the city, Highway 10, as another barrier. Although there don’t seem to be many details available yet, we must have moved significant forces through the southern sections of the city to hold the areas below the highway.
Also, it looks like some of the forces that reached the highway from the north drove straight down the major street that splits the Jolan district from the Askari district.
It’s not clear how secure those respective neighborhoods are, and I’m not buying this talk of 70% control one single bit. We may have moved units through 70% of the city, but moving through is not controlling. I expect the major fighting to go on for a couple more days and mop-up operations to continue for at least a couple of weeks. If not more.
So MO’s updated map looks like this:
It seems like we’ve cut the enemy in two and are compressing them back against the highway. I lightened the blue arrows (southern force) as I really don’t have any idea how significant the units are. It could be mostly cavalry and light units with a ton of air and artillery support called in on enemy forces as they try to cross the highway. Or it could be serious combat units spoiling for a melee. My guess would be the former.
As for the “hostage slaughterhouses” we’ve taken, it’s definitely gratifying. But any building anywhere could be turned into a hostage slaughterhouse by bringing in hostages. This isn’t same as destroying training camps or arms caches. There is almost no direct tangible value to holding these sites, other than the intelligence that they may contain. That, of course, could be significant. But taking the buildings won’t slow down the slaughter.
If you’re as disgusted with my pathetic attempts to analyze this battle as I am, check out the Winds of Change Special Report in addition to the excellent sources I linked to last time.
UPDATE: Following my own advice, I just checked out ACE. I was also wrong about the value of the slaughterhouses. Apparently, a still-living Iraqi was rescued from one of them. I’d call that a direct tangible benefit. I imagine the Iraqi would agree with me.