What’s going on in northern Iraq? I realize we were screwed when Turkey wouldn’t let us send the 4th ID through, but is there really nothing happening up there? A few missile attacks, a few Special Forces on the ground, and nothing more? I would have thought we’d get a force of some sort up there, like either the 173rd or 82nd airborne. Not enough to seriously threaten Baghdad, but enough to make the Iraqis watch their back. Now we’re waiting for the ships to transfer to Kuwait and offload the equipment before the 4th ID can join the fight. Two or three weeks, at least. Why didn’t they shift three weeks ago when it began to look like we wouldn’t get access? They could have followed 3rd ID, and passed through them now to attack Baghdad with a fresh division, and allow 3rd ID to secure the supply lines.
And what about out west? When we took those H2 and H3 airbases, I thought for sure that there’d be some MAJOR development out there. Maybe an air assault by the 101st. But not much has been reported out there, either. Maybe they are just SCUD hunting out there?
The big battle south of Baghdad hasn’t started yet, but the opponents seem to be feeling each other out. We apparently slaughtered a mixed force of RG and irregulars, but we lost two tanks to missiles. Some reports indicate that the Republican Guard may be shifting to fight the Marines instead of the 3rd ID. It seems to me that moving in the open away from Baghdad is basically a suicide mission, especially if the sand storms let up as predicted. But who knows? Those Marines are probably tired, but if they’re given a chance to fight a stand-up battle, I imagine they’re going to really let loose.
Could it be that we’ve got something special going on? Or are we really overextended and under-armored? Again, we don’t know what’s really going on. And although it feels frustrating, that’s a good thing.
Update 21:36 26 Mar 2003
Here’s a Reuters article along these lines. It goes on about the focus being on the south while the north and west are largely ignored. (Although this is changing with the 173rd arriving in the north and the possibility of Marines in Jordan.) It closes with:
Reuters reporters with the 3rd Infantry Division have been told for days their objective is the Medina Division around Najaf and Kerbala, while the 1st Marine Division is to engage the Baghdad Division in an arc south of the capital.
But the U.S. 101st Airborne is still waiting in Kuwait.
The Screaming Eagles usually make a splash when they arrive.