Mosul offensive folds, waiting now for Trump


The failure of the US-backed Iraqi army offensive to liberate Mosul – nine weeks after it began – could no longer be denied when a delegation of ISIS chiefs arrived there Sunday, Dec. 4, traveling unhindered from Raqqa, Syria.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that they arrived to discuss how to synchronize the operations of the two jihadist strongholds, after the Islamist leaders occupying Mosul changed course about leaving the city and decided to stay put.

This decision followed their assessment that the Iraqi army and its American backers were incapable of bringing their offensive to a successful conclusion. It was also evident in Washington that the US commanders in the field would not be able to meet Barack Obama’s presidential directive to capture Mosul by the end of December, so that he could exit the White House next month with a successful Mosul campaign behind him.

Altogether 54,000 Iraqi troops and 5,000 US servicemen – supported by 90 warplanes and 150 heavy artillery pieces – were invested in the Mosul campaign when it was launched in October. They proved unable to beat 9,000 jihadists.

Iraqi forces have gained no more than one-tenth of the territory assigned them. This lack of progress has damped their initial impetus and sapped their morale. While Baghdad keeps on pumping out reports of good progress and new fronts opening up, the Iraqi army has come to a virtual standstill and does nothing more than exchange fire with ISIS fighters.

The first sign that ISIS had reversed its tactics and decided to hold out against the Iraqi assault came in the form of a slickly-produced video released by the jihadists on Dec. 27 to display their defenses inside Mosul. It showed commando units in battle formation, sniper positions in place, bomb cars parked at key points and well-barricaded streets. In the terrain from which they pulled back, they had strewn shells and rockets loaded with poisonous chemicals as a warning message to Iraqi troops that they would storm the city at their peril.

Our sources report meanwhile that some of the ISIS fighters who quit Mosul in the early stage of the Iraqi offensive are turning back, along with some of the administration officials.

The Kurdish Peshmerga, which three weeks ago turned their backs on the campaign, now realize they will have to live with ISIS as a dangerous next-door neighbor, after all. They are bending their energies to establishing a strong line of defense against Mosul, to secure their capital Irbil and other towns of the semiautonomous Kurdish Republic of Iraq.

Aware of the crisis on the Mosul front, the Pentagon has drawn up plans for sending out US reinforcements in the hope of turning the tide of the stalled battle. Those plans repose in their pending trays to await the decisions of the incoming US President Donald Trump and the new Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis.

December 6, 2016 | 5 Comments »

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  1. We never lost a war before the crazy concept of negotiating with the enemy took hold. Apart from time and place for prisoner exchanges, what’s there to talk about? Nixon, too. Of course, Obama. Begin, Sharon, Netanyahu, Rabin. They were all overwhelmingly voted in over opponents who wanted to sue for peace. But, they all gave away the store. And the crazy idea that it is legal to undermine the morale of the nation and the armed forces in a war in progress through protest. But, we did consolidate power and have the enemy on the run.

  2. Sebastien Zorn Said:

    I will reverse myself here. We are at war here, and Matthis, one of the key architects of the victories in Afghanistan and Iraq is perfect for the job.

    What victories might they be? Americans cannot make an Afghan think like an American, want like an American and live like an American. Many after all remember that at the peak of Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, there were 140,000 Russian troops, 300, 000 Afghan troops with tanks, helicopters and weapons to boot and tens of thousands of civilian advisers in the country who spoke all the native languages. And the Russians just did not kill only as the popular propaganda would have us believe. They built hundreds of clinics, schools, factories, roads and bridges. But in the end they lost. They lost for the single overriding reason that the Soviets failed to make the Afghan people want what the Soviets wanted them to want. Before them the British too had had similar experiences. As a matter of fact, every foreign intruder in the past couple of centuries has lost out in Afghanistan. Why the Americans should be an exception, they ask. You cannot, after all, build a nation out of unwilling disparate tribes and give them institutions they do not want. Period.

  3. I will reverse myself here. We are at war here, and Matthis, one of the key architects of the victories in Afghanistan and Iraq is perfect for the job. Let’s remember that despite superior forces the Union only began to win when McClellan was replaced by Grant. Antietam was basically an accidental win. Great alternative history novel whose prologue explores the ramifications of that battle and what might have happened if it had gone the other way.

    “How Few Remain – Wikipedia
    How Few Remain is a 1997 alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. It is the first part of the Southern Victory Series saga, which depicts a world in which the Confederacy won the American Civil War.
    ?Plot summary · ?Primary characters · ?Aftermath of war”

  4. Trump has amazing presceince.He said already a couple of months ago, when they announced the offensive against Mosul, expecting to take it easily, that it would take them a lot longer than they think, and ISIS would put up a strong opposition.

    He’s shown several similar predictions which turned out exactly as he’s expected, against all the odds.