Even though the US election is extremely important I cannot in good conscience ignore the rest of the world…..especially the war in Iraq and the battle for the hearts and minds of Mosul……
The battle for Mosul is in full swing and some are even calling it the end game for ISIS. I do not know it I would go that far…..but it is an extremely important battle for the future of Iraq is at stake…..
Analysis: What happens in Mosul could determine the future direction of the country.
The battle for Mosul is intensifying as Iraqi government forces and Kurdish troops edge closer towards the country’s second-largest city. According to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) interior ministry, the Iraqi army is only five kilometres from Mosul – and they could be even closer.
Several towns and villages have recently been cleared, including the predominantly Christian towns of Bartellah and Qaraqoush, southeast of Mosul. Fierce battles are raging on multiple fronts.
But fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) are hitting back hard. ISIL fighters have slowed down the advancing forces by waging waves of coordinated suicide car-bomb attacks, deploying tens of snipers and relying on a network of trenches and tunnels.
Will an Iraqi win amplify the internal problems of the country? A question few are asking….at least in public…….
Last week the Iraqi government in Baghdad claimed that Turkey had violated its sovereignty by deploying troops and tanks to the town of Bashiqa, north of Mosul. Turkey has stated that this deployment is part of a previously agreed plan to train Iraqi Kurdish forces to combat ISIL. Some Iraqi officials in the central government deemed it a Turkish “invasion”.
The deployment, which had the blessing of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq, but resulted in condemnation from the central Iraqi government in Baghdad, is symptomatic of the schizophrenic foreign policy of post-2003 Iraq, compounded by a complete reversal of a Turkish policy of allying with Iraq’s Kurds against Turkey’s own Kurds.
Granted the complexion of Iraq could change after this battle is won….but will it be the beginning of the end?
Conventional military doctrine cautions against urban operations. Typically they require huge numbers of troops, are painstakingly slow and result in high levels of casualties particularly among the civilian population.
Yet, the Iraqi government is not fighting a conventional war and, as it prepares to wrest back control of Mosul from ISIL, it will be engaged in a battle where the tactics of each side will be determined by their long-term strategies.
For the Iraqi security forces (ISF) not only do they need to dislodge a brutal and – at times – literally suicidal opponent, but they need to retake the city in a way that facilitates Baghdad’s future rule over the Sunni minority population and the encroaching ambitions of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG).
The fixation on the defeat of ISIS is honorable….but someone needs to be paying attention to the consequences that could present themselves……let us not forget what happen in Afghanistan in the 1990’s…..the wrong foot could turn a small problem into a bigger one and a more dangerous one…..