Thursday, February 18, 2016

Iraq says moving troops, preparing offensive to retake Mosul -Rueters

Iraq's military said on Friday it was mobilizing troops to prepare for an offensive the government has pledged to launch this year to retake the northern city of Mosul from Islamic State.
Hundreds of forces from the army's 15th division reached Makhmour base, 70 km (45 miles) south of Mosul, and more forces, including Sunni Muslim tribal fighters, were expected to arrive in coming days, said Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the joint operations command.
Defense Minister Khaled al-Obaidi told Reuters last month that Iraq would launch the Mosul operation in the first half of the year and Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said 2016 would see the "final victory" against the militants.
Some U.S. officials have endorsed that assessment, but a top U.S. intelligence officer told Congress this week any operation to retake Mosul would be long and complex and unlikely to finish this year....

-bth: so if you look at this post and the prior post from the Peshmerga perspective, one could draw a few conclusions. First, Peshmerga are going to want $1 billion USD to complete this task in addition to weapons.  Second, by Iraqi government estimate the earliest attempt on Mosul will be in June and more likely toward the end of 2016 after other preliminary battles are fought - Fallujah, Haditha, Hit and so on. Third, somewhere in this equation the 101st Airborne shows up in support - probably helicopter - and probably coordinating with the Kurds and their Sunni Arab tribal allies.  Does the Russian/Syrian success in Syria set up this time schedule?  I think so.

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