Thursday, February 18, 2016

Iraqi army not ready for Mosul offensive: Peshmerga Ministry - Rudaw

... It is expected the battle for Mosul will happen by the end of 2016. "Unless Mosul is liberated, no stability will exist in Iraq," Yawar claimed.

But Iraq’s Defense Minister, Khalid Al-Obeidi, claimed on Friday that a timeframe for the battle for Mosul has been set for June 2016, with the participation of various well-trained forces.

"The Iraqi defense ministry has laid security plans to launch the Mosul liberation operations from Daesh [ISIS] militants," Obeidi revealed to reporters during a visit to Cairo.

The Kurdistan Regional Government is eager to see the Mosul offensive take place as soon as possible because "the defeat of ISIS in Mosul is of great importance for the Kurdistan region and they have continually been posing threats to the region over the last two years as it is a neighboring city with Kurdistan," stated Yawar.

The Chief of Staff also raised the issue of the needs of the Peshmerga on the battlefield.

The international community has supplied the Peshmerga with weapons and ammunition. “But,” Yawar asserted, “it is not enough when it comes to fighting a group seizing large amounts of weapons from five divisions of the Iraqi army and innumerable weapons in Syria."

When asked what are the important things the Peshmerga need and the KRG is incapable to provide but which the international community can, Yawar answered, "In the past we have received weapons and ammunition, but they are not sophisticated enough to repulse massive offensives."

He continued, "We need brand new weapons, we need outfits for the Peshmerga. The Peshmerga need food, medical care, fuel, bomb detection tools."

Yawar pointed out that, "The most important thing we need for the Peshmerga is a budget. As you know we are hard hit by the economic crisis."

He explained: "A record number of 169,000 Peshmerga are on the frontlines. We need an amount of $81 million per month for our forces."

Yawar did not deny that warplanes from the US-led coalition have played a decisive role in striking ISIS positions and weaponry bases and repulsing the group's assaults against the Peshmerga frontlines.

For the Kurdistan region, Yawar believes such a battle against a large terrorist group is something new as "It is the first time we have faced such a battle."

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