Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Brief thoughts on timing of Mosul battle, reconstruction governance and US election cycles

This Brookings Institute article from Pollack is worth a read regarding the post battle plan for Mosul, if there is one. Certainly a lot of moving pieces.

My take is that the post battle plan for Mosul is not resolved. My fear is that it could be another 'failure to plan for the victory' scenario for the US like we experienced under Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld in the post invasion world of 2003.

On the other hand it appears that Iraq may be a little better governed that it was in 2014 with some prospect for resolution with the central government, the Kurds and some Sunni Arab tribes post battle.

US military appears to be throttling the pace of events by allocating air power selectively. It is also possible that there isn't enough airpower dedicated to the mission at present which could be a big problem as the battle moves toward the urban area of Mosul.

Also given the timeline relative to the US elections it appears to me that Raqqa is essentially off the table for the Obama administration and it will concentrate its remaining time and resources on the protracted battle in Iraq. Perhaps this is due to the poor relations with Russia in regards to Syria and the uncertainty created by Erdogan in Turkey.

In any event, it may be that the Obama administration has decided that given the timing of events, the issue of post occupation Mosul will be kicked like a can to the new administration.

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