The election has the spotlight but the Iraqi army and its cronies have began the attack on the ISIS stronghold in Mosul…….and so far it is going as well as ca be expected….
Iraq’s special forces fought their way into the outskirts of Mosul on Tuesday, taking its state television building despite resistance by Islamic State group fighters that is only likely to stiffen when combat reaches the inner city, the APreports. It was the first time Iraqi troops have set foot in the city, Iraq’s second-largest, in more than two years. The advance was the start of what is likely to be a grueling and slow operation for the forces as they fend off booby traps and ambushes in difficult, house-to-house fighting expected to take weeks, if not months. Mosul is the last major IS stronghold in Iraq, the city from which it drove out a larger but demoralized Iraqi army in 2014 and declared a “caliphate” that stretched into Syria. Its loss would be a major defeat for the jihadis.
Tuesday’s battle opened with Iraqi artillery, tank, and machine gun fire on IS positions on the edge of Gogjali, with the extremists responding with guided anti-tank missiles and small arms in an attempt to block the advance. Airstrikes by the US-led coalition supporting the operation added to the fire hitting the district. Inside the village of Bazwaya, 3 miles east of Mosul, white flags hung from buildings, put up a day earlier by residents eager to show they would not resist the Iraqi forces’ advance. Some residents stood outside their homes, and children raised their hands with V-for-victory signs.
All seems well and there is even the optimism that after Mosul then on to Raqaa in Syria the capital of the caliphate……and let us hypothesize that Raqaa goes as well as Mosul and the barbaric ISIS meets with doom…..but who will be the spear point in Raqaa?
US military officials say an operation to isolate the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa should get underway within weeks, warning that intelligence shows planning is taking place there for external terror attacks. The officials said the only capable local force to work with in such an operation in the near term is the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). But the officials acknowledged that intense consultations with Turkey in recent days, including a phone call between US President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Oct. 26, had not resolved the matter of Turkey’s intense opposition to using Kurds in any operation to take the IS stronghold in Syria.
Source: Who will liberate Raqqa?
Obama is making U.S. special operators and locals do most of the fighting. When ISIS falls, Iraq and Syria need better leaders to keep this from happening again. So, what’s the plan?
Who will get to Raqqa first? What happens after Mosul falls? And what comes next for Syria and Iraq?
President Barack Obama is on the verge of seeing the central tenet of his Middle East strategy hit on-the-ground reality. After the U.S.special operations war against ISISends – the war thousands of American troops today are leading thousands more Iraqi, Syrian, and Kurdish locals to fight — who does the president think should hold, build, and govern those key cities that U.S. forces soon are expected to help liberate? And who actually will?
(Keep in mind that the above is a pro-war site with very optimistic observations)….
Will this be the end of ISIS?
Most military analysts believe it’s only a matter of time before Mosul falls.
Mosul is Iraq’s third largest city. The Islamic State captured it in June 2014 during a campaign that left it in control of territory the size of the United Kingdom. But on Oct. 16, 2016, a coalition of the Iraqi army, military forces from Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region and paramilitary units, began an attackto recapture the city.
With the downfall of ISIS, will this be the end?
Even as coalition forces mass on the suburbs of Mosul and prepare their assault on the last major ISIS stronghold in Iraq, strategic planners are far from declaring victory. After all, only two years ago the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or ISIL, captured the Middle East and the world by storm when they launched their bold and brutal offensive across broad swathes of Iraq and Syria. Major cities from Ramadi to Aleppo were toppled like dominoes, and for a time even Baghdad appeared vulnerable. Today, as ISIS begrudgingly withdraws from occupied territories, they are re-inventing themselves as a transnational threat, as evidenced by horrific ISIS-affiliated or inspired terror attacks in Brussels, Paris, Jakarta, San Bernardino, and Manhattan. US ground commander Lieutenant General Sean McFarland’s grave warning is already proving prophetic: “Military success in Iraq and Syria will not necessarily mean the end of [ISIS]. We can expect the enemy to adapt, to morph into a true insurgent force and terrorist organization capable of horrific attacks.”
There is more to come than people realize…..but will the world be ready?
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