Thursday, December 04, 2014

Jordan Prepares to Step Up

I've long pined for a Jordanian contingent to spearhead an assault into Anbar from the West. It looks like the Jordanians will play ball.


The Republican lawmaker said Abdullah spoke emphatically about the need for the fight against ISIS to be led in the region by Arab and Muslim nations, and suggested that Jordan could provide boots on the ground against ISIS.

"The Jordanians have provided air support, and they provided some assistance, but no boots directly on the ground, but I think that's the next discussion that has to take place with the United States and the coalition forces, is what is the effort on the ground look like there?" he said.

Nothing speaks of the location, but it makes no sense to pay to transport Jordanian equipment to central Iraq. So I assume this is a drive from Jordan into western Anbar for as far an advance east as we can arrange logistics.

Depending on the level of Anbar Sunni Arab support, anything from a single Jordanian mechanized brigade to a multi-brigade division could be decisive.

Place that alongside our training plans and you have an outline of an assault on ISIL that matches my predictions:

The United States is setting up four training camps for Iraq's 80,000-strong armed forces - two around Baghdad, one in the Kurdish city of Arbil and the fourth in Anbar.

The article also states that the Kurds would have 15,000 troops trained up, as I assumed from the brigade count.

This makes for a Kurdish drive on Mosul spearheaded by one division; an Iraqi drive north from around Baghdad spearheaded by two divisions to link up with the Kurdish effort; and an Anbar effort of an Iraqi division to work with the Jordanian effort from the other side.

This can work, assuming we have somebody on the ground to coordinate air strikes for ground support missions and assuming we stick with this long enough to win.

And surely we wouldn't be dumb enough to leave Iraq again after we defeat ISIL in Iraq. Right?

UPDATE: Oh yeah, it sounds like Jordan will be in the fight:

Abdullah has absorbed into his country some 1.5 million refugees from Syria's civil war. To continue to deal with the challenge, Obama pledged $1 billion in aid and a new loan guarantee to help Jordan.

Abdullah, in an interview on CBS' "This Morning" that aired Friday, described the fight against Islamic State as akin to a third world war.

"We have to stand up and say, 'This is the line that is drawn in the sand,'" he said. "It's clearly a fight between good and evil."

That seems pretty committed.

But let's not hear of a coalition of the bribed. Diplomacy is what it is.

UPDATE: It will be interesting to see how Jordanian troops perform. They have a good reputation, but they haven't seen combat since the 1973 war, when they sent a brigade to help Syria fight Israel.