Monday, July 13, 2015

The Big Push?

As I thought, Iraqi talk about an imminent offensive on Mosul was just talk as the more endangered Anbar front gets the attention:

Iraqi troops and Shi'ite Muslim militia forces attacked Islamic State fighters on several fronts in the country's largest province on Monday, saying the battle to drive the hardline militants out of Anbar was under way.

We'll see if this works. Has Iraq cleaned up their leadership enough? Are any Western-trained Iraqi forces involved? And will American aircraft provide close air support rather than carry out a vaguely concurrent air campaign?

UPDATE: Early reports suggest concurrent:

"Near Ramadi, 29 air strikes struck 67 ISIL staging areas destroying two ISIL excavators, an ISIL armoured personnel carrier, and an ISIL vehicle," the US statement said, using another acronym for IS. 
The strikes were conducted on Sunday, on the eve of a fresh ground operation launched by Iraqi forces to tighten the noose on IS in its bastions of Ramadi and Fallujah, Anbar's two main cities.
As the article notes, that's a lot for us these days. But we struck before the ground attacks.

So no close air support. Parallel campaign.