Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Operation Overlong

Ten thousand Iraqi troops are reported to be in position to launch attacks into ISIL-held Ramadi:

Iraq forces have surrounded the city of Ramadi and are preparing for a final assault in what will be the first significant test of American-trained forces against the Islamic State, according a senior official with the U.S.-led coalition that is supporting the mission.

Iraqi forces plan to tighten a cordon around the city to cut escape routes before launching a final operation to clear militants out of the city, according to the senior official, who closely monitors the fighting.

So now we truly have a siege.

So much for the war of movement I kept hoping for.

It took us 2-1/2 years to build from virtually scratch an army and air force strong enough to invade the heart of Nazi-held Germany on D-Day, and then drive into Germany to less than a year later.

Of course, we didn't need to waste two years of that preparation time making PowerPoint presentations about Operation Overlord.

Bad things happen when you give an enemy time.

UPDATE: By chance, I ran across this warning post that I wrote less than a week before jihadis swept into Iraq's Anbar province.

We gave our jihadi enemies time by abandoning at the end of 2011 our efforts to completely stomp them down in Iraq.

And by January and June 2014, our jihadi enemies (and Saddam's lads) proved they knew how to use that time.

UPDATE: All right, now I'm angry. I've been writing for well over a year that we need core mobile forces to spearhead advances in Iraq against what are essentially jihadi light infantry.

Yet we plod along at siege warfare speed.

And then the Saudis organize this very concept to reverse the momentum of the civil war in Yemen against the Iran-supported factions:

The impasse in Yemen's conflict appears to have been broken by the deployment of a powerful Emirati armoured formation: a logistical triumph that has helped pro-government forces push out of the southern port city of Aden and capture Al-Anad Air Base 48 km to the northwest. ...

By 3 August the UAE had landed Leclerc tanks, additional BMP-3s (seemingly not carrying any infantry), at least one 155 mm G6 self-propelled howitzer, and Agrab mortar carriers.

Jane's assumes that the UAE deployed a tank brigade.

To be fair, perhaps we're putting the final touches on the PowerPoint presentation to do the same thing.

UPDATE: Amazing what evil you can come up with when you are granted time:

The United States believes Islamic State militants likely used mustard agent in an attack on Kurdish forces in Iraq earlier this week, the first indication the militant group has obtained a banned chemical weapon, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.

The article says that ISIL could have gotten the gas from Syria--because Assad had mustard gas. Or possibly from Iraq.

Iraq? Although everyone says Saddam had no active programs in 2003, Saddam knew how to make poison gas. And Saddam's lads are part of ISIL, as I noted above.

UPDATE: Our military doesn't think it was mustard gas:

The U.S. Department of Defense said it doubted that ISIL is using chemical weapons, especially mustard gas. The story going around was that this chemical weapon was part of some secret supply of mustard gas that the Assad government did not surrender. No one can present any conclusive evidence. The Americans also doubt that ISIL is having any success in manufacturing chemical weapons. What appears to be happening here is that ISIL is creating primitive chemical weapons by filling 120mm mortar shells with potentially lethal industrial chemicals.

So at best the news is unconfirmed.