Monday, August 22, 2016

Signs of Imminent Mosul Assault?

America is preparing to assist an Iraqi offensive to capture Mosul. Are there signs indicating an offensive sooner rather than later at the end of the year?

Our new commander of the war against ISIL is prepared to ramp up our air effort:

The United States will increase the tempo of operations in support of ground forces in Iraq and Syria as they prepare to tackle the Islamic State’s twin capital cities, according to the new commander of the U.S. military operations against the militant group.

Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, who takes command on Sunday of U.S. and allied operations against the Islamic State, said U.S.-backed forces in Iraq and Syria were preparing to move on the Iraqi city of Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa for what he said would be the conclusive urban battles.

Iraqi Kurdish forces are unwilling to slow down their advances near Mosul at the request of the Iraqi government:

The Kurdish government is rejecting calls from the Iraqi government for the Peshmerga to stop advancing towards the city of Mosul in the battle against the Islamic State.

Iraqis can see that ISIL is not fighting hard against the Kurds:

In the north the Kurds have been on the offensive around Mosul and have used their better training and leadership, as well as American air support, to appear unbeatable to many of the ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) fighters facing them. Not only are ISIL defenders being defeated and destroyed, with little visible loss to the Kurds, but details of these defeats have circulated throughout the ISIL forces defending Mosul. This has led to more desertions including leaders of units. This last item requires swift, strong and public response from senior ISIL leadership and that’s what happened. In the last week there have been several public executions of ISIL field commanders who deserted, often while with units under attack by the Kurds.

Why, the Iraqi government may figure, will ISIL fight harder against the Iraqi army?

Why would the government ask the Kurds to slow down unless the Iraqis figured the Kurdish help was not needed at the price of taking ground the government considers Arab land?

There is also this in Syria:

Kurdish fighters on Monday captured the central prison in Hasakeh after fierce clashes with Syrian regime forces and are in control of 90 percent of the northern city, a monitor said.

We would certainly like to stress out ISIL in Syria while the Mosul offensive is conducted to make it tougher for ISIL to even order troops to run our gauntlet to reinforce Mosul.

The Kurdish assault on Syrian government positions in the northeast where we are putting air power into the skies to deter Syrian air strikes could indicate that we paid the price of getting the Syrian Kurds to move on Raqqa in partnership with Syrian Arab rebels we support at their side.

I've been writing for a long time that the time we are taking to prepare to take Mosul is ridiculous. If the offensive truly doesn't begin until the end of this year, that means that we took about as much time following the Pearl Harbor attack to prepare for the Normandy freaking invasion as we are taking to prepare for the liberation of Mosul after its capture by ISIL in June 2014.

And I've been writing all year (and a little earlier) that jihadi morale isn't as fierce as they'd like us to believe.

I sure hope that the assault begins months before the end of this year.

Get on with the offensive. Bad things happen when you give an enemy time.

Cunning bastards that they are, they may annoyingly refuse to patiently await the meticulously planned killing blow.