Friday, December 02, 2016

Converging on Mosul

Iraqi forces are plowing into eastern Mosul in the most visible part of the Iraqi offensive. Is this really the only part of the offensive?

The battle on the east bank of Mosul continues:

Iraqi special forces fighting Islamic State militants on the eastern side of Mosul have retaken 19 neighborhoods from the extremist group since the battle for the city began last month, a senior Iraqi commander said on Wednesday.


We expect tough fighting to continue in the weeks ahead. As the Iraqi security forces and other axes converge on the city, we expect that pressure on ISIL will continue to increase, and their resistance will begin to wane. This is not a race, so patience is required. The protection of civilians continues to be a top priority for the ISF. It's going to take time and a lot of tough fighting, but we're confident of Daesh's defeat in Mosul.

The briefer, British Major General Rupert Jones, had just described the efforts of "Iraqi security forces" in eastern Mosul, so I assume the British general means that Iraqi forces from the south are finally moving within striking distance of the city itself.

Which could mean that a strike from the southwest will attempt to sweep into western Mosul as the ISIL forces are heavily committed to stopping the eastern axis of advance.

I fully realize I'm connecting few and faded dots. But it is what I'd do if Lord of the Mosul Offensive.

UPDATE: Iraqis continue to grind away in eastern Mosul led by the CTS:

Lt. Col. Muhanad al-Tamimi of the special forces told The Associated Press his men were now in full control of the Zohour neighborhood, more than a week after they first entered the district.

He said his men also captured the neighborhood of Qadissiyah-2, bringing to 23 the number of neighborhoods retaken by the special forces in the eastern sector of the city since the campaign to retake Mosul began on Oct. 17.

As the Iraqis worry about casualties and the pace of the offensive, there is a hint that ISIL could be hit from the southwest as ISIL focuses on their eastern front:

Commanders hope that security forces still stationed a few miles south of Mosul will advance soon and open a new front inside the city, with the aim of stretching the militants' defenses more thinly.

The CTS with an assist from elements of Iraq's 9th armored division to their south have grabbed ISIL by the neck in eastern Mosul, with 4 of 5 bridges spanning the Tigris River disabled.

Hell, the jihadis probably think they are kicking ass and taking names in their heroic stand for the caliphate.

This would be a good time for those Iraqi forces to the south of Mosul on the western bank of the Tigris to swing into western Mosul, supported by American artillery and helicopters in addition to air strikes, and kick ISIL in their ass, put them to flight, and kill them from the air and ground as they run.