US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter held talks in Baghdad on Sunday to discuss the coming stages of the offensive to retake the city of Mosul from the Islamic State jihadist group. ...
US forces are stationed in Qayyarah, the main staging base for the southern front of the Mosul offensive that was launched on October 17, as well as in the autonomous Kurdish region.
Yes, US forces--including some artillery and attack helicopter units--are in Qayyarah to provide a logistics base for the Iraqi forces south of Mosul, which apparently haven't done anything at all in regard to Mosul during this offensive that kicked off in mid-October.
Instead, there has been a high-profile attack by the Counter-Terrorism Service forces leading the attack on eastern Mosul on the eastern bank of the Tigris River.
I just don't believe that this offensive is going to continue into western Mosul via an amphibious assault across the river (because the four bridges capable of handling heavy vehicles are disabled).
Is Carter in Baghdad to sign off on the participation of American ground forces in the long-anticipated (by me) Iraqi offensive from the southwest into western Mosul?
UPDATE: Oh, and the very visible Iraqi order for 3 brigades of police from the southern forces to go to eastern Mosul that I mentioned earlier fits into this notion by taking away forces not suited to the assault wave into western Mosul and reinforcing the ISIL notion that east Mosul is the main effort.
UPDATE: ISIL! Yoo-hoo!! Look over here!
Several thousand Iraqi federal police are ready to join the assault against Islamic State in east Mosul, a spokesman said on Monday, reinforcing troops who have faced weeks of fierce counter-attacks from the militants. ...
For weeks, commanders have talked about opening a new front in southwest Mosul to stretch Islamic State defences. But the despatch of the units to the southeast may delay that plan.
If I was Lord of the Offensive, that's the story I'd be putting out, no doubt.
UPDATE: Strategypage has more. The Iraqis have suffered a bit more than ISIL in casualties, in part because Iraqi militias are part of the assault force in east Mosul. I did not know that the militias had any role at all.
UPDATE: Oh come on! On December 15th the British hosted Defense Secretary Carter and 12 other defense ministers to review the Mosul operation.
Surely there is enough seniority in London to sign off on supporting a southwest Iraqi offensive into the west side of Mosul. I can't be the only one who would do that if Lord of the Offensive, can I be?