Thursday, February 09, 2017

Paradise Beckons

The final battle for Mosul looms, as ISIL digs in to western Mosul where a number of nearly leaderless foreign jihadis, who are a subset of the ISIL cannon fodder, prepare to collect their virgins in the afterlife. Where will the main Iraqi offensive kick off from?

This boggles my mind:

The offensive will resume in about a week or so with troops crossing the river in boats (or helicopters) to establish an enclave on the west bank so combat engineers to create temporary bridges over the Tigris.

Iraq's army has a tradition of being good engineers, which they displayed in the Iran-Iraq War. So the Iraqis can certainly bridge the Tigris River that splits Mosul.

But why make an opposed river crossing the main effort to enter Mosul when a large force has advanced south of Mosul on the west side of the rive and which has an American-organized logistics and fire support base backing them up?

Well, there is this too further down in the post about that Iraqi concentration of forces:

Troops south of Mosul have been reinforced by units equipped with tanks and other armored vehicles.

Does this latter fact telegraph that Iraq truly will finally unleash the southwest hounds to finish off ISIL holding in western Mosul?

In this scenario, the river assault is a diversionary attack while the main effort strikes from the south and west.

I'd like to know where the bulk of Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service is. The CTS spearheaded the battle on the eastern bank of Mosul. It hasn't been seen in the east lately as far as I can tell. Is it south and west of Mosul now?

I also expect the Iraqis to use a helicopter assault into a Al-Idara Al-Mahalia Stadium airhead in western Mosul (as I discuss in the "hounds" post above)  to support the main effort and potentially split apart the ISIL defenders by linking the river assault operation and the main effort in the southwest.