Friday, September 09, 2016

Something Will Happen in Iraq in October. Who Will Have the Initiative is Unclear

Well, the long-telegraphed offensive to take Mosul from ISIL appears to be ready to go. Let's hope ISIL or Iran didn't use the time it has taken to set up the perfect killing blow to derail the offensive.

So October it is?

The troops have been sent into Iraq to assist Iraqi forces consolidating south of Mosul in what is known as the launchpad for the allied operation in the city of Qayyarah, defense officials said on Thursday. There now are more than 5,000 U.S. military personnel in the country.

I don't think ISIL's long-battered and long-retreating fighters are up to a fight to the death for Mosul.

And I don't think Iran is happy about the prospect of an American-backed offensive defeating ISIL. Until Iran has more control in Iraq, ISIL is too convenient for Iran.

All along I've worried about taking so damn long to go on the offensive in Iraq against a much smaller enemy. I've worried that our enemies could use that time to do something to derail us.

Could ISIL blow that shaky dam that hangs like a Sword of Damocles over Baghdad?

Could Iran give the green light for Sadr's thugs to stage an uprising (see the update) against the Iraqi government--perhaps as the invasion force is hip-deep in ISIL fighters?

Either would cancel the offensive as the government needs every troop for either relief operations or defense of the government back in Baghdad.

I'm just saying my pucker factor is going to be at elevated levels for the next several weeks.

And that's separate from my other worries in Ukraine and the South China Sea.

Oh, and Afghanistan (I'm so old I remember when it was the "good war.")

I'm reasonably sure that the tide of war isn't receding. I worry that the tide of success is going out fast, however.