Saturday, October 29, 2016

Unclear on the Concept

ISIL was thwarted in their effort to hit Ramadi. Which highlights the absolute failure of their "diversionary" or "spoiling" attacks in response to Iraq's Mosul offensive.


Iraqi officials said Saturday that the security forces foiled an attack by jihadists of the Islamic State group on the city of Ramadi, capital of the western province of Anbar.

The reported thwarted attack led to 11 arrests and comes after a string of diversionary attacks by the jihadists since the start two weeks ago of a massive offensive against IS bastion Mosul.

When faced with an enemy attack (or when attacking an enemy, for that matter), it can be helpful to make attacks away from the main effort to either divert enemy troops from the main front (a diversionary attack) or to screw up enemy preparations for action on the main front (a spoiling attack).

ISIL's attacks have achieved neither. The Iraqi Mosul offensive is rolling along on a broad front as Iraqi units maintain a solid front line to deny ISIL opportunities to strike at gaps between Iraqi units as they push forward.

The ISIL attacks away from the Mosul front have simply engaged Iraqi security forces completely unconnected to the Mosul offensive and so have not affected the Mosul offensive by either diverting Iraqi forces from the main effort or spoiling Iraqi plans to push toward Mosul.

Well, and the attacks have upped the body count of Iraq War 2.0. Which in some ways is a jihadi objective all by itself.

UPDATE: Only a man-made flood of Biblical proportions or a pro-Iran Sadrist coup in Baghdad could derail the steamroller approaching Mosul at this point.

UPDATE: I wouldn't call Iraq's post-caliphate situation "grim." But there are challenges. And if we remain in Iraq after Iraq War 2.0 to provide a safety net to assure factions in Iraq that they do not have to resort for force in order to safeguard their faction's fortunes and very lives, Iraq has a chance to prosper.

Our presence can also alert us to problems long before they get to the point where a large fraction of the Iraqi army becomes combat ineffective because of politics and unable to fight terrorism.

And if we stay long enough, we can get Iraq moving forward on rule of law and real democracy.

That's how you responsibly end a war and not just skedaddle to await Iraq War 3.0.

And I can't emphasize this enough: let's not get ahead of ourselves. Focus on defeating ISIL on the roads to and in Mosul, and killing as many of them as we can in the pursuit phase.