Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Mosul Offensive Resumes

With all of the bridges across the Tigris River down (as I note in an update here), Iraqi forces are advancing along three routes against ISIL forces in eastern Mosul. Just what are the troops south of Mosul doing?

The Iraqi offensive has resumed in eastern Mosul:

"At 0700 this morning the three fronts began advancing towards the city centre. The operation is ongoing today and tomorrow and until we liberate the eastern side of the city completely," Lieutenant General Ali Freiji, who was overseeing army operations in the north, told Reuters.

If I was Lord of the Mosul Offensive, this would be the effort to pin the ISIL forces in place in eastern Mosul before launching the main effort into western Mosul from the southwest.

I am not Lord of the Mosul Offensive, of course.

UPDATE: Here's a map of the front as the offensive resumes:

So the Iraqis have a forward salient aimed right at the center of western Mosul, yet the main effort is in the east? I don't think so.

The article also reports this:

“We are facing a very limited resistance compared to the early days of the operation,” [Brig. Gen. Walid Khalifa, deputy commander of the 9th Iraqi Army Division] said. “The enemy is collapsing, and it’s only a matter of days to control the whole eastern part.”

Is resistance light because it is feeble? Is ISIL just sucking the advance into kill zones behind the thin front?

Or did ISIL withdraw forces to the west side of the Tigris River to make a stand in western Mosul? Is that why the last bridge was finally taken out?

Or was the bridge taken out to trap ISIL in the east when the offensive into western Mosul kicks off?

I just don't believe the early message that the eastern offensive is the main effort that will eventually launch a river-crossing operation to enter western Mosul.

UPDATE: Could Iraq have used the 2-week lull to move some of the Counter Terrorism Service units to the south and west?

UPDATE: Resistance in the east is still tough, those Iraqis fighting in the southeast report.  Iraqi forces to the north are active. The southern forces are conspicuously absent in the reporting other than saying they were slow and had "stagnated."