first published on October 17, 2016 by Will
The battle for Mosul, Iraq has begun, and it is probably the most important anti Islamic State operation that will take place in Iraq up until this point. Let’s take a few minutes to get brushed up on the significance of Mosul and look at the key players involved.
In 2014 ISIS took Mosul and made it their de facto capital of the nation. If you remember, roughly 800 ISIS fighters sent around 30,000 Iraqi soldiers into retreat or surrender without firing a shot. The “soldiers” that surrendered were lined up and executed by the hundreds.
Multiple factors contributed to the pathetically embarrassing collapse of the Iraqi Army. For starters, it is no secret that Iraqi soldiers are garbage when it comes to actual soldiering. During the entirety of Operation Iraqi Freedom, they repeatedly proved themselves to by lazy, lying, cowards. After nearly a decade of training by the best fighting forces on the planet, the IA were still unable to tie their own boots. They were simply untrainable. That’s not an over exaggeration. Additionally, Mosul is a Sunni majority town with a heavy Kurdish presence. In 2014, the IA was mostly composed of Shia Muslims who saw very little value in risking their lives for a Sunni city. So they gave it up.
Two years later, the fight for Mosul begins in earnest. An estimated 40,000-50,000 personnel will be taking part in the operation. Let’s break those numbers down:
– 2,000 Iraqi Special Forces
– 15,000 Iraqi Soldiers
– 15,000 Kurdish Peshmerga
– ~5,000 Shia milita
– 7,500 Western Coalition troops
– Coalition aircraft: drones, fighters, bombers, fuelers
Based on the information out there, and from what we have gathered from our sources, there are six major fronts, five of which are controlled and operated by various Kurdish units. The operation kicked off with massive shelling into a western district of Mosul on the Khazir front along OIF route ISUZU. The northeastern sector of the city was shelled as well.
The Kurdish units will likely conduct much of the initial fighting on the outskirts of Mosul. Securing important choke points, supply routes, and oil fields. The Iraqi Army and Shia militias will wait until a much tighter cordon of the city is in effect and will then begin the inner city operations.
The elite Kurdish special operations CTG was likely tasked with hitting Hawijja, much further south of Mosul, but an important ISIS command and control front none the less. The CTG will not likely engage in major confrontational battles, and will likely continue to conduct black strike raids on high value targets.
The majority of the current fighting is probably being done by the Kurdish “Partisan” units, who have been successful with battling the Islamic State in recent years, as well as keeping al Qaeda operatives out of Kurdish towns and cities as far back as 2003. The “Partisans” are known for their excellent tactics and command and control procedures unparalleled by most other fighting groups in the region.
It needs to be understood that the Kurdish units do not represent a single identity, and have been at odds with each other through the years. However, the fight for Mosul will likely see them put their differences aside as PUK, PDK, CTU, CTG, HPG and YJA STAR unite to expel Da’esh from the city.
So far, Kurdish forces have taken at least 15 villages and the Peshmerga unit on the Tal Esqof Front have made it to Bartila, only five miles from the mosul city center. The advances are quick and resemble the U.S. Marines assault on Baghdad, as they raced in to grab key ground, while driving past and ignoring smaller enemy-held villages.
It is predicted that ISIS will have heavily booby trapped nearly the entire city, and intelligence suggests that they will also be using children rigged with explosives to disrupt the advances of Iraqi, Kurdish, and Coalition units. Daesh has also set fire to their massive fuel wells to cloud the skies in hopes of inhibiting air asset targeting abilities. Expect ridiculous amounts of suicide borne improvised explosive devices.
The following video was composed by Emile Ghessen, a journalist closely monitoring the Islamic State fight. Be sure to follow him >>>HERE<<< for updates on the battle.