first published on March 1, 2016 by Will
The operation to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second most populated city, from the Islamic States’s year-and-a-half grip is now underway, according to Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.
At the forefront of the anti ISIS operation is the Expeditionary Targeting Force, made up of America’s most elite Combat Applications Group, also known as Delta Force. A credible, but unnamed, administration official told CNN that Delta has been laying the ground work for advanced targeting operations for months by setting up safe houses, developing informants, and gathering actionable intelligence, while strengthening bonds between Iraqi and Kurdish fighting units for bilateral raids. These raids are already being conducted and are having a formidable impact.
The Expeditionary Targeting Force is mainly focused on striking key ISIS leadership as well as liberating prisons to free captives held by the Daesh terror organization. According to Carter, Delta Force will have ISIS fearing that they will be struck anywhere at anytime.
Pentagon officials have also said that U.S. forces, other than Special Operations troops, will be playing a much larger role. In fact, this will be the largest U.S. operation in Iraq since the supposed “end” of the Most recent Iraq war. Although, the details of further U.S. involvement are still being worked out, and for obvious reasons, won’t be told to the public. Yet, talk of allowing our conventional train-and-assist forces to join the indigenous troops on the battlefield is ongoing. Not coincidentally, a fresh batch of 82nd Airborne paratroopers are currently rotating into Iraq. Additionally, U.S. Apache helicopters are predicted to be on station, conducting close-air-support for our own troops as well as Kurdish and Iraqi Security Forces.
The start of this Mosul operation seems to come naturally on the heels of the Syrian Democratic Force’s (Kurds and moderate Arabs led by U.S. Spec Ops) victory in the taking of the Syrian town of Shadadi, which was a key ISIS logistics and training center. By losing that important hub, ISIS has also lost their main supply route between Iraq and Syria, and has resulted in the encirclement of both their Syrian capital of Raqqa, and their Iraqi capital of Mosul, by their enemies.