For weeks press accounts have talked excitedly about an imminent attack on Mosul, which ISIS captured two years ago and is where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared his “caliphate.” Retaking Mosul would mark a major victory against ISIS and show that the situation in Iraq is markedly improving.
So is it going to happen? Don’t bet on it. It’s unlikely that Mosul will even be attacked, at least before the election, and the whole storyline appears to be a propaganda exercise by the Obama administration.
Here’s what a source who was recently in Iraq — and who has excellent contacts with military and intelligence officials — told me:
There are three main roads in and out of Mosul and they are not under control. There is no logistics pipeline in place. There’s a key bridge that needs to be rebuilt and that will take months.
You’d need ten combat-ready brigades to have any chance of success. The Iraqi Army only has three combat-ready brigades and two them are protecting Baghdad to keep the government from being overthrown. You can’t recapture Mosul with one brigade.
There are about 100,000 Shia militia fighters, not just from Iraq, and if they get sent in the local population will fight with ISIS against them. Yet there’s talk of the U.S. providing air support for the militias, it’s total madness.
There aren’t more than a handful of people in Washington who even know who the players on the ground are and who is fighting who. Somebody needs to come up with a booklet like you get when you’re going into a football game that puts colored jerseys on the different combatants.
There is no way an attack on Mosul can succeed at the moment. It’s all lies emanating from the White House. The administration just wants to ride this out until January. They wanted an attack on Mosul before the election but even they realize it can’t happen now so they are taking the glide path to January 20 and are going to drop it in the lap of the next president.