Will IS fight hard for Mosul?


"The next phase of the battle will be a multi-pronged advance on the outskirts of Mosul.  Most likely the main thrust will drive up the Baghdad-Mosul highway on the west bank of the Tigris River, halting when the southern outskirts of Mosul are reached."  BBC


Interesting piece on the proposed Mosul offensive.  This will be interesting to watch.  Let's see, what would be a good codename for the operation?  "Shia Dawn," maybe?  I would think that IS will put up a good fight at Mosul.  What else can they do?  This will be a good opportunity to make them into "Used Jihadis."  pl


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48 Responses to Will IS fight hard for Mosul?

  1. Swami says:

    PL, how many fighters do you think they have in Mosul? Would it be a feasible plan for them to slip into the darkness and live to fight another day? I believe it would be hard to entirely surround Mosul.

  2. b says:

    All depends on the general local public in Mosul.
    If many locals joined IS as fighters (paid or for ideological reasons) and continue with IS it will be a very difficult fight. Lots of ambushes etc.
    If locals want to help fighting IS it will be way easier. Intelligence will come in and there will be attacks in the rear of IS-fronts.

  3. Laguerre says:

    This offensive against Mosul seems to me a bit fictional. The Kurds, already in situ on the east bank of the Tigris, have no particular interest in fighting through a Sunni city. The example has already been demonstrated in the case of Raqqa, where they haven’t in fact attacked Raqqa, outside their ethnic area. As for the Shi’a militia, from the south, they are also outside of their area. What is needed is agreement with the authorities in Mosul. What I mean by that, as is common in the Islamic world, is a combination of the leading figures in the city. As is usual in the Islamic world, it’s personal.

  4. elaine says:

    “IS plans widespread destruction in Mosul as conditions worsen for residents”
    http://www.voanews.com/a/is-plans-widespread-destruction-in-mosul-as conditions-worsen-for residents/353687.html

  5. Jay says:

    Urban Noose
    Let’s see how clean our hands can be?

  6. Imagine says:

    Gen. Dunford says “controlling the airspace” over Syria would definitely require going to war against Syria and Russia, but then 10 seconds later in the longer clip he retracts himself and says “establishing a no-fly zone” over Syria would NOT require going to war against Syria and Russia.
    So which is it? How feasible is it for the Pentagon to unilaterally establish a no-fly zone without starting a war with Russia?

  7. Pundita says:

    Yes, Islamic State fighters are very serious. To show how serious, they’ve issued a fatwa against Mosul housecats. House to house searches for the cats. The reasons aren’t terribly clear but obviously it’s because they’ve figured out the cats are spies. No word yet on whether Erdogan has accused his cat of being a Gulenist. Anyhow, this beats out the fatwa they issued against pigeons.

  8. turcopolier says:

    Kurds are 90% Sunni. I suppose you meant Sunni Arabs. pl

  9. Laguerre says:

    Yeah, sure. I don’t see the interest of the Kurds to fight their way into a Sunni Arab city, when they’ve had their nose bloodied elsewhere. After 2003, they controlled much of Northern Sunni Iraq, but with ISIS they were knocked out. I don’t see the interest to go back, if it means losing Kurdish lives.

  10. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    I would call it:
    عملیات صفین ۲

  11. Babak Makkinejad says:

    While not disliking felines per se, I thought Istanbul would be a more pleasant city without them. Does that make me an ISIS sympathizer?

  12. Chris Chuba says:

    They will fight, the question is, will it be the token 500 fighters or a big contingent.
    Fars News is reporting that ISIS is relocating equipment and personnel to Raqqa.
    There is some logic to this. Yes, Mosul is a much bigger and richer area than anything in Syria but the problem is that there is a, more or less, united coalition fighting them in Iraq. In Syria there is a potential for a barroom brawl between the U.S. and the Al Qaeda coalition vs. R+6 (unfortunately, that is the most accurate way to phrase it) and/or the Turks vs the Kurds. So yes, Syria is not as juicy a prize but their prospects there are better.
    However, even a small number of fighters can make a huge mess of Mosul just like it has done in the other cities.
    We shall see. I am still fuming that our leaders are coming out so plainly for the Al Qaeda coalition and the U.S. media is so blind to it.
    This is really interesting to me. The British media actually shamed our State Dept by asking them about our lack of air strikes against Al Qaeda in Syria.
    The progression:
    1. The British actually listened directly to Lavrov (not an interpretation from our State Dept).
    2. They reasoned that Lavrov’s comments made enough sense to at least inquire and form into a question.
    3. When confronted, the U.S. State Dept shill fell to pieces.
    BING – Journalism 101. Good job Brits.
    The U.S. Media should really be ashamed of themselves instead of being so self-righteous.

  13. mike allen says:

    I doubt seriously if the Peshmerga will fight in western Mosul. Why should they? They will certainly act as a blocking set up road blocks on all roads into and out of eastern and northern Mosul.
    But there are many Kurdish, Yezidi, and Shabak neighborhoods of Mosul east of the Tigris that are still unliberated. I can see them taking part in fighting ISIS in those areas as long as they don’t cross the river.
    And possibly even standing up against Hashd al Shabi militia if they intrude there.

  14. Ghostship says:

    Looking on Digital Globe, quite a few of the oil wells to the north-east of Qayyarah airbase are still burning.

  15. VietnamVet says:

    Afghanistan and Libya campaigns indicate that western air forces can overturn 3rd world states when supporting indigenous proxy forces. After back stabbing the Syrian Kurds; seizing Raqqa for Hillary Clinton’s October Surprise is out. Mosul was once a city of two and half million people like Aleppo. With the Kurds conserving forces and the Iraq puppet Army uncertain, the only major force that can take the city are the Shiite Militias. The Islamists have nowhere to go, are experienced, and are fighting for their homes even through they’ve been reduced to concrete rubble. The Shiite militias are outsiders intent on revenge for thousands of years of atrocities. Turkey and the Gulf Monarchies will aid moderate shaved Jihadists and try to partition out a Sunni homeland. I expect that the battle for Mosul will continue well into the next year. The mini world war will continue its escalation especially if Russia and Iran get involved in Iraq.

  16. Poul says:

    Laguerre, remember that the Kurds wants Mosul as part of their autonomous region. My impression is that the Kurds would love to see a devastated Mosul where the Arab population have fled.

  17. elaine says:

    Who knows what’s up with the link I posted? Anyway the main point of that story was to report ISIS digging tunnels throughout Mosul, so besides fighting house to house the liberating armies will have to literally
    play wack a mole.
    The article also claimed all of the ISIS big wigs have already fled the city.

  18. Amir says:

    It is a good excuse to search the house. They could have just issued a fatwa requesting that they will check each house for pigs or Persian Baghali Poloi.

  19. Lord Curzon says:

    I see the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity has penned a letter to President Obama, encouraging him to re-assess his relationship with Russia.
    Knowing you’d acted in concert with the group before, I was bemused not to see your name alongside others. Any particular reason you felt you couldn’t sign?

  20. turcopolier says:

    Lord Curzon
    I hope Obama listens to them. I doubt that they will be heard in the WH. pl

  21. Mishkilji says:

    Sorry, but “Shia Dawn” has been taken, we renamed Operation Iraqi Freedom to Shia Dawn in 2004.

  22. c says:

    Opérations Safin 2?

  23. The Beaver says:

    @ b
    Wonder if you’ve seen this article:
    The Once and Future Mosul – The American Interest
    The complexities of Mosul

  24. turcopolier says:

    https://southfront.org/us-army-chief-threatens-war-with-russia/ I find it very worrisome that the CofS of the US Army is talking like this. pl

  25. AlanQ says:

    Off topic but what is this guy drinking
    “Russia and Syria say their forces are attacking the powerful Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra Front) in eastern Aleppo.
    Mr de Mistura said the group was about 900 strong in eastern Aleppo and he would willingly accompany them out of the city if they decided to leave.
    “If you did decide to leave in dignity, and with your weapons, to Idlib or anywhere you wanted to go, I personally am ready physically to accompany you” he said.”

  26. turcopolier says:

    I suspect that the numbers of actual fighters in east Aleppo are quite small. How small I have no idea. pl

  27. Babak Makkinejad says:


  28. mike allen says:

    Hawija should be taken before Mosul.
    Back in 2013 Maliki cracked down hard on Sunni protesters in Hawija. Many claim that was the spark that lead many Sunnis to invite ISIS to come in from Syria.
    What will be key in both Hawija and Mosul is how well Sunnis are treated by Baghdad after the liberation. That goes for all the other liberated cities in Anbar and Diyala provinces as well.

  29. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to AlanQ 06 October 2016 at 09:22 AM
    Da Mistura was appointed by Ban Ki-moon as his Special Representative to Iraq late in 2007 he took up his post in November of that year and left not even two years later in July 2009 to take up an appointment as Deputy Executive Director for External Relations of the World Food Programme which is one of those important sounding but utterly meaningless “jobs for the boys” UN postings that pay so well.
    Ban Ki-moon keeps on appointing him as his special representative to various hotspots. God knows why as he f*ck*d up his appointment in Iraq appallingly. He must be the only Swede in the world hated and despised by all factions in Iraq equally with George W.Bush.
    I’ve met him twice, sanctimonious, self-righteous, pig ignorant, deluded buffoon, is how I’d describe when trying very hard to be polite.

  30. Babak Makkinejad says:

    UN jobs, like those of many other international organizations such as FIFA, are coveted jobs by very many people. The perks and the salaries and then the prestige are doggedly pursued and have had a corrupting effect.

  31. AlanQ says:

    True. It doesnt take a large force to make taking back he city slow and costly.
    What struck me was the comment from the de Mistura “I personally am ready physically to accompany you”. Part of me wishes this wasnt just bluster and that he would actually go through with it. He could see just how moderate they really are.
    (I have visions of him leading a convoy of blue helmet wearing al-Nusra fighters out of Aleppo….the White Helmets could join them for the PR video)

  32. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Babak Makkinejad 06 October 2016 at 01:03 PM
    True enough there are the place and prestige seekers who are merely venal. And then there are the ones like da Mistura bombastic, ignorant, arrogant, and self-righteous buffoons with a messiah complex even larger than Tony Blair’s and a quite extraordinarily strong reverse-Midas complex. who are dangerously incompetent.

  33. Mishkilji says:

    I view Milley’s comments more benignly. As Army CoS his job is a force builder and force provider. Yes, he shapes the Chairman’s advice to POTUS, but he is not a warfighter and policy has been sucked so high into the WH that Milley might as well be an O-5 writing talking points. His focus is articulating the Army’s role in future warfare and getting an appropriate budget slice for the Army that enables it to remodernize. This in the face of a nuclear modernization program that sucks dollars in a constrained budgetary environment, a strategic shift to to the Navy-AF dominated Pacific, and a recent history where Big Army didn’t get the job done. He needs to talk tough to make the Army feel relevant both for its sake and when he goes to the Hill for dollars.
    So Milley talking tough is not policy, it represents a mindset. I’m interested in what NSC and OSD types are thinking.
    On Syria, my sense is we have reached a tipping point. Putin and Bashar realize this needs to be wrapped up before Hillary takes over in January and are pressing the attack.

  34. turcopolier says:

    Yes, of course they are “pressing the attack.” They have to try to win decisively before she takes office. Milley is smelling the wind and tacking in the direction that he knows is appreciated and desired. His statement had little to do with philosophy and future doctrine and everything to do with sucking up to his betters. pl

  35. turcopolier says:

    We abandoned the name “Shia Dawn?” What a surprise. It betrayed the true nature of what we were doing. https://southfront.org/us-chief-of-naval-operations-us-prepared-to-fight-in-russias-chinas-missile-defense-zones/
    is this guy also talking about future doctrine? pl

  36. LeaNder says:

    Well I may misinterpret Dubhaltach, but if he is right and de Mistura has: a quite extraordinarily strong reverse-Midas complex. Maybe he can levitate them out of the city floating after him?
    Hmm?? about 500. How many White Helmets?

  37. Mishkilji says:

    My argument is not centered on future doctrine or philosophy.
    These two pachyderms are making arguments over relevance to both Congress and the nation to maintain or expand their respective service’s budget slice.
    Miley wants to recreate the Army’s raison d’etre by resurrecting the Fulda Gap ethos and make Big Army relevant.
    Navy needs to leverage the specter of a Chinese and Russian threats for the same reason.
    Now when Combatant Commanders start talking, like Breedlove did earlier in the year, that catches my eye.
    Has the new EUCOM Commander been talking trash?

  38. elaine says:

    Thank you

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “bombastic, ignorant, arrogant, and self-righteous buffoons with a messiah complex” – all of them Europeans and in every single instant and occasion.

  40. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to Babak Makkinejad 06 October 2016 at 11:26 PM
    Can I take it that you’ve not had much in the way of personal experience of UN officials?
    It’s a personality type not a racial one. I grant you that there probably is a preponderance of “Europeans” amongst the ranks of UN officialdom – provided you include all of North, Central, and South America under the heading of “Europe”. But I’ve met plenty of the type who are from African and Asian countries.

  41. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to LeaNder 06 October 2016 at 08:01 PM
    Urban Dictionary: Reverse Midas Touch

  42. Fred says:

    How do the Russian’s and Chinese see these speeches? Given their history I think they would ere on the side of being prepared for an immediate response rather than thinking this is just budget bloviating by political flag officers.

  43. Dubhaltach says:

    Attempting to fix the errors caused by unclosed HTML in your comment

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Thank you for correcting me. No racialism implied or intended, rather wondering if that was a cultural issue.

  45. turcopolier says:

    I deleted the offending comment. pl

  46. LeaNder says:

    thanks, twice thanks, really Dubhaltach. I was meandering once again? 😉
    Thankful, the who might be the sources for UN numbers was picked up on by Pat. Admittedly I wondered a bit about “Lemiscat”, not many know that term:

  47. Dubhaltach says:

    In reply to turcopolier 07 October 2016 at 12:19 PM
    Thank you sir,
    It’s a mistake that’s easy enough to make especially when copying and pasting from somewhere else – certainly I have done so on many occasions. Every time I think about how easy it is to make such a mistake I am freshly grateful that Netscape’s “blink” tag never really took off!

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