The Wall Street Journal is reporting that United States and Iraqi military forces have begun preparations to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). The radical terrorist group captured the historic city in June.
Mosul is the largest city in the Islamic State’s self-declared “caliphate,” which also includes parts of Syria. The United States is still “conducting air strikes” and “16 since Wednesday that were centered on Mosul.” The International Business Times reports that Iraq’s vice president is denying that the Islamic State’s strength is diminishing in the country.
“ISIS is getting stronger,” he declared. “It’s not true that they have lost control in Syria and are losing control in Iraq. Let us face the facts as they are. Without really an effort to get things moving with a structured strategy, not only in Iraq and Syria, but globally, then it will not work. We will not control ISIS. Without this, the region is going to be exploding more than it is now, and the whole region will be engulfed by the fire.”
General Lloyd Austin, head of the military’s Central Command, said forces “reclaimed about 300 square miles of territory in Iraq and killed some 6,000 members” of the Islamic State, including numerous leaders. However, the Iraqis must be trained to eliminate their enemy. Austin explained it would take four to six weeks to properly train the Iraqi forces, but they need the best soldiers. Unfortunately, they are located hundreds of miles away.
“Most of the best Iraqi units are in Baghdad [250 miles south of Mosul], and that is the thing we have to shake them free of,” he said. “They are reluctant to let their best units leave.”
If the plans work out, Austin believes the remaining Islamic State leadership will not have the means to rebuild their lines. This alone would push the terrorist group out of Mosul.
“He could make a decision to fight and retake those lines of communications, which I expect him to do,” said Austin. “I expect him to ultimately lose that fight. He could make a decision to leave Mosul altogether and go back into Syria.”