Barack Obama is continuously making a fool of himself. The much-hyped offensive to wrest Mosul from Islamic State militants (originally planned to begin in April or, at the very latest, May, in order to avoid the terrible Mesopotamian summer) is to be postponed until at least next fall.
During a Senate Armed Services Committee meeting, the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, said that it will be “six to nine months” before Iraqi forces will be ready to launch a major counter-offensive against the Islamic State group.
As Lt. Gen. Stewart declared, “additional training” will be required before the Iraqi army moves into combat against Caliph Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in an urban setting, such as that of the city of Mosul, where 660,000 people live. This is “very complex” compared to battle on open ground and “requires a great deal of skill, great deal of precision to be successful.” According to the Daily Beast, the Pentagon is now annoyed at the previous optimism displayed by CENTCOM (the United States Central Command), responsible for operations against the Islamic State group, regarding operational aspects of the offensive. A few days ago, those at CENTCOM said they would slowly engage 25,000 Iraqi soldiers, or at least eight brigades, in order to drive out 2,000 Islamic State group jihadists from Iraq’s second city, conquered last June. All with air support from the international U.S.-led coalition.
The Iraqi army’s “strong point” is the two divisions which currently protect Baghdad. However, nobody in the Iraqi capital is thinking about leaving the city’s fragile state of security undefended by sending them to attack Mosul. The problem, which seems to have been underestimated at CENTCOM, is that Iraqi soldiers are unprepared for conflict in a densely populated urban area like Mosul. Many of these troops are the same ones which melted away like snow in the sun when faced with the advance of Islamic State group militants last summer. Not only did they run away, but they also abandoned plundered weapons and vehicles, from then on used by al Baghdadi’s men. For clarification, we await the opinions of the new Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, who on Tuesday will be heard by the Senate Defense Committee.