With the political season upon us, efforts to seize Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city and one of two capitals for ISIS’, are being finalized. While not all in the U.S. military or intelligence community agree that the timing is right for the campaign, the stage is set nonetheless. Iraq security forces and Iran-backed Shia militias are ready to launch their assault in the coming weeks in what will be Baghdad’s stiffest challenge to date. The recent capture of Sharqat and the seizure of Fallujah earlier in the year were big victories for the country, however, Mosul will be an entirely different story.
Due to an air power only campaign by the United States, ISIS has had ample time to prepare for this epic battle in Mosul. Efforts have included digging tunnels underneath the city, digging trenches along the city’s perimeter to keep people out and they have now begun to burn oil in order to cloud the sky with deep billows of black tar-like smoke – which will hamper U.S. air operations and subsequently efforts to strike senior leadership and key military installations.
Further complicating matters is the fact that while U.S. operations have struck numerous suspected chemical weapons facilities in Mosul, it is known that several others exist and ISIS is expected to use any and all resources to repel their invaders during the forthcoming incursion.
Finally, the population in Mosul, which is mostly against the oppressive ISIS regime, will be caught in the crossfire and destruction that accompanies such a battle. It is expected that ISIS will leverage this fact and utilize civilians as shields in many cases, making the job of U.S and Iraqi soldiers all the more difficult.
By OpsLens Staff