Military officials in the US have exclusively disclosed to CNN that there will be techniques and strategies involving endless strikes in some areas before matching out to attack Mosul. This has emerged just when the US Central Command officials recently sketched a probable April or May time limit for initiating war against ISIS in Mosul.
The new Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has made it clear that he will not be in a hurry to give in to creating a time table. This follows a remark by a senior US military official who stated that there needs to be utmost assurance that the Iraqi military is equal to the task.
“If we begin this, and it doesn’t work, it will be very bad,” the official commented on the effort to retake Mosul. “The secretary doesn’t want it to go faster than the Iraqis are ready to go.”
Concerning the imminent April-May launch or the first target city, the senior US military official emphasized that there’s absolutely “not a broad consensus” between the Iraqi military and the US government officials. Some US officials are in fact secretly suggesting that the first major target for the Iraqi forces ought to be Anbar Province and some areas in West side of Baghdad, regions considered not to pose a military challenge, instead of Mosul, which is a heavily populated urban area.
In the event that Mosul is targeted first, then the Pentagon would immediately start enhanced planning process. Top on the list is a suggestion to President Barrack Obama to send a small military troop to help with the targeting, a move that will lead the American troops close to the frontline. A Mosul attack might be challenging since it will need more supply support, additional intelligence as well as increased overhead reconnaissance flights.
The Central Command and the Pentagon which are both running the war insisted in a recent briefing for the news reporters for purposes of pointing out the April-May time limit, which hugely attracted global attention, that it wasn’t absolute.
“In terms of the Mosul operation, we are still projecting that the shaping for Mosul and the isolation of Mosul is going on now,” a Central Command official said during that briefing. “The preparation for the forces that will participate in Mosul is ongoing right now. And the mark on the wall that we are still shooting for is the April-May time frame.”
The official however offered a stern warning.
“There are still a lot of things that need to come together. And as we dialogue with our Iraqi counterparts, we want them to go in that time frame, because as you get into Ramadan and the summer and the heat, it becomes problematic if it goes much later than that,” the official said. “But by the same token, if they’re not ready, if the conditions are not set, if all the equipment that they need is not physically there and they are trained to a degree in which they will be successful, we have not closed the door on continuing to slide that to the right.”
Instead of the all-Shia Brigades, there are multi-sectarian units undergoing thorough training in preparation for the mission in Mosul. The US has trained 2,500 Iraqi troops in readiness for Mosul operations and 2,500 more are still undergoing thorough training. Mosul requires approximately 20,000 to 25,000 troops, but it’s unlikely that they will be deployed at once.
An official in the Defense Department disclosed to CNN that the Department has shipped weapons to the Iraqi armed forces, since the beginning of January, to be used in the looming battle for Mosul.