Five Causes of the Long Delay in Liberating Mosul

Western media announced for the umpteenth time this week that the Iraqi army is preparing to launch its oft-delayed offensive for recapturing the northern city of Mosul, two years after it was seized as the Islamic State’s de facto capital in Iraq.
The town’s suffering inhabitants and the refugees who managed to escape its horrors breathed a deep sigh of relief at the prospect of finally getting rid of the vicious jihadist jackboot.
But this optimistic presentation was another deception.
According to DEBKA Weekly’ military and intelligence sources, the US war command estimates that the campaign for liberating Mosul will not be ready to go for 8 to 12 months, in view of the following major hindrances:
1. The Iraqi army lacks the fighting manpower for attacking and holding the city. In the last few days, the US command has been winding up a slow and laborious process of isolating Mosul and its million inhabitants from the town’s environs. As we have reported before, this is a process of isolation – not siege, since neither the US command nor the Iraqi army can field enough manpower or resources for a total siege on Mosul.
2. To make up the numbers, the Americans are recruiting, training and arming new Iraqi brigades to augment the units positioned around the city. This process will take up to a year to complete.
3. The Obama administration could if it wished find the extra manpower for storming Mosul by enlisting pro-Iranian Shiite militias, such as the Popular Mobilization forces and Badr Brigades.
Both are subject to the direct command of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Forces.
The US is making a show of reluctance before calling on Shiite assistance in the light of past incidents of Shiite fighters going on murderous and looting sprees through liberated Iraqi Sunni towns.
Mosul is the ultimate symbol of a Sunni-ruled city in Iraq.
But President Barack Obama’s apparent reluctance gradually faded in July during the battle for recovering another Sunni-ruled town, Fallujah. At first, the Americans agreed to the pro-Iranian militias taking part in the fighting, provided they stayed outside the city and did not break through to its interior. But then, the Americans stood by when Shiite forces overran strategic sites inside Fallujah.
Therefore, DEBKA Weekly’s military and intelligence sources calculate that Obama will eventually relent once again and approve pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militias’ participation in the battle for Mosul, once it gets going.
4. Washington this week faced a fresh complication: A demand by President Tayyip Recep Erdogan for Turkish forces to take part in the battle for Mosul. To meet a certain veto by autonomous Iraqi Kurdish government (KRG) of direct Turkish intervention, Ankara has offered militias composed of native Iraqi Turkmen who were trained and armed in Turkey.
Our sources say that Washington is divided on how to handle this offer. One camp advocates approval to help ease the strains in US relations with Ankara; the opposite camp warns that Turkey is the thin end of the wedge for Russia to gain a foothold in northern Iraq.
5. However unlikely this may sound, it is a fact that the United States is short of money for financing the large-scale military campaign required to liberate Mosul. Not many Americans realize that as many as 40,000 US officers and soldiers are already engaged in the war on the Islamic State – whether in the Middle East, North Africa or running US command centers at home. Most are not involved in actual combat, but rather in training foreign forces, logistics, the planning of operations and gathering intelligence.
To fill the counter-terror war chest, Washington turned to Gulf and European allies. The sum of $2 billion has so far been raised.

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