Barack Obama has determined to spend his last months as president on a plan for the United States to vanquish the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, as his parting shot from the White House next January.
DEBKA Weekly’s sources disclose that the plan focuses on conquering the two ISIS capitals, Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, and finally extinguishing the Islamist terrorist organization as a military force.
Our military sources add that Obama has ordered all the military assets available in the arena bent to this mission, including Russian military personnel and its air force, the Iraqi army, the Syrian air force under the command of Bashar Assad, the Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.
The high points of the secret Presidential Directive covering the operation are revealed here for the first time:
1. Mosul is to be captured by mid-December. This overrides earlier US military plans for a siege – short of capture.
2. The forces taking part in the conquest of Mosul will include US Special Operations units and 5 Iraqi divisions under American command. They will include divisions of the Iraqi special police and counter-terror units.
3. In addition, the Obama administration and the President of the autonomous Iraqi Kurdish Republic (KRG) Masoud Barazani reached the following agreement:
- The Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga army will attack Mosul from the north and the east.
- KRG boundaries will not change as a result of its participation in the offensive, but the United States will enable the republic to establish a security zone running from those boundaries up to the outer limits of Mosul.
- The United States will bar the participation of pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiite militias in the battle for Mosul and pledges to keep them from setting foot in the predominantly Sunni Muslim town.
DEBKA Weekly notes that Washington gave similar pledges for the offensives to liberate the Iraqi Sunni towns of Tikrit, Ramadi, and Fallujah from ISIS’ stranglehold – but failed to make good on them.
- The US will co-opt to the Mosul offensive the Iraqi Sunni Mutahidun coalition faction forces headed by Osama al-Nujaifi.
4. The assault on Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold in Syria, will be launched at the same time as the Mosul offensive.
5. The US air force will carry the brunt of this offensive by means of heavy bombardments to demolish the Islamic State’s ruling institutions and military infrastructure.
6. Our sources add that Obama has directed Russian and Syrian warplanes to be co-opted to the Raqqa offensive.
7. The ground force assigned to invading the ISIS Syrian stronghold will be composed of two elements: US special operations contingents and the Kurdish YPG People’s Protection Units.
DEBKA Weekly recalls that when he visited Ankara on Aug. 24, US Vice President Joe Biden instructed this same Kurdish militia to withdraw to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, at the behest of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. However, the Kurdish leaders, bitter at this betrayal, flouted the directive and stood their ground.