“There are a lot of pieces that have to come together, and we want to make sure the conditions are right,” said an official from the CENTCOM. “But this is their (Iraqi and Kurdish) plan. They are bought into it. They are moving forward.” (The New York Times, 20 February)
“If they are not ready, if the conditions are not set… we have not closed the door on sliding to the right,” said the official. (Military Times, 19 February)
About 2,600 American troops are in Iraq, advising, assisting and training Iraqi troops.
Current planning envisions that five Iraqi army brigades, backed by three Peshmerga brigades will spearhead the assault on ISIL positions in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city. Plans also call for a “Mosul fighting force,” that will include many former Mosul police officers and Sunni tribesmen, will push into the densely populated neighborhoods of the predominantly Sunni city, the CENTCOM official said. (Military Times, 19 February)
Since June, Mosul had been the capital of ISIL’s proclaimed Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria. The defeat of ISIL does require the liberation of Mosul.
Photo credit: CENTCOM’s Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Greca (l.) speaking with an Iraqi army trainee; 11 February 2015, Al-Asad Air base, Iraq. (Master Sgt. Mike Lavigne/Army/Military Times)