An operation to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, from ISIS is likely to begin in April or May and will involve about 12 Iraqi brigades, or between 20,000 and 25,000 troops, according to a senior US military official.
The US will provide military support for the operation which includes training, air support, intelligence, surveillance and possibly, though no decision has yet been made, some ground troops..
AntiWar.com reports: US officials are now saying that the offensive against the ISIS-held city of Mosul will be supported by the US, with both airstrikes and “if necessary” US ground troops backing the Iraqi military. This offensive could begin as soon as April.
The “if necessary” qualifier means the US involvement is all but certain, as the Pentagon has repeatedly said they don’t believe Iraq’s military is even close to being able to take a major city like Mosul on their own.
In recent weeks the US has been massing a large number of combat troops in Kuwait for just such an eventuality, and within the next couple of months seems to have a ready-made excuse for launching the ground war they’ve repeatedly “ruled out.”
The US war strategy for months has been basically laying out different pitfalls that could “force” them to launch a ground war in response, including putting 320 lightly armed troops on the front line in Anbar Province as “trainers,” waiting for them to get attacked so they’d have to be rescued by more ground troops.
ISIS has gained enormously from the US war, bolstering their recruitment dramatically across the world. The ground war will likely add to this influx of recruits to resist another American invasion.