The failue of the US-backed Iraqi army offensive to liberate Mosul – nine weeks after it began – could no longer be denied when a delegation of ISIS chiefs arrived there Sunday, Dec. 4, traveling unhindered from Raqqa, Syria.
DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that they arrived to discuss how to synchronize the operations of the two jihadist strongholds, after the Islamist leaders occupying Mosul changed course about leaving the city and decided to stay put.
This decision followed their assessment that the Iraqi army and its American backers were incapable of bringing their offensive to a successful conclusion. It was also evident in Washington that the US commanders in the field would not be able to meet Barack Obama’s presidential directive to capture Mosul by the end of December, so that he could exit the White House next month with a successful Mosul campaign behind hm.
Altogether 54,000 Iraqi troops and 5,000 US servicemen – supported by 90 warplanes and 150 heavy artillery pieces – were invested in the Mosul campaign when it was launched in October. They proved unable to beat 9,000 jihadists.
Iraqi forces have gained no more than one-tenth of the territory assigned them. This lack of progress has damped their initial impetus and sapped their morale. While Baghdad keeps on pumping out reports of good progress and new fronts opening up, the Iraqi army has come to a virtual standstill and does nothing more than exchange fire with ISIS fighters.
Read More: Mosul offensive folds, waiting now for Trump