Iraq War Update 20160826. New U.S. commander, the preparations for taking Mosul, Iran’s influence in Iraq, Italy training female Peshmerga, Vice News Video entitled Fighting ISIS, Iraqi Counter Terror forces capture Qayyarah., and Russia no longer overflying Iraq to bomb Syria?
New U.S. Commander for Syria / Iraq. The U.S. has a new general officer commanding U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. LTG Townsend is heading up the offensive against the Islamic State and hopes to put them on the path to defeat over the next year. He replaces LTG McFarland. Townsend faces a difficult challenge in both countries; consider the different players he must deal with – Russia, Iraq, NATO partners, Iran, Turkey, Kurds, and others. See news reports about the new commander from The Washington Post, Military Times, and DoD News.
Mosul – The Next Push. The next big target for the Iraq security forces is Mosul. They will receive significant assistance from the Kurds who will attack from the north, east and west. The Iraqi forces, probably augmented by the Shia milias (controlled by Iran?), will attack from the south. Certainly U.S. airpower will play a key role. It is expected that advisors (especially SOF), field artillery, drones, and intelligence assets will take part in the operation as well.
Russia Flying Over Iraq? Russia was launching aircraft to conduct bombing missions in Syria from Iran. Russian Ministry of Defense news releases said that Russia is using an Iranian airbase. The Iranians are not that happy about the news going public. Looks like the Russians have been grounded for the time being. Read more in a news report posted on Yahoo!, August 22, 2016.
Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) in Lebanon. Looks like Iran is flexing its muscles a bit by sending Iraqi PMUs to Lebanon to fight on that front against ISIS. What a mess the Middle East is right now.
MoD Minster Sacked. Iraq’s Minister of Defense got sacked. The Iraq parliament says he was corrupt and he lost a no-confidence vote. Not a good sign considering Iraqi troops are gearing up to take Mosul. So . . . where do the Iraqi’s find a potential replacement who is not corrupt?
Italian Special Forces in Iraq. The 3rd Brigade of ERD recently graduate. They were trained up by Italian SF in Northern Iraq.
Video on ISIS by Vice News. Watch a 48-minute long video called Fighting ISIS, August 15, 2016.
US Support for Kurds in Iraq? One wonders how much support the Kurds in Iraq will be losing giving the U.S. selling out the Syrian Kurds (YPG) in favor of the Turks. Something to watch. Probably good support until Mosul is secured by the Iraqi Army . . . then . . . we shall see. In the meantime Turkey will likely start rolling back some of the YPG gains in Syria.