US rethinks ‘spring offensive'(dropping arms) against(!) ISIL in Mosul: Officials
The US military is rethinking a previously-announced plan for a “spring offensive” against the ISIL terrorist group in the Iraqi city of Mosul, officials said.
Earlier this month, senior US military officials publicly outlined details of their plans for an on-the-ground offensive against ISIL to retake Iraq’s second largest city by April or May.
A senior US Central Command official said last week that the “shaping” for the campaign was currently underway and that a total force of up to 25,000 Iraqi troops were expected to participate in the battle.
The official came under fire from members of Congress for revealing details of a military plan to the enemy.
A day after the plan was announced, many within the Pentagon privately questioned whether the plan might work.
“I really doubt it is going to happen that soon,” one military officer told the Daily Beast on condition of anonymity. “And if it does, it will take months.”
US military officials said Friday that the offensive is unlikely to start until the fall at the earliest, after an intensive campaign of airstrikes has weakened the hold of ISIL militants on Mosul, and have cut off their supply lines in and around the vital city, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Officials also said Iraq’s military units are months away from being in a position to retake Mosul, the largest city under ISIL control.
“When we feel that the Iraqi forces are ready to go and win decisively, we will go and advise the Iraqis to begin the operation,” a military official said.
At a briefing on Friday, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the US military would not set a timeline for the Mosul operation, adding that any offensive to liberate the city would be a tough one.
“We’re not going to be able to go, nor do we want to go any faster than the Iraqis are ready to go,” Adm. Kirby said.