Pro-Iranian Shiites ready to lead Mosul operation

The US-led coalition offensive for liberating Mosul from ISIS suffered two ominous downturns on its 10th day. Friday, Oct. 28, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. One: Pro-Iranian Iraqi Shiites stand ready to assume a lead role, sparking the threat of sectarian violence in the mainly Sunni city; and, two, the Islamic State is poised to launch surface missiles with a range of 500 km against Baghdad, as well as Jordan and Israel.
Friday, a spokesman for the Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups the Bader Brigades and the Population Mobilization Force announced that their advance toward the Islamic State-held town of Tal Afar, about 55 km west of Mosul, was imminent. These militias are fighting under the command of the Iranian Al Qods chief, Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who takes his orders from Tehran. The capture of Tal Afar – a mix of Sunni and Shiite ethnic Turkmen until the Islamic State’s takeover two years ago – would cut off ISIS-held Mosul from Syria.
Turkey, Iraq’s northern neighbor, and the Kurds are seriously alarmed by the Shiite groups’ initiative. The Shiites, who are not part of the main coalition fighting body preparing to storm Mosul, are about to strike ISIS from the north. DEBKAfile’s military sources note that coalition commanders erred by not taking Tal Afar in the early stage of the Mosul offensive and so blocking ISIS supply lines.
The offensive was hobbled two days day earlier by the Kurdish decision to withdraw Peshmerga fighters from the operation to retake Mosul. President Masoud Barzani of the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government stated Wednesday, Oct. 26, that his army had ended its role in the warfare, after cleansing dozens of mostly uninhabited villages on the road to Mosul, and did not intend to enter the city at this time….. [read more]

Comment or Add Prayer