Tags: Barack Obama | Iraq | Iraq in Crisis | ISIS/Islamic State | Mosul | Iraq | troops

US Said to Plan Mosul Offensive With 20,000 Iraqi Troops

Thursday, 19 February 2015 05:49 PM

The U.S. and Iraq are planning a spring offensive to retake the city of Mosul that will require 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi troops to defeat 1,000 to 2,000 Islamic State (ISIS) fighters, according to an official from U.S. Central Command.

The main attack force of five Iraqi army brigades will need to be trained first by U.S. advisers, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity at a briefing Thursday to discuss military operations. The U.S. hasn’t ruled out delaying the offensive from a planned start in April or May if more time is required for training, most of which has yet to begin, the official said.

While the spring timing had been previously discussed, the official offered new details on the size of the force required to recapture Iraq’s second-largest city from Islamic State, which seized Mosul in June.

The battle for Mosul will mark the first major test for Iraqi forces since many fled as Islamic State extremists swept across northern Iraq last year to create their self-styled caliphate, or religious state. While some Iraqi officials pushed for an earlier offensive in Mosul, the U.S. has resisted such pleas, saying more time was needed for training.

Iraq has identified the units needed for a Mosul offensive, said the official from Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East.

The force will include five Iraqi army brigades, three smaller brigades serving as a reserve force, three brigades from the Kurdish Peshmerga military, a local force of police and tribal fighters, and some counterterrorism forces, the official said.

House-to-house fighting may be required to oust Islamic State fighters from Mosul, reducing or negating the advantage that U.S. and allied airstrikes have provided in more open country.

Kurdish forces so far have been reluctant to operate in territory outside the region in northern Iraq that they aspire to include in an eventual independent state. While Shiite militias backed by Iran have shouldered some of the battle against the Sunni extremists of Islamic State, they may not be as welcome in Mosul, a major Sunni population center.

The U.S. is considering offering a range of backing for the offensive, such as air support, intelligence and logistics, the official said. The military also hasn’t ruled out deploying a small number of U.S. troops on the ground to find targets and call in airstrikes.

While President Barack Obama has pledged that U.S. forces won’t become embroiled in ground combat in Iraq, he asked Congress this month to approve an authorization for use of military force, or AUMF, that he said would permit ground missions. These include serving as spotters for strikes, using special operations forces to target Islamic State leaders, collecting intelligence and conducting rescue operations.

The U.S. and allies have established five sites in the region to train Iraqi forces. About 3,200 forces are now in training and almost 2,000 have been graduated, the official said.

The U.S. and allied forces have conducted about 2,500 airstrikes against Islamic State since August, roughly equally divided between Iraq and Syria, the official said.

 

© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.


   
1Like our page
2Share
Draft-Stories
The U.S. and Iraq are planning a spring offensive to retake the city of Mosul that will require 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi troops to defeat 1,000 to 2,000 Islamic State fighters, according to an official from U.S. Central Command.
Mosul, Iraq, troops, offensive
512
2015-49-19
Thursday, 19 February 2015 05:49 PM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved