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17 October 2016


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Yeah, but the f**king Guardian is blogging it live for real - they obviously think it'll be over in hours
BTW, if ISIS do make a run for it after doing a deal with the US/Saudis, I reckon the Iraqis will do to this ISIS convoy what they did to the ISIS convoy departing Fallujah earlier this year - blow them up. The convoy the US-led Coalition didn't want to touch because it might have contained "civilians". Perhaps that also explains why the Iraqi militias have been tasked with driving up west of Mosul towards Tal Afar - they're the most politically reliable forces for blocking purposes around.

Bill Herschel

It is inconceivable that this will not be over in a matter of days. There is only one goal sought by the United States and its allies: the elimination of Vladimir Putin. Mosul has to be a pure victory. It has to be the antimatter to Aleppo. Now. Before the election. America is Great.


This in Fin Times raises spectre of chemical warfare by IS:


And says Turkey wants in on the act. Bit problematic given central role of Kurdish forces. What a rat's nest. Repercussions manifold and unknown, but potentially very serious, in a nutshell. Apologies if it's behind a pay wall.

In reference to Morning Joe, I must confess to nearly feeling some sympathy for him. The million dollar b-day gift to BC, and Dartmouth - boy's sad squirming & attempted spin? MJoe nailed him. You couldn't be human and not feel revulsion for the Clintons. Clearly even the Borg recognize this.

FT today also reports on attempted quid pro quos between DOS & FBI over reclassifying an HRC e-mail. To knock one down to unclassified they proposed to grant several xtra overseas FBI positions, so the allegations go.



it is a favorite State Department trick to offer to let you have more people in overseas missions in return for something they want. and when you agree they often renege on the deal having pocketed what they wanted from you. They did that to me over attaché positions in several countries. so, I stopped making deals with them. pl


Bill Herschel

"It is inconceivable that this will not be over in a matter of days." Of course, Clinton will ordain it. pl

The Beaver


I would like to see those journos in the centre of Mosul. So far only villages around Mosul are being attacked but it ain't going to be that pretty to look at when they move towards the centre.


I have a sense the Guardian's live-blogging of the advance was a mistake. Little progress was made all day, only the Pentagon said the advance was ahead of schedule. Well, they would, wouldn't they? Maybe it'll go better tomorrow, but it's not something where you would want a minute-by-minute account. It's doesn't look good if things don't go as planned.


Lets' look at the root of all evil:
WikiLeaks: "a State Department cable sent under her [Clinton] name in December 2009 states that “Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT [Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan]." .... Goldberg reported that “a widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders.”


You're joking, right? When the U.S. went into Fallujah the city was damn near vacated when the operation commenced. There were 3600 jihadis (lower than the estimate in current situation in Mosul). The operation involved, 82nd Airborne, 101st Airborne, 1st Special Forces, 10th Mountain, 1st Marine Expeditionary, 3rd Amored, 1st Infantry Division, SEAL teams, Blackwater Mercs, et al. It took 3 weeks to pacify and that didn't hold. Then there was Second Battle of Fallujah. This time over 10k U.S. military and it took a month and a half to pacify. Over 120 U.S. killed and over 700 wounded. Jihadis killed was approx. 1400. And Fallujah was reduced to rubble. AC-130s, F-16 dropping 2000 lb bomb, AC/DC and Metallica blasted into the vacated city 24/7 prior to the U.S. military operation.


Isn't a force ratio of 10:1 good enough to reduce a defender in urban terrain? (as a rough guideline, not in every specific case... "ymmv")



numbers don't count if people don't fight. pl

Chris Chuba

Pre-debate operation
It just dawned on me. The Democrats don't actually need Mosul to be taken before the election, all that matters is that the operation started BEFORE the last debate so that HRC can tut, tut, and inform Trump that smart power works.

Hillary made a big issue that we can't possibly be on the same side as Iran in Syria but we are on the same side as Iran in Iraq. That is quite the irony. I hope Trump points that out but he probably won't. I bet she wouldn't be able to handle that well. HRC cannot handle anything that is not scripted.

No surround and siege
The Mosul operation is different from the previous operations in Ramadi and Fallujah. In those cities the Iraqis first surrounded them, tried to coax the civilians away, wear ISIS down and prevent their escape. This time around they do not have the city surrounded. So either they are rushing the offensive because of pressure by the U.S. or they have concluded that there is little value in their previous tactics. It is probably a little of both. ISIS is not famous for letting civilians leave and whatever force they leave tends to fight to the death or manages to slip away anyway.

In any case, the Russians could make the same argument at Mosul that we are making at Aleppo. 'What, you are bombing a city of 1M people just to destroy 3,000 militants? Oh what barbarians you are!' Yes indeed, we are hypocrites.


And that straightforward fact will be twisted to prove again how beastly those Syrian Army chaps are. When some commentators are unkind enough to contrast the performance of Syrian and Iraqi forces, I expect official responses along the lines of 'Look, the only reason those nasty Syrians are able to advance against IS in urban fighting is because the Syrians are so uncaring about civilians.'


If ISIS leaves a force determined to fight to the death in a defense in depth tunnel maze, the cake walk to Mosel will change to a grind & slog when the attackers reach the fields of fire of the defenders. Air & arty reducing the city to rubble will add complexity to the street fighting. It's been 30 years since I seriously studied Stalingrad. If my memory serves me correctly, 1 Soviet squad in rubble at a critical intersection punished & stopped a Panzer division. In the battle of Okinawa, the Japanese had created tunnel complexes in 3 lines. The Japanese allowed the landing to go unopposed. The initial advances were cake walks. But the close combat through the carefully planned killing ground in front of Hacksaw Ridge & the Shuri Line were slow & brutal close combat. Casualties for the Battle of Okinawa were higher than Iwo Jima or Normandy.

A determined enemy in well prepared positions with good field of fire in urban or rugged terrain is a bitch. The old assault squad approach of "blind them, blast them, burn them" is not a task for men who hope to grow old.


Putin already commented on it:


“We hope that our American partners, and in this case our French partners as well, will act selectively and do everything to minimise — and even better, to rule out — civilian casualties,” Mr Putin told a news conference after a summit of developing economies in India on Sunday.

“We of course are not going to fan hysteria over this matter, like our partners in the West do, because we understand that we need to fight terrorism, and that there is no other way apart from active fighting,” he added.

Say what you like about Vova Vladimirovich, the man has a sense of humour.

Ishmael Zechariah

Col. Lang, SST;
From where I stand, neither the shenanigans designed to cover the malfeasance of the female clinton, nor her election, will change facts on the ground in Syria or Iraq.

Thucydides, in his Melian Dialogue, described real politik nicely: "Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." Putin has proven himself an equal in power to the Borg, and MUST be accorded his rights-much to the latter's chagrin. The Arabs, on the other hand, are weak-and suffer they must. We will see which ME country will be the next to suffer. Perhaps Turkey; she has spent the accumulated strength of the secular progressives and is in the same political excrement pile termed "political Islam".

Per TTG's sergeant, the shit seems to be on.

Ishmael Zechariah


Will the advancing season place a significant impediment on air or ground operations in Aleppo or Mosul? Is there pressure on the attackers to win before winter?

I looked at the climographs for the two cities. It looks like there is more cloud cover/precipitation during the Dec-Feb period. But Col. Lang, or some people visiting this blog, may well be personally familiar with the climate and terrain of either or both regions.

Would anyone be able to elaborate? Apologies if this is a stupid question, or already well reviewed.


Hopefully there will also be some form of resistance/uprising from the civilians in Mosul when the fire works start.

mike allen

The 2nd volume of Rick Atkinsons trilogy has a well documented section on the horrific Battle of Monte Cassino. He says the airstrike on the Abbey, codenamed Operation Avenger, killed 400 civilian refugees and monks. The airstikes on the town itself, codenamed Operation Ludlum, may have killed and wounded more allies and civilians than Germans.

After Ludlum, "Eaker publicy announced 'Today we fumigated Cassino...' ". (Eaker was LtGen Ira Eaker, Commander of the Allied Air Forces in Italy whose aircraft made the strike, and previously Commander of the Eighth AF in England. He was portrayed by the Gregory Peck movie 12 O'Clock High)

Eaker should have known better. Only one in ten bombs reportedly struck inside the thousand-yard radius of the target. The Italian town of Venafro, 11 miles away from the target, was bombed for over an hour. General Juin's HQ of the French Expeditionary Corps was bombed. Bombs also hit the British 8th Army command post, prompting its commander to say "Ah, I see our American friends have called", but he was only half right as the strike was by both British and American aircraft. Other bombs fell on the 4th Indian Division, the 3rd Algerian Division, a Morroccan military hospital, and a Poish bivouac.

I hope the Mosul operation goes better considering the coordination nightmare of the Iraqi Army, Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia militias (with embedded IRGC advisors), Sunni and Christian militias, the multi-national Coalition AF, and the Iraqi AF. Plus the constant Damocles sword hanging over Mosul of the Turkish forces in Bashiqa interfering.

mike allen

Probably already started:

Unknown persons burned 3 ISIS HQs in Mosul last night. And there have been clashes in Mosul between residents and ISIL at Bab al-Jadid and Hammam al-Aliil today. 2 cars burned.

Probably a majority of the residents will hunker down or try to flee. A minority may support ISIL. But there are some tribes in residence or in the surrounding villages that have had a blood feud going with ISIL's Hisba religious police and Sharia courts for some time now.

There are also reports of clashes between different ISIL factions in Mosul.

Bill H

CBS News is even more entertaining than usual. Russia and Syria are bombing civilians and hospitals in Aleppo, while the US is bombing ISIS in Mosul. Very cool to see Holly Williams in full battle regalia, body armor and chinstrapped helmet, while everyone around her is strolling around hatless. The crowning moment is when she panicked and went to her hands and knees while the guy standing upright behind her with nothing on his head is laughing at her and motioning for the cameraman to stand up. I could not believe they aired that clip.


mike allen

Have you read von Senger's memoir, "Neither Fear nor Hope?" pl

mike allen

Colonel -

No. I should. Atkinson mentions Senger's refusal to use the Abbey as an OP.

mike allen

should have read: ...Polish bivouac...


Priceless. Almost makes me feel sorry I stopped watching television (in 2013; it was giving me diarrhea)

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