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25 January 2017

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James Vanasek

Col Lang,

Thanks for all the work on the blog. The site is yours and you should feel fit to allow (or ban) anyone you see fit. Whilst it is always good to hear and be open to other viewpoints, it's obvious that some visitors abuse the comments section. If someone was rude to my other guests in my house, I'd show them the door too.

Those of us who enjoy the site applaud your decision!

James

The Beaver

Colonel,

Since yesterday this picture has been on a lot of blogs wrt Mosul:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/C280Wk4XEAI1fXG.jpg

Clonal Antibody

Col. Lang,

Your comments on this - Syria conflict: Russia and Turkey 'in first joint air strikes on IS'

Russian and Turkish jets have carried out their first joint strikes on so-called Islamic State (IS) inside Syria, the Russian defence ministry says.

IS was targeted in the suburbs of the town of al-Bab, Aleppo province, where Turkey suffered heavy casualties last month battling the group on the ground.

turcopolier

clonal antibody

TTG would be a better commenter on this. pl

The Twisted Genius

Clonal Antibody,

The Russians and Turks have reached accommodations in many areas. No one but the Russians and Turks know the details of those accommodations. The Turks and FSA are having a tough time trying to crack the IS defenses at al-Bab. I'm sure they don't mind receiving Russian air support and they coordinate their strikes with each other. That's just prudent. The SAA is also heading for al-Bab. I'm also sure the Russians are bombing al-Bab more in support of their SAA allies rather than to support the Turks. It will be interesting when they both meet at al-Bab.

FB Ali

Col Lang,

I'm very glad you've decided to continue this blog. As I've always said: It is a rare oasis of reason and sanity in the wilderness that is public discourse in the US these days.

FkDahl

May I propose a war game around Mosul? I wonder about the key terrain features and how solid the siege around the ISIS held parts is. I think some members of the club of correspondence have been there?

To get the ball rolling:
To the east lies the Euphrates, bisected by 5 bridges (some now dropped), two of which represents large freeways that go straight through Western Mosul. To the south is an airport, 3km runway, 2km northwest of it a large rail yard and the main train station (built by Ottomans or British?). To the north-west, west and southwest the city is gradually replaced by open land, with lots of small hills and ridges but no tree cover. The urban area is around 5x5km. There is a very dense and chaotic cityscape around the Al Noree Al Kaber Mosque, about 1km2 in the down town area.

As far as I know there is significant civilian population, up to a million, in the city, while ISIS number 5-10 000, with some local sympathy among the Sunnis. They are reportedly dug in with communication tunnels between strong points. They are a relatively veteran force with experience of fighting both the US with it's air assets and the Syrian and Iraq armies. They can be expected to have sufficient supplies as of now, some tanks, and many (50+?) VBIEDs available. Indirect fire support probably scattered 82-122mm mortars and rockets.

As for the Iraqi army what I have not seen is equipment suitable for urban assault. No Sturmtigers, no assault guns. Their best infantry force seems to be equipped with armored Humvees's with HMGs and AGS. Infantry support weapons include RPGs but I have not noticed any thermobarics or Carl Gustav's , useful for recon by fire on buildings. There is a small Iraqi air force who will likely run out of precision weapons in such a target rich environment. There is US and Nato air support available but their use will be sensitive to civilian casualties, if they are reported into the MSM.

Seen from afar the Iraqis do not have either the large dedicated infantry force needed to clear the city (while accepting heavy casualties) nor do they have sufficient heavy firepower to maul the defenses, AND I see a large civilian population.
At this point taking Mosul does not appear possible.

I am sure this can be much improved upon, take your shots. I'm a married man, I am used to criticism...

mike

Beaver -

10AM on the 24th Iraqi PM Abadi declared eastern Mosul liberated.

Here is a briefing by General Joseph Martin, CJTF Land Force Commander in Iraq, given at about 10AM on the 25th. Lots of uninformed questions by the press, stuff they should be asking of the Iraqis, or someone on the Coalition Air staff, or things they should not be asking at all for OpSec reasons.

https://www.defense.gov/Video?videoid=506764

Martin's background is Armor. He was a Tank Company Commander in Desert Storm, Armored Battalion Commander in Baqubah during Iraqi Freedom, and later a Brigade Commander in Baghdad. His previous assignment to CJTF was as as the Commander of the NTIC at Fort Irwin.

 jld

"no discussion of US domestic politics"

Even if it shows up primarily in the US what's happening is about much, much more than just US politics
https://medium.com/deep-code/situational-assessment-2017-trump-edition-d189d24fc046#.4bl8mcpne

johnf

Thank you, Colonel, on re-opening the blog.

A ban on discussing domestic US policies comes as a relief to all us mere vurriners.

Meanwhile, let me to you about that b***h Theresa May!

Cee

I love this photo. Cardinals are the first birds at my feeder everyday. They mate for life too. I often watch when one is on guard while the partner eats or when the male feeds the female he is courting.

turcopolier

CEE

I have been feeding the same extended family of Northern cardinals for 20 years. Generation after generation they pass before me. they are so accustomed to me that they sit on the backs of chairs around me while I read newspapers. They also come to the back door if I am late in feeding them. pl

The Beaver

@ Mike,

All the uninformed Press knows about is the Peshmerga and Iraqi Kurdistan. No one has talked about the fightings being undertaken by the PMU (Hashd) or what the PMU is doing in Western Mosul.

mike

Beaver -

Do you have info that the Hashd are in Western Mosul? I have read that some Hashd leaders have said they will participate there. But have not yet seen evidence of them going in, other than their blocking positions to the west of the city.

Robb

Fully agree! Your efforts to keep this space civil and one that informs are much appreciated.

Jeannie

Col Lang,

Thank you for opening your blog, an island of sanity. Bless you for your care of the Northern cardinals!

Jeannie Catherine

Cee

Col. Lang,

I'm so jealous. They just love your personality, the food or both?

Petrous

Thank you for your decision to maintain the site open. This is a must read for me and many others. Your input and that of your gust contribuitors is immensely valued by me and surely the rest of the blog community. Of course you should be able to maintain the blog as YOU best see fit. There are not BUTS where that is concerned sir.
Thanks again.
Petrous

Thirdeye

This blog is one of the rare ones where I find a high percentage of worthwhile comments, and I'm sure it is because of the backgrounds of the site's principals and uncompromising comment policies keeping commenters honest.

mistah charley, ph.d.

Col. Lang - Thank you for re-opening the site. Much that I read here informs me.

On a personal note: I am beginning to study music theory, and as a long term goal I have settled on writing music for some of the poems in Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verse. "Happy Thought", too short to be a song by itself, says "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." This forum is one of the many things I enjoy, even though I also am saddened and dismayed by various things discussed here, and even, sometimes, the way in which some people discuss them. Thank you for the steps you are taking to ameliorate the latter issue.

Mark Riebling

Hey Jim! Good to finally bump into you here. Been meaning to ask you: What's the name of that whiskey bar we went to after we saw Bridge of Spies? -- Mark

Croesus

Thank you.

Robins are regulars at a spot over the front door. It's a veritable nursery. Seasonal, of course.

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