One week ago: Pentagon announces plan to use 20,000 – 25,000 Iraqi and Kurdish military troops to recapture the city of Mosul from Islamic State fighters in April or May
Today: You know, maybe these Iraqi forces are not yet ready for an offensive operation to take out ISIS, we better wait 'til the fall...
Wall Street Journal
The U.S. military is considering a months-long campaign of airstrikes to squeeze Islamic State fighters in Mosul before inserting Iraqi ground forces to retake the city, officials said Friday.
The on-the-ground fight to retake Mosul isn’t likely to start until the fall at the earliest, after an intensified air campaign to target Islamic State leaders and cut off supply lines in and around the city, the officials said.
The emerging plan is at odds with a briefing by a U.S. military’s Central Command official in February in which he said the U.S. and Iraq were looking at starting a campaign to liberate Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, by April or May.
Afterward, Iraqi and American officials cast doubt on the likely readiness of Iraqi forces.
U.S. military officials now say they believe that Iraqi’s best military units are many months away from being in a position to successfully conduct such an operation. Those forces haven’t yet begun their training at the bases set up by American military officers in Iraq.
“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.