Remember Obama’s no boots on the ground in Iraq pledge?
Forget about it.
“Hundreds of additional U.S. troops have flowed into Iraq during the past week as American and Iraqi forces there begin final preparations to launch an invasion of Mosul this fall,” Military Times reported on Thursday.
The Islamic State has held the Iraqi city for over two years. It is the largest city held by the self-proclaimed caliphate. In 2012 the US Defense Intelligence Agency “predicted” Salafist, Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaeda in Iraq “insurgents” would establish a “principality” stretching from Mosul and Anbar in western Iraq to Hasaka and Der Zor in eastern Syria.
Air Force Col. John Dorrian, a top spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, declined to say what those troops are doing but said preparations are underway to potentially launch the Mosul invasion this fall.
“There’s a tremendous amount of work going on to set conditions, including the logistics detail that would be required in order to go after Mosul. And then we continue to hammer the enemy with strikes, including both artillery and airstrikes,” Dorrian told reporters Thursday at a press briefing.
The commander of the US-led operation in Iraq, Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, told the Wall Street Journal Wednesday the assault could begin within the next month.
In late August the Qayara air base south of Mosul was destroyed by retreating IS fighters. Destruction of the facility raised “new doubts over whether the long-awaited operation will begin this year,” Fox News reported.
Iraqi army commanders stationed at the base say it will take months of reconstruction before it is ready to receive cargo planes and house the tens of thousands of troops needed for the march on Mosul. Their assessments call into question whether Iraq will be able to launch the operation this …