Mosul fell to ISIL forces on June 10, 2014. After a year and a half delay, a slow grind offensive to retake Mosul started on March 24, 2016. The initial order of battle and the makeup of “ISIL” has been variously put at 7,000-10,000 militants within Mosul City and 5,000 more in the surrounding suburbs and villages. Arrayed against them were 200 U.S. Marines (tactical support only); 500 military advisers; 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi Security Forces soldiers; 10,000 Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers; and 600 NPU fighters. In the last offensive buildup, about 100,000 coalition troops (including 5,000 US) planned to retake the city.
The Wikipedia narrative for the ongoing battle of Mosul is laid out here, and all the links to news accounts are available in the page’s footnotes.
As you read the chronology, note that almost all of the fighting is in surrounding villages and towns near Mosul.
The terrain in this region outside of Mosul is flat and treeless, offering no cover for shifting of ISIL forces, reinforcing or for tactical maneuvers. It is not a good urban fighting environment either, so I fail to see much tactical advantage to militants in using this ground for combat. ISIL would also be tracked by drones, satellite and aircraft. Further, ISIL is outnumbered eight to one and has to contend with the aircraft overhead and occupy a city of one million at the same time.
Ultimately a large group of them somehow slipped out of Mosul and fled to Raqqah in Syria as well.
The following excerpts from “news accounts” give the flavor. I will mention examples from April, 2016 when about 700 militants were killed in one month. What about the wounded? You can read on in Wikipedia for subsequent months. There are a number of examples in which ISIL’s tactical and strategic command were eradicated as well.
2 April: Announcement that 40 ISIL militants were killed by Iraqi forces in different regions south of Mosul. Later on the same day, the Iraqi Army managed to kill 30 militants in the village of al-Nasr.
5 April: Coalition aircraft bombed training headquarters belonging to ISIL near the Grand Mosque in the city of Mosul, resulting in the killing of 50 fighters belonging to ISIL, as well as destroying their headquarters completely.
6 April: Iraqi security forces from the army’s 15th brigade, Peshmerga and tribal fighters resumed military operations in al-Nasr village south of Mosul, killing 70 ISIL militants.
7 April: The Iraqi government released footage that showed an airstrike conducted by the coalition forces in Mosul, which destroyed a bridge that was being used to ferry supplies by ISIL. In addition, many other roads and bridges used as supply lines by ISIL were cut off. On that same day, U.S.-led coalition aircraft carried out an air strike targeting a laboratory of chlorine-filled rockets, chlorine gas and other toxic materials belonging to ISIL in al-Saawiya village in Qayyara district, killing 30 of fighters who were inside the laboratory and destroying the laboratory completely.
9 April: At least 30 ISIL militants were killed by coalition airstrikes in Mosul. Two airstrikes struck an ISIL defensive fence in Al-Haj, south of Mosul, killing over 20 militants, pulverizing the base. Ten ISIL militants were also killed when coalition jets pounded another site in the al-Mahanna district, to the south of Mosul.
16 April: A coalition airstrike killed Imad Khalid Afar, a senior ISIL commander and adviser, near the Salam Hospital.
18 April: U.S. and Peshmerga forces carried out a raid in Hamam Alil, to the south of Mosul, killing three ISIL militants. One of them was Salam Abd Shabib al-Jbouri, the top ISIL commander in Mosul.
27 April: The Iraqi Army captured Mahana, a village in the Makhmour area located southeast of Qayyarah. The clashes and the aerial bombardments at Mahana resulted in the deaths of 200 ISIL militants. On this same day, the Iraqi Army shelled a gathering belonging to ISIL in Khayata village, in the Qayyara district, killing 35 ISIL militants.
29 April: The Iraqi Army repelled an ISIL counterattack on the villages of Mahana and Khardan, killing 91 ISIL militants.
Continuing on, in just one day (May 3), 200 more militants were reportedly killed. Throughout the rest of May, about 250 more were killed. In June more “senior” ISIL officers were killed. The ISIL casualty counts in these “village battles” were vague until Aug. 15, when 165 more were reportedly killed. On Aug. 16, ISIL’s “Minister of Media,” Abu Aed al-Shami (how absurd), was killed during the offensive. On Aug. 17, ISIL was hit in Mosul, where approximately another 100 were killed. This goes on and on until now, with several thousand more ISIL fighters falling.
Occupation of Mosul: Meanwhile, as ISIL is allegedly being badly punished by coalition forces out in the villages, they have to hold Mosul. There are a million people reported to be in the city under ISIL occupation. You can see from this city photo (at left), the occupation obstacles of the small and now diminished ISIL contingent. In addition, ISIL is facing 100,000 troops.
In 2016, I went through the Warsaw, Poland, 1944 Uprising Museum. This is when I realized how preposterous the whole Mosul story was. Incredibly, we are asked to believe this entire city is largely passive for over two years while being threatened with beheadings and ISIL terror.
In reality, they would have long ago been well supplied with air drops and other means to resist what’s left of the ISIL occupation force of 7500 in the city. At minimum, elite commandos from the Iraqi Army would be operating inside Mosul. At minimum, ISIL would be severely distracted and bogged down, if not overrun. The media has put out reports about the Mosul Battalions or Resistance inside the city, but then we hear that they are rather impromptu and poorly armed. This is ludicrous on its face.
In the Warsaw uprising (also one million civilians at the time), the Germans brought in one of their best veteran combat units, the 25,000-man Hermann Goering division to fight armed civilians. They also had to keep an eye on Soviet troops on the other side of the Vistula River. Even with Stuka dice bomber support and heavy artillery, Germany lost this division in the fight with 12,000 dead. The Poles lost 300,000 and the whole city was destroyed. In an event of this magnitude, we would already be getting considerable evidence of a huge fight from within Mosul. In my open search, I can spot very little. What I do see looks synthetic. It looks like Mosul is under some form of news black out. In the Warsaw Uprising, plenty of news and reports came out.
For perspective removed from the cartoon world world, here is real combat footage from the Warsaw Uprising. Has anybody seen any Iraq footage even remotely resembling this? This type of fighting is brutal and the weapons used today are far more destructive.
Instead, the footage offered from the Mosul “offensive” looks contrived. It is always off in the distance and remote. I have looked at several hours worth and readers can, too. I am left shaking my head in disbelief. Where are the combat cameramen? In WWII, as illustrated, they were right there on top of the deadly action. That’s what they did in the real world.
The following is a cartoon world story of an ISIL road warrior “suicide” vehicle. Who would believe that hard-pressed ISIL would use resources to weld this metal farce together? What knucklehead would believe that this would be effective in a real battle? I thought ISIL had already “captured” whole fleets of vehicles. What Hollywood set did this come from? Earlier in the year there was a preposterous story about an Australian suicide bomber named “Jihad Jake.”
I find this next video quite surreal. With a force of 100,000 well-equipped troops, plenty of open terrain in front and air superiority, why would it even be necessary to dig a big trench in this spot against what’s left of ISIL? Wouldn’t it make much more sense to deploy and entrench much closer to the city?
Military experts, please feel free to chime in here, because I just don’t get this script at all. Why is all this military intelligence even out there? It shows a military staging next to easily recognizable towers. The footage looks rather animated and synthetic as well. And this comes from Russian media, suggesting they are “in on it.” It may also suggest that the power players have agreed that Iraq will be partitioned and balkanized into three states: Kurd, Shia and Sunni. Curiously, the Turks have not been invited to participate in this Mosul facade, odd man out. Topping it all off, despite ISIL being cornered and severely outgunned, the coalition will leave an escape corridor open so that it can high tail it into Syria. Whodathunk?
Next, we have absurd footage of an ISIL drone being shot out of the sky. It looks like paper mache. Again, we hear about “intense fighting” and this paper “drone” is what we are offered. Then surprise, surprise in this war is a racket sucker born every minute fakery, we learn that the Air Force bought a mysterious weapon from Israel to shoot down ISIL drones.
Are you kidding me?
In the next video, an ISIL communication tower is shown being blasted from the air. Really? After seven months of “intense combat,” they finally got around to this now? You would think ISIL was the Russian Army. And what’s with the short-range, out-in-the-open, staged-looking mortar fire? Compare the casualness of the soldiers here with the Germans in the real war footage from above.
Here is footage from Sky News after “ferocious fighting” at one of Mosul’s nearby towns. About all we are offered is a pajama person yarn about how crack ISIL snipers focused fire on tiny windows in the armored vehicles. At 1:00, we are offered a view of a crude lean to, which is alleged to be a fighting position bunker for “ISIL.” At 1:30, we are offered a shed with a hole in the ground. Maybe a military expert’s reading could explain how this wouldn’t be completely smothered with even the smallest bomb, motor or artillery-round hit? Naturally, an atrocity story (against Christians) is then tossed in for good measure.
Winter Watch Takeaway: This was a very odd scene to piece together. Regardless, there were abundant and obvious fabrications and wag-the-dog elements in play.