Source: Prior disclosure of offensive ‘pure lunacy’
ISIS captured Mosul, Iraq, in June 2014
WASHINGTON – The United States has laid out a battle plan to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul in an April-to-May time frame, using some 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi troops who currently are being trained, a highly unusual disclosure that one intelligence source told WND is “pure lunacy.”
In a teleconference with reporters at the Pentagon, a U.S. Central Command official said brigades of Iraqis along with Kurdish peshmerga forces and Sunni militia will seek to take back Iraq’s second largest city from ISIS, which has held it since June.
The half-hour briefing attended by WND and other media outlets was given on condition that the official could not be identified.
The disclosure surprised many on the call who wondered why details would be released months ahead of the planned offensive.
An intelligence source who spoke to WND also on condition that his identity not be revealed called the disclosure “pure lunacy.”
The source referred to previous disclosures in advance of an attack that gave enemy forces in Iraq time to set up improvised explosive devices.
The Pentagon briefer said that all training and equipping of Iraqi forces now under way will be for taking back Mosul. He said that some six brigades of equipment now are in place in preparation for the expected Mosul offensive in April or May.
“There are still a lot of things that need to come together, and as we dialogue with our Iraqi counterparts, we want them to go in that time frame; because as you get into Ramadan and the summer and the heat, it becomes problematic if you go much later than that,” he said.
“By the same token, if they’re not ready, if the conditions are not set, if all the equipment they need isn’t physically there to the degree that will be successful, we have not closed the door on continuing to slide [the time frame] to the right,” he said.
“And, so, although we would like [the battle for Mosul] to occur in the April-May time frame, that decision will still have to be one we will have to contend with in the future.”
In preparation for the Mosul operation, the briefer said the U.S. will provide the “full range of military options that we have given [the Iraqis] and continue to give them every day from the training and equipping and the logistical support we help them with, the air support, the intel, the ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) – that full range and complement that we have been doing now that has proven very successful when we have the ability to plan, rehearse side-by-side and then execute have been deemed successful.”
The Central Command official said the military campaign against ISIS “remains on track.” He said the ISIS advance, especially in Iraq, was “generally holding as we had planned.”
Efforts now are under way, he said, to train Iraqi forces and to prepare to train Syrian forces “which will become a reality here very soon” in an effort to degrade ISIS’ capability.
Written by F. MICHAEL MALOOF
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