Mosul salient in Islamic State strategyOctober 23, 2014
Mosul borders with Turkey, and together with Kobani which it is trying to capture but is facing a tough battle from Kurdish fighters aided by US-Western air forces, will open a wide stretch that will be difficult to be retaken by the Iraqi army.
The vast stretch which will connect Mosul to Ar-Raqqa and Kobani, will also need Western boots on the ground if Washington and its allies in the Arab world or in Europe want to deal with the IS in an extended military operation.
The IS, an off-shoot of the Al-Qaeda has one wish: Get American-Western soldiers on the ground in Iraq in order to inflict bigger blows and kill as many as they can.
Boots on the ground will also mean more money spent by the western allies to deal with the IS, and the risk of losing more soldiers than it suffered during its war against the Al-Qaeda and pro-Saddam forces in Iraq in the aftermath of the 2003 US-British invasion of Iraq.
Here’s an idea of what the IS would want to achieve, in the event of a US decision to send boots on the ground. The Al-Qaeda is credited with the following American casualties in Iraq:
American Deaths since the Iraq war began (3/19/03) is 4489. The number of official counts for Americans wounded is 32021, but Anti-war.com says the number is well over 100,000 while another 300,000 soldiers suffers from some sort of brain damage.
According to Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, air strikes by US-led forces have so far killed 553 militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and also militants from the Nusra front which is said to be an Al-Qaeda affiliated group.
The IS would want to take revenge for this death toll, and other collateral damages it is suffering after the month long bombing campaign against its forces.
The IS would also want to inflict an even bigger death toll against the allied forces. The strategy is to frighten the US, Western nations’ populations of the capabilities of the IS.
It will have political implications in the US in particular, where military spending will take yet another surge that will unleash its effects on the American, western economies overall, similar to the era that followed the Afghan and Iraq invasions and the subsequent military battles that ensued.
Compared to the Iraqi deaths that resulted to the US invasion, which stands at 1.45 million, the US and western deaths are nothing.
But the number of US soldiers wounded in the wars against the Taliban, the Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq is huge.
The figures for other coalition troops killed in Iraq stands at 319.
US Military Deaths – Afghanistan is at 2349 and other military deaths in Afghanistan at 1127. Contractor employee deaths in Iraq is 1,487 to date and this number is rising with the daily attacks in Iraq.
The number of journalists killed in Iraq is 348.
It is to be noted that the beheading of western journalists and aid workers by the IS, displayed on video in social media networks, is altogether part of the IS strategy to unnerve the US-allies in order to get them to send their valued troops on the ground.
The conquest of Kobani, maintaining its grip on Mosul would also mean establishing a supply line for its forces along the Turkish border, but also along the Iran-Iraq border, which were, in the past, used by the Al-Qaeda in its flight from Afghanistan after the 2001 US led war that destroyed the Taliban’s rule in the South Asian nation.
Henceforth, the control of Mosul is not only for oil enrichment purposes, but also to have a tighter grip on the Ar-Raqqa/Kobani stretch which brings more economic and military sense to the IS than Mosul alone.
Article by Kazi Mahmood