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Leading from Behind
Kurds: Iraq Won’t Be Ready to Take Mosul

Last week, the Obama Administration announced a bold plan to take back Mosul from ISIS this spring. It may already have already suffered a major setback, as one of America’s leading regional allies said “not so fast.” Al Monitor reports:

The Iraqi Kurds were “surprised” by last week’s US Central Command announcement that an attack on Mosul could take place in April or May, their new representative to the United States told reporters on Feb. 26. Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman cautioned that the Iraqi army wouldn’t be ready and that Sunni tribes weren’t united in how to deal with the aftermath if Iraqi forces do manage to take back Iraq’s second largest city.

“I have to say I and my colleagues were surprised by the announcement by the US that there might be a spring offensive on Mosul,” Abdul Rahman said. The plan, which was laid out for reporters last week, calls for a force of about 25,000 troops, including three Kurdish brigades although they would not be at the “tip of the spear.”

Congressional leaders added that they shared the Kurdish assessment:

Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., agreed that the Iraqi army won’t be ready by spring after collapsing under assault from IS last June.

“I’ve heard that everywhere. That’s why I was so astounded at the Centcom comment that they would be ready in a couple of months,” McCain told Al-Monitor. “Every estimate that I’ve heard is that it was far greater than that.”

If true, this is significant. It’s controversial enough that the United States announced an assault in advance, giving a dangerous forewarning to the enemy. But if it was done without first consulting one of the major forces that’s expected to assist?

Kurdish-Iraqi games are nothing new, and there may well be something more at play here. But if Erbil wasn’t warned—and if it, or Baghdad, isn’t ready to help—then this takes “leading from behind” to a new level.

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  • iconoclast

    Just wait until the Obama adminstration releases the power of the hashtag on ISIS. That will be even more effective than a press release.

  • Kevin

    A big defeat for the Kurds in the spring in Mosul might suit the administration fine – just one more reason we have to cut a deal with Iran and let them take over the Fertile Crescent while we bless their nuclear program.

    • lhfry

      Well, the US does not want to offend the Turks by encouraging the Kurds. Never mind that the entire rest of the world is now referring to “Kurdistan” as an actual place. Surely Obama and co. don’t imagine that the old boundaries of Iraq will be restored?

  • jeburke

    This is so not surprising. Everyone who is not brain dead knew that last week’s sudden and unconvincing disclosure of a plan to retake Mosul in the spring was pure poppycock, leaked by Obama and company because they were under the gun and having a bad media week for Obama’s shamefully weak response to the threats from ISIS and Obama’s ludicrous mutterings about the Crusades.

  • gabrielsyme

    Well, it seems that the incompetence of the Obama regime in ensuring the proper groundwork was laid is negating the incompetence of the Obama regime in relaying its allies’ battle plans to the enemy. That, or the Kurds are doing damage control and muddying the waters.

    • Andrew Allison

      Could we just say that the incompetence of the Obama regime (exactly the right word) regarding [insert your choice of issues here] is apparent? Acknowledging that there’s nobody worse than a reformed immigrant, it appears to me that this Administration is, or at least should be, a national embarrassment.

      • Frank Natoli

        Through the weapon of “executive order” and/or his control of the regulatory state, anything Obama wills becomes fact in America. This is a direct consequence of the majority of the electorate, twice, putting him in total power. 90% of his “strategy” in the Middle East is posturing but 10% is the belief that he can get his way internationally just as he gets his way domestically.

    • Pete

      Incompetency. What else can you expect from this affirmative action man-child?

  • Arkeygeezer

    The United States has refused to give the Kurds any arms or support except through Baghdad. The Kurds get their arms from Iran. They have no reason to sacrifice their troops to obey the bidding of the American administration. Obama may be leading, but nobody is following because they do not trust him.

  • FriendlyGoat

    Judging by comments here, you’d think that Valerie Jarrett, not U.S. Central Command, had been speaking about Mosul.

    • Angel Martin

      well, it’s good to see that after 6 years, Obama has put some outstanding people in the civilian and military leadership of DoD

      • FriendlyGoat

        DoD raises its own, do they not? Yes, yes, there is a Secretary, but the officer corps is what it is.

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