In Syria, the prospect of a pro-US counteroffensive against ISIS seems to be permanently on delay for lack of pro-US fighters. Even in Iraq, where the government’s forces are allies, the plans are vague, and a long way out.
US officials say that the current planning is around the idea of mounting a major spring offensive in 2015, with the goal of retaking the major highways and several major cities from ISIS by the end of the year.
That means another six months or so before the counteroffensive against ISIS even begins in Iraq, and another six months for ISIS to become even further entrenched across the nation’s west.
Officials say the counteroffensive will involve three new Iraqi Army divisions, which have yet to actually be created, and that will involve 20,000 new troops. Given Iraq’s struggle to get its military back on track after massive defeats this summer, getting those new divisions ready by spring seems hugely optimistic.