The Pentagon has been of two minds about the timing of an Iraqi offensive on Mosul, saying in October that it would be conservatively a year before Iraq was ready to move on the city, and then in November talking up a January offensive.
That January offensive is getting awfully close, and Iraq is looking forward to what some officials were saying would be an “easy” attack on the massive, ISIS-held city.
Now, the Pentagon is back to warning Iraq they aren’t nearly ready, noting that Iraq likely won’t have serious local support and don’t have nearly the Sunni militia backing they need.
The new warnings aren’t being welcomed by Iraqi officials, and MP Hadi Ameri, the head of the Badr Brigade, which also controls the Interior Ministry, is accusing the US of trying to prevent Iraq from getting too many victories of its own too fast, saying “they don’t want the people of Iraq to liberate Iraq.”
ISIS is believed to have some 5,000 fighters in Mosul, and about 20,000 across the Nineveh Province. They routed the much larger Iraqi military over the summer to take Mosul, and it’s hard to see how the military can hope to have better success this time around.