According to officials familiar with the situation, the last flurry of reports of an imminent attempt by Iraqi forces to retake Mosul is a product of US desperation to show progress in the war.
“There is emotional energy across the country to get this done as quickly as possible,” one US official admitted, but Pentagon officials have conceded that they don’t think the Iraqi military is anywhere near ready for such a major undertaking.
There’s even been talk that US ground troops could be thrust into combat roles for the sake of the offensive in Mosul, picking up the slack as Iraqi forces struggle in serious direct confrontations with ISIS.
The loss of the town of Baghdadi was just the latest in a long line of failures by Iraqi forces trying to slow the ISIS advance. Suddenly retaking a city of over a million people that was lost many months ago seems far outside the realm of possibility.