After 10 days of upbeat reports on the invasion of Mosul, Iraqi special forces south of the city have run into their first major obstacle, with heavy resistance from ISIS forcing them to pause their advance and wait for additional reinforcements.
While officials are treating this as a brief pause, it effectively means that ISIS has temporarily broken the southern advance into Mosul, and that only the northern advance, the Kurdish forces are still approaching the city.
That could be a huge problem for the Iraqi government, as in addition to fighting ISIS they’re in a bit of a territorial battle with the Kurdish Peshmerga. The Kurds have annexed a lot of territory they’ve captured, and that could make the Mosul offensive something of a race.
It also raises concerns about the Iraqi military’s readiness for the offensive, as in the past they have not reacted well to military setbacks. The ISIS forces have been deploying a large number of car bombs to try to slow the offensive, and the addition of machine gun and sniper fire has ultimately stopped the advance.