As Mosul Fight Continues, US Trains Iraqis Forces How to Build Bridges

Capture of Second Broken Bridge Makes Lack of Real Bridges Conspicuous

With control over the eastern half of Mosul and parts of southwestern Mosul, Iraq is in sore need of some bridges. The good news is, troops today captured their second “bridge” today. The bad news is that, like the first one, the US blew it up a long time ago.

This has focus shifting on the open-ended US training operation in Iraq, with trainers now teaching Iraqi troops how to cobble together floating bridges good enough to get them across a river, a skill that seems increasingly essential in Mosul, which is both bisected by a large river, and has no remaining bridges.

One might’ve thought the US should’ve focused more heavily on the bridging training before the invasion, particularly since US warplanes almost immediately destroyed every single bridge in Mosul during the invasion, leaving open the question of how Iraqi troops were supposed to get across the river.

So far Iraqi troops have been travelling way down river and crossing there, and then fighting their way back up the other side to try to get to western Mosul. Though this eventually got them into the city, it still leaves troops on both sides of the city disconnected from one another.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.