The US hurries Baghdad to launch an offensive on the Iraqi capital of the Islamic State terrorist group, guided by its own political motives. Baghdad hopes to continue to receive intelligence help from the Russian side during the forthcoming operation.
The Iraqi Army works closely with Moscow in the fight against terrorism, and Baghdad hopes that the Armed Forces will continue to receive intelligence on location, number and capabilities of terrorists from the Russian side during the forthcoming operation to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, the Izvestiya newspaper reported, citing a source in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.
“During the preparation and conducting of combat anti-terrorist actions, our troops received the necessary information from the Coordination Center in Baghdad, where representatives of Iraq, Russia and Iran work. This information allowed to conduct a much more effective fight against the ISIS than if troops acted, relying only on their own strength. I hope that cooperation will continue during the operation to return control of Mosul [the city is considered as a capital of the Islamic State in Iraq],” the source said.
At the same time, the diplomat also expressed doubt that such an operation could begin in the near future. According to the source, troops will have to clean up the city, whose population is about 1.5 million of people, and, almost certainly, terrorists will use people as a “human shield.” In this connection, it will be necessary to work out the operation to avoid civilian casualties, but it may take a lot of time.
Earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing commander of the international operation against the IS in Iraq and Syria, US Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, that the attack on the Iraqi terrorists’ capital will be started until the beginning of October.
“We are preparing for severe and prolonged battle in Mosul. In this case, I am talking specifically about a siege,” Townsend said.
The Lieutenant General noted that Iraqi military has enough strength and preparation to launch an offensive on Mosul even right now. However, the police forces and militias, who will provide support to the troops, need to undergo additional training.
According to Karim al-Nuri, spokesman for the Al-Hashd Al Shaabi forces, which are a part of the country’s army from the end of July, the US is guided by their own political interests, but not by the situation on the battlefield, choosing September for the attack on Mosul.
“It can be the upcoming presidential election, or Iran’s growing influence in the region, or even activities of our militia,” al-Nuri told Izvestiya. “The fights will be quite heavy, but we would not want Americans to interfere, as they will definitely conduct their own play,” he pointed out.
At the same time, al-Nuri said that Russia, which is working with the Iraqi authorities, shows its sincerity in the fight against the IS, and intelligence data, provided by Moscow to Baghdad, facilitate the fight against terrorists.
According to Director of the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies, Vasik al-Hashimi, Barack Obama seeks to resolve at least some of the “pain points” before leaving the White House, and Mosul is one of such “points.”