According to the Reuters news agency, Tehran is the main culprit of a failure of the first stage of the operation on taking of Mosul city and complication of the battle there.
After a failure of an initial plan of the assault on the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in Mosul, the US-led coalition has decided to find a culprit of its mishap in Iraq and accused Iran. So, an article, entitled ‘How Iran closed the Mosul ‘horseshoe’ and changed Iraq war’, was published by the Reuters news agency on Wednesday. According to authors of the piece, who cited some unnamed sources of unknown origin, Tehran “successfully pressed Iraq to change its battle plan and seal off the city.” As a result, such an intervention has shaped the “tortuous course of the conflict” and significantly complicated the Mosul battle.
According to the news agency, the initial plan was to close Mosul “in a horseshoe formation” – to block three fronts and leave the fourth, located to the west of the city and leading to neighboring Syria, open. In this case, militants and civilians could have used the open front in order to leave the city, and the Mosul battle would have been “quicker and simpler.”
“But Tehran, anxious that retreating fighters would sweep back into Syria just as Iran’s ally President Bashar al-Assad was gaining the upper hand in his country’s five-year civil war, wanted Islamic State crushed and eliminated in Mosul,” the piece reads.
As unknown sources of the news agency said, “Iran lobbied for Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization fighters to be sent to the western front to seal off the link between Mosul and Raqqa, the two main cities of Islamic State’s self-declared cross-border caliphate.”
According to the article, now IS terrorists just do not have any choice and are forced to “to fight to the death.” The authors of the piece believe that this fact greatly complicates the process of liberation of Mosul from terrorists. At the same time, they also note that now “1 million remaining Mosul citizens have no escape from the front lines,” and this also complicates and slows the operation of the Iraqi Army in the city, as they cannot use heavy weapons and the coalition’s air power cannot carry out airstrikes in populated areas.
But, wait… Has anyone heard that presence of civilians or allied forces has ever prevented the US-led coalition to carry out airstrikes in these areas? We know a number of examples, when airstrikes of the coalition’s air power targeted populated areas and positions of Iraqi troops, killing both civilians and the country’s soldiers. On Monday, from 90 to 200 Iraqi servicemen were killed, while more than 100 others were wounded in a ‘mistaken’ airstrike of the US Air Force. According to the Al-Arabiya TV-channel, on Wednesday, at least 70 Iraqi civilians were killed and more than 100 others were wounded in a series of airstrikes on the city of al-Qaim, located 550 kilometers from Baghdad. And these incidents are only the latest ones.
The coalition also could have opened humanitarian corridors in order to allow civilian population to leave the besieged city, as it was done in the Syrian city of Aleppo. However, apparently, the US decided that this move is not so important, as local residents have never been considered by the US as a hindrance for its airstrikes.
The situation looks like the US-led coalition was just going to drive IS terrorists from Mosul to neighboring Syria, and the move, taken by Tehran, prevented such a development. The words of a Kurdish official, involved in planning the Mosul battle, quoted by Reuters once again confirm this assumption: “In the west, the initial idea was to have a corridor … but the Hashid (Popular Mobilisation) insisted on closing this loophole to prevent them going to Syria.”