US military actively prepare for partisan war in Mosul, building a ring of fire support bases around the city.
US military prepare for an operation to pacify the population of Mosul city, the Izvestiya newspaper reported. The command of US troops has started to build a ring of fire support bases around the city. Artillerymen, who will provide fire support to units, consolidated in neighborhoods of the liberated city, will be deployed there. Experts warn that the successful storming does not mean establishing control over Mosul, which can turn into a seat of guerrilla warfare.
As the newspaper noted, a longtime operation to pacify Mosul, during which troops will have to eliminate the remaining jihadist underground resistance, will follow the storming of the city. This is evidenced by the preparations, which were begun urgently. According to information from social networks, on March 9, US military engineers from the 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division started to create a chain of fire support bases around Mosul. One of the published online videos shows soldiers and Iraqi workers, who equip positions for a battery of self-propelled howitzers and building field fortifications near the town of Hamam al-Alil, located to the south of Mosul.
Fire support bases represent small fortified points, surrounded by earthen ramparts and quick-mounting concrete walls, where a company-size group of mortar gunners or several artillery-type weapons or self-propelled guns can be deployed under the protection of infantry. Now, cannons, deployed in Hamam al-Alil, support Iraqi units, storming Mosul, and then they will have to cover advanced operational bases, which are planned to be created within the city in the case of mass rebellions. If necessary, helicopters can transport there reinforcements, which will be able to organize a counterattack or a clearing operation.
As Director of the Center for Analysis of Strategic Conjuncture, Ivan Konovalov, told Izvestiya, the US has every reason to fear partisan war in the city after its liberation. “There probably will be ‘sleeping cells’, caches with weapons and explosives,” the expert said.
According to Konovalov, US military take into account the experience, gained in Iraq during the occupation.
“During some time after the Saddam’s overthrow, everything was relatively calm, and then US troops began to suffer losses from partisans’ actions,” the expert told the newspaper. “There was a real city guerrilla war with ambushes, raids, blasts of landmines. A contingent of several hundreds of thousands of soldiers was needed to suppress it. The Pentagon, for example, very well remembers how they stormed Fallujah several times during one year and could not really take it under control. So now they try to prepare for possible problems. The creation of advanced bases of fire support will allow them to quickly cover any area with fire without waiting for arrival of attack helicopters or bombers.”
The tactics of suppression of urban guerrillas with usage of a system of advanced bases was worked out to the last detail by US military during the long fighting for Fallujah in 2004. At that time, marines had to fight against militants, ensconced in the city, for several months. However, this time, Shiite Iraqis and their American advisors will be at forward bases, surrounded by hostile Sunni population, while a modest five thousand-strong contingent of US troops will provide them only fire support.