The gift the Great Satan gave Iran was Obama. Having sought to burnish liberal principals of disengagement, he opened a westward advance of Iranian ambition from western China to the eastern Mediterranean. This will not end well.
Mosul is by far the most complex operation the Iraqi’s have undertaken. The opening phase of encirclement may take weeks, initial reports reveal a quickening tempo among advancing columns of coalition forces. Kurdish Peshmerga are advancing on three fronts from the east to within three miles of Mosul proper. The encirclement was to conquer surrounding cities covering the plain of Nineveh, then move onto Mosul itself. The major thrust of the Iraqi advance was to arrive moving north linking up with Kurds.
The Shia Iraqi’s remain in thrall of American thought to have permitted advance air cover with attack helicopters and small drones. Qayyarah air base is 40 miles from southern Mosul and remains ground zero for logistical support. Team Obama gave 600 military advisers for 25,000 Iraqi troops. This is significant because of Iraqi’s multi-ethnic sectarian divisions. The Iraqi Shia game plan was to leave open an eastern tactical retreat to Syria. They have, but it remains to be seen if it will be used to decimate the Islamic State.
How should we expect the Iraqi Islamic State to react? We should anticipate that they gather inside their western stronghold of Mosul and throughout the old city ramparts where smaller areas blunt superior fire power.
Unless the Shia governing Baghdad got their politics wrong, the liberation of Mosul could mark the end of the Islamic State. Expect guerrilla war, but pray that the Iraqi Shia can surmount a lasting victory.