Iraqi Special Forces get beachhead in battle for Mosul
This is good news coming out of Iraq, as the fight is on for Mosul:
BAZWAYA, Iraq — Iraq's special forces entered the outskirts of Mosul on Tuesday and were advancing toward its more urban center despite fierce resistance by ISIS fighters who hold the city, an Iraqi general said.
Troops have entered Gogjali, a neighborhood inside Mosul's city limits, and were only 800 yards from the more central Karama district, according to Maj. Gen. Sami al-Aridi of the Iraqi special forces.
"The special forces have stormed in," he said. "Daesh is fighting back and have set up concrete blast walls to block off the Karama neighborhood and our troops' advance," he said, using the Arabic acronym ISIS. Bombs have been laid along the road into the city, he added.
It was the first time Iraqi troops have set foot in Mosul in over two years, after they were driven out by a much smaller group of ISIS extremists in 2014. Mosul is the final ISIS bastion in Iraq, the city from which it declared a "caliphate" stretching into Syria, and its loss would be a major defeat for the jihadis.
According to HotAir, one of the first targets was a television station, which they seized. This is important for a number of reasons:
Capturing the TV station is a major step forward, especially in an urban-combat theater. For one thing, it denies the enemy its use for coordinating a defense against the assault, which is important enough. The main importance, though, is morale and propaganda. Residents in the city may not have realized how close the Iraqi army was to entering Mosul, but having a live broadcast from the station will make it very clear that ISIS has lost ground within the city limits. The Iraqi government can also use the station to broadcast instructions to resistance fighters waiting for their moment to throw off ISIS’ tyrannical rule, as well as other propaganda and instructions to citizens trapped within the city limits.
For ISIS fighters, having lost that ground will damage an already weakening morale. Their entire theological justification for the “caliphate” is that God granted them that territory; losing it — and having the loss rubbed in their faces with TV broadcasts, when they start — will have at least a few wondering whether they’d miscalculated all along.
I certainly agree taking the station is a big plus, it reminds me a lot of the Baghdad Information Minister and his popularity for a while when he kept insisting that US Troops were making no progress, and then some Abrams roll up outside, and the guy is still basically telling everyone that Iraq was holding.
So for sheer propaganda, it is great. I'm certain resistence to the ISIS terrorists was pretty high in Mosul, and with the proliferation of telephones and other ways to communicate, getting word out on when and what to do should have been easy, but this may push some of the civilians to the point where they actually start giving INTEL to the good guys, even if they don't actively seek out the ISIS guys personally.
This fight has been a LONG time in the coming, so it will very likely be door to door, house to house, block by block, so I wouldn't stay glued to the TV for word of a full liberation. A French television station had a REALLY good segment on the wind up to the attack:
I wonder how many of our SF guys are on the ground there directing traffic. Probably a lot of Air Force guys targetting stuff too. Let's hope the fight moves on the way it has the past week or so.
ADDED: Another fairly lengthy but good video from Al Jazeera: