The Middle East is still ablaze. Russia is confronting the U.S. in Syria, Assad’s regime is hanging on and actually surviving, Turkey is now engaged in northern Syria and northern Iraq, and Iraqi government forces (assisted by the Peshmerga, militias, and other international partner nations) are on the verge of capturing Mosul back from the Islamic State. Yemen, not much in the news, is still ablaze. This is especially true where one of the combatant forces is the Islamic State.
Analysis of US Covert Action in Syria. Jack Murphy, managing editor of www.sofrep.com, Iraq war vet, and ex-Special Forces is interviewed in a 15-minute long video from Damascus. He discusses the frustrations of Special Forces members involved in training the Syrian rebels, the differences between Title 50 (CIA) and Title 10 (SOF) activities, the lack of quality recruits for the Free Syrian Amy (FSA), weapons falling into the hands of jihadist groups, and “chickhawk armchair analysts” promoting a go to war attitude with the Assad regime and confronting Russia in Syria. Listen to his thoughts on the inability of the U.S. to conduct a successful UW campaign in Syria.
CIVCAS in Mosul Fight. Urban combat is nasty and destructive – and has a significant adverse effect on the civilian population residing in those towns and cities where the combat takes place. Read more in “Civilian casualties are starting to rise as Iraqi forces push into Mosul”, The Washington Post, November 4, 2016.
Battle for Mosul and SOF. U.S. Special Operations Forces are heavily engaged in the current battle by Iraqi government forces (aided by the Peshmerga and militias) to wrest control of the northern city of Mosul from the Islamic State fighters. Read “US troops backing Iraqi attack in Mosul”, Stars and Stripes, November 1, 2016.
Iraq’s Special Forces. The leading force in the battle to take Mosul from the Islamic State is the “Golden Division”; officially known as the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service. The Iraqi special forces are country’s most professional and least sectarian fighting force. Read all about this very effective fighting force in “Baghdad’s Finest: A look at Iraq’s vaunted special forces”, Daily Mail, October 20, 2016.
Future of Northern Iraq? Douglas A. Ollivant informs us that there are a host of concerns in the liberation of Mosul and the aftermath. The various organizations that are fighting the Islamic State in Mosul include the Iraqi government’s Army, Federal Police, and it’s “Golden Division” (Counter Terrorism Service). The Peshmerga (Kurds), Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and other Sunni Arab forces are also in the fight. Each of these groups pose a political problem in the aftermath of Mosul’s liberation. Read more in “The Bigger Issues at Play: Mosul and the Future of Northern Iraq”, War on the Rocks, November 1, 2016.