There are several key maxims when it comes to the prosecution of combat operations. The first is “no plan survives first contact.” The second is, “the enemy always has a vote.”
During last Wednesday’s debate, Hillary Clinton used our U.S. intelligence agencies — seventeen of them – to confirm that Russia is trying to influence our elections.
Now, this is the same intelligence under the guidance of the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who has said our greatest threat is climate change. And, we’ve had issues with the doctoring of intelligence reports regarding ISIS as we’ve reported here. So it would be prudent to take any “intelligence reports” with a giant grain of salt.
Against that background, the less than one week euphoria about the Mosul offensive is grinding to a very sudden halt…kinda like the operation itself!
Now there’s another key maxim about combat operations — “you don’t win on defense, you seek to counterattack — and apparently ISIS knows all about that. We must sadly offer up our condolences for our American troops wounded and killed in this truly unnecessary combat operation, as their blood is being poured at the feet of Barack Obama.
You know, if Obama is really all in for Hillary, he’s got a funny way of showing it. He’s making sure she’s going to be left with a huge stinking mess to clean up in Iraq.
As reported by the Washington Post, “Islamic State gunmen launched a brazen raid Friday on the northern city of Kirkuk, attacking government buildings, hotels and police positions in what appeared to be an attempt to divert resources and attention from an Iraqi offensive on northern city of Mosul, where the group is losing ground.
Running gun battles continued in Kirkuk for much of the day after the militants attacked in the early morning hours. By sundown, officials said, most of the militants, who were armed with grenades and suicide vests, were dead. A curfew was imposed in the city, and Friday prayers were canceled.
The Kirkuk provincial governor, Najmiddin Karim, said Kurdish helicopters were called in to carry out a strike in the city, which has a population of nearly 1.5 million. In a statement, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he had ordered additional troops to the city.
The assault on oil-rich Kirkuk comes just days after Iraqi and Kurdish forces launched a large-scale battle to retake Mosul, the biggest urban center controlled by the Islamic State group and about 100 miles to the northwest. Islamic State militants have often lashed out when they have lost territory in the past, including by carrying out bombings in the capital, Baghdad. Security officials say they expect such incidents to increase as the group comes under escalating pressure.
“They are trying to cause confusion and chaos,” Karim said. “They know they’d never be able to control anything here, and they came ready to die. Once in awhile when they get defeated, they try to show some strength somewhere. Every Iraqi city is vulnerable.”
It was not immediately clear how many people were killed in Kirkuk, but at least 13 died in an attack on a power plant and gas station in the district of Dibis in northwest Kirkuk, according to the Electricity Ministry. It said eight of its workers and five Iranian contractors were killed in the attack. Iran’s official Islamic Republic News Agency said four Iranians were killed and three wounded. A journalist for a local television channel was killed by a sniper.”
This reminds me of a great defensive stand and similar raid conducted in ancient military history, at a place called Thermopylae, in 490 BC. For those who’ve read Herodotus’ account, you’re familiar with the night raid conducted by the Spartans that resulted in an assault on Xerxes’ royal compound. It was a bold and daring attack that served to instill fear and terror into the hearts of the invading Persians, as well as embarrass Xerxes. And if you know your history, the Spartans, along with a few other city-state contingents, held the vital and narrow pass at Thermopylae exacting heavy casualties against the Persians for three days, until they were betrayed by a Greek who showed the Persians a path that led into the rear of their position. This is why we must study history, especially that related to combat, because there are always lessons to be learned.
First of all, I must ask, how did these ISIS fighters maneuver into the position to conduct these type attacks? Who is in charge of this operation and why did they not war-game out the enemy’s most dangerous course of action, not the most likely, in order to ascertain where and how ISIS could launch these targeted raid operations?
I remember back twenty-five years ago when we had a coalition in Operation Desert Storm. There was a command and control structure and forces had definitive areas of operations, zones of attack and security, and there was coordination along the lines to ensure no gaps by which we could be exploited. As well, we had very good intelligence then, but what happened here?
We’re talking about open desert here, not triple canopy jungle that would provide cover and concealment for enemy movements. Another key point is that at night in the desert this time of the year, the temperatures really drop, especially up in northern Iraq. So, individuals moving at night, and vehicles, give off a vey definitive heat signature. So who is watching routes and known infiltration lanes — something that also should have been war-gamed.
Awhile ago, I wrote here about the military concern with Obama and haste in conducting a Mosul offensive that was more rooted in political motivations than military reality. I’d also like to know, what is the troop-to-task ratio? Anyone who knows about offensive operations knows you need a 3:1 ratio when conducting an offensive operation — and chances are in an urban environment, you may need 4:1. We reported recently about the breakdowns between the supposed friendly forces due to varying national, regional and tribal interests — who will lay claim to Mosul in the end?
“Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad, said he could not confirm reports that coalition jets had also carried out strikes to put an end to the assault, or that one strike had missed its target and hit a funeral.
On Friday, the militants claimed to have repelled multiple attacks by Kurdish forces, including around the town of Bashiqa. In a statement, the Islamic State said it launched 18 suicide attacks. The peshmerga forces opened new fronts Thursday against the militants in Mosul, with Iraq’s elite counterterrorism forces joining the fight for the first time. Security forces made some advances but were met with tough resistance.
On the newly opened northern front, Kurdish forces said that “a number” of peshmerga “paid the ultimate sacrifice” during their offensive, adding that air support from a U.S.-led coalition had not been “as decisive as in the past.”
The counterterrorism units faced a barrage of 15 car bombs when they launched their assault on the town of Bartella, six miles east of the city of Mosul. A U.S. defense official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing situation, said a U.S. service member who was killed Thursday had been operating with Iraq’s elite counterterrorism service and was riding in a vehicle when it struck a roadside bomb. The official said the U.S. service member was the only fatality from the blast.”
Remember back in 2014 when Barack Obama told us Yemen was the model for his counter-terrorism strategy? You don’t hear Obama talking much about Yemen, and you certainly hear nothing about what’s happening in and around Mosul. If things were going great, we’d be hearing lots of talk…hear that? Crickets! This was supposed to be Obama’s little October surprise, instead he’s once again facing an embarrassment — along with the domestic collapse of Obamacare, and an anemic, struggling economy. Just gotta ask, who are they asking about Obama’s approval rating?
This past week Obama chided Donald Trump about whining…something Obama has been doing for almost eight years. Obama routinely tries to convince us of the horrible mess he inherited because of George W. Bush. One thing is for certain: Iraq was quiet in 2009, but now folks are dying over the same ground that was already won.