Battle for Mosul Continues as Iraqi Troops Seek to Oust ISIL
By James Hess, Ph.D.
Faculty Director and Associate Professor of Intelligence Studies at American Military University
The Iraqi military continues operations to clear ISIL forces from Mosul. Over the previous 24 hours, Iraqi troops moved to cut off any ISIL reinforcements or retreats from the north of the city. Reportedly, Iraqi forces have clear ISIL defenses to the east of Mosul.
Iraqi Army Offensive against ISIL Is Slow and Deliberate
The Iraqi offensive is slow and deliberate. As mentioned in various media reports, ISIL forces are killing civilians, using civilians as human shields and conducting other attacks. On November 14, ISIL conducted three car bomb attacks. Two of these attacks targeted police in Fallujah and another targeted the holy city of Karbala.
Karbala is a holy site to Shi’a Muslims. In 680 A.D., Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of the prophet Mohammed, was killed during the Battle of Karbala.
ISIL’s Anti-Shi’a Rhetoric Continues amid Fighting
As Iraqi forces liberate Mosul and cordon off the city during their advance, ISIL continues to push its rhetoric. This rhetoric calls for attacks against Iraqi government facilities, Iraq’s government personnel and Shi’a Muslims.
ISIL is trying to create a sectarian divide within Iraq and reinforce their ideology that Iraq’s government is not truly Islamic. Shi’a Muslims are legitimate targets.
The most violent and brutal fighting is expected to occur when Iraqi forces engage in house-to-house fighting. Iraqi civilians caught in the fighting, suicide bombers and various defenses will most likely slow down Iraq’s military forces as those civilians attempt to flee to safer areas.
About the Author
Dr. James Hess received his Ph.D. from Louisiana State University, where he studied improving analytical methodologies in counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism environments. He is currently studying the relationship between Islamic jurisprudence and terrorism as an International Relations Research Fellow with the University of Arizona’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies.