Mosul Under Siege
“It Could Be an Ugly Fight That Could Take Months."”
It’s been a long time coming. But the battle is on to take back the Iraqi city of Mosul, aka the “capital” of ISIS. Overtaken by terrorist group as it swept across Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014, Mosul is home to the largest population center under ISIS control. To ISIS, their stronghold of Mosul is one of their greatest accomplishments, a symbol to the world of their power and control. They have no plans of letting it go easily.
Former Navy SEAL Robert J. O’Neill agrees. Speaking with Lou Dobbs on FOX News, he shares his outlook on just how tough this fight for Mosul is going to be.
Dobbs: “Mosul under siege now. Six villages at last count taken on the perimeter of Mosul. Your expectations…”
O’Neill: “Right now they’re surrounding Mosul. They want to find a spot where ISIS can no longer escape. They’ve got some Kurds to the north and east and the Iraqi military to the south. Turkey’s involved a little bit. We’re not sure how much. The villages they’re taking right now are mainly former Christian villages, sites where the worst atrocities were committed, so they’re not going to meet a lot of resistance. Once they get into the urban combat in Mosul proper it could be a really ugly fight. It could take months.”
Dobbs: “Americans are engaged there. I love this attitude that’s developing among some of the political elite who talk about special operators as if they’re not ground troops, as if they’re not Americans.”
O’Neill: “You’ll notice, too, when they start talking about on the ground, they’ll say ‘they’re advisors and they’re intelligence’. They did admit today…I’m not sure if it was on purpose…they said ‘forward air controllers’, which are the guys controlling the smart mission aircraft. They’ll say ‘but they’re not on the front lines’. The guys I know that are there…and there are Special Forces there (Marine Corps, Army, Navy)…they’re trying to get as close as possible to the front lines at every chance they get.”
Dobbs: “And the relations between the Iranians and the Iraqis, obviously, are better than the relationship between Iraq and the United States.”
O’Neill: “The relationship between the Iranians and the Iraqi Shiites. That’s the relationship. The Sunnis and the Iranians don’t get along at all. That’s what’s going to be interesting, because you’re going to have a mostly Shia partly Sunni Iraqi army trying to get into the Sunni town of Mosul, and the Sunnis there that were loyal to ISIS…what’s going to happen when the Shiites come in?”