Saturday, May 7, 2016

More News from Mosul

The British military has announced that over the past three weeks their special forces have kidnapped three "mid level" Islamic State commanders in helicopter-born raids around Mosul:
A senior source said to the Mirror: "There are a wide range of activities taking place around Mosul which allow our commanders to shape the dispositions of enemy forces prior to any engagement. Seizing enemy commanders has always been a key driver in changing the way your opponent thinks, it will unsettle them and may force them to make mistakes.

"From our point of view killing the enemy is not always the answer. If we can get a commander to change sides, as we did in Afghanistan, this can have major influence on people inside Mosul and save lives."
As with other public statements about Mosul that we discussed here before, I think there is an agenda to this announcement. The general British policy is to never comment on the activities of the Special Air Service, as they call their elite commandos. So this is no routine news briefing. I suppose they are trying to send a message, or perhaps two: they want Islamic State commanders to sweat and constantly scan the skies, and they want people in Mosul to know that their oppressors are not invulnerable.

Could it be true that the unwieldy alliance getting ready to attack Mosul – the Iraqi army, the Kurdish Peshmerga, Shiite militias with Iranian advisers, the US Air Force, American, French, and British special forces – is carrying out a sophisticated plan to destabilize the Islamic State so the city will fall quickly? If so, that would be truly remarkable. I rather doubt it, though.

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