While the whole world was focused on the tragic events in France, a secret decision could be taken by Turkey to allow 62000 US troops to launch an attack from Turkish territory into northern Iraq. The troops could start arriving in Turkey as soon as Monday. The plan is for these troops to attack IS across Iraq’s northern border with Turkey and hammer them onto the anvil that is the Iraqi armed forces. In the last few days IS has been forced onto the defensive by the US coalition’s airstrikes, any movement by the fundamental Islamists is met by a high explosive response. With reduced mobility the guerrilla forces of IS have been forced to hold ground, they then become targets (if they can be identified). This should make it possible to defeat them on the ground.
There are a couple of potential problems that I can see with this operation:
- A brittle anvil. The US forces will be pushing IS into the maws of the Iraqi army which has proven itself easy to crumble under pressure. If this were to happen then Baghdad would be at risk of falling. The US and UK have troops in these areas providing “training” to the Iraqi army which should help to stiffen their spine. Don’t be surprised if extra troops are required in these areas.
- An exposed flank. The US forces will have their right flank exposed to IS, nothing short of a continuous defensive line could prevent IS from infiltrating the flank and causing mischief in the US forces’ rear.
- Where’s the border? There are no nice lines on the ground delineating the Iraq/Syria border, there is just desert. Any incursion into Syria would be seen as an act of war against another sovereign state which could have some serious consequences.
I wish the operation luck.