Tomorrow, Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General Tim Keating will be in Brussels for a ministerial meeting of the so-called “Counter-Daesh Coalition.” [Daesh is another term for Islamic State.] Here’s how Brownlee’s press release described the purpose of the meeting:
Ministers will discuss a range of regional and international security issues, in particular their respective responses to the fight against Daesh, and how the campaign will evolve over the next 12 months.
Foreign news services are being more forthcoming about what those “next 12 months” will entail – essentially, the defence ministers will be under US pressure to increase their “training” role preparatory to an assault on the city of Mosul in northern Iraq:
US officials – who have been pushing Iraq to launch an assault on Mosul following recent successes including the recapture of the city of Ramadi – have repeatedly highlighted the need to increase the number of Western trainers in Iraq. The question is expected to be taken up during a February 11 meeting of coalition defence ministers.
[Coalition spokesman Colonel Steve]Warren said the coalition currently envisioned launching roughly 10 brigades for the Mosul assault, with each one representing 2,000 to 3,000 soldiers. “These are all to be trained,” Warren said of the soldiers. “Some of the brigades have already been trained but we want to give them additional training…”
The Mosul attack is projected to take place in about three months’ time. Mosul will be the third of the major cities from which ISIS/Daesh military forces are scheduled to be expelled during 2016. The others are Ramadi in Anbar province, Iraq (which has already fallen) and Aleppo in northern Syria which is in the process of being ‘liberated’ from IS control this week, amid a terrible loss of civilian life, and refugee flight. Read the rest of this entry »