web analytics
July 7, 2015 / 20 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Guerrilla-Terrorists ISIS Seize Mosul, Iraq: Territorial Strategy

Central Iraq is heavily dependent on Tigris water, and if the guerrillas can hang onto Mosul, and the access points to the Tigris, they will sit between the river’s main reservoir in Iraq and its customers.
The flag of ISIS.

The flag of ISIS.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

While it is not clear yet how much of the city the terrorists hold, what is clear is that Iraqi government forces collapsed and fled from the advancing ISIS attackers (“Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham,” also called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant).  The collapse of Iraqi authority has been underway since Sunday, and the most recent reporting indicates thousands of local residents are fleeing to escape ISIS.

In conjunction with the persistent ISIS assault on Anbar Province, to the southwest, the attack on Mosul is a geostrategic one.  ISIS is, in fact, trying to position itself to eventually take over Iraq, and control the interior nexus between Iraq and Syria.

Mosul isn’t just any city in northern Iraq.  It’s the most important hub of government and commerce – and the reason for that is the same reason ISIS wants it.  Mosul sits astride the Tigris River, which forms one of two main approach corridors through western Iraq to Baghdad, the other being the Euphrates River.  (See maps. Map 2 shows the Euphrates corridor six months ago, from this analysis of the growing ISIS threat.)

Map 1. The Tigris and Euphrates approach corridors -- and lifeblood arteries -- into central Iraq. (Google map; author annotation)

Mosul is downstream from the extremely important Mosul Dam, which was built on a flawed construction premise in the 1980s and is in a precarious condition.  Central Iraq is heavily dependent on Tigris water, and if the guerrillas can hang onto Mosul, and the access points to the Tigris, they will sit between the river’s main reservoir in Iraq and its customers.

ISIS corridor in the Euphrates valley. Google map; author annotation.

That is the same position they’ve been fighting for in Anbar Province along the Euphrates.  These guys aren’t stupid, and they’re not just blow-em-up-Allahu-akbar terrorists.  They’re executing, slowly but surely, a pincer move on Baghdad.  If ISIS has any hope of establishing itself on territory, it has to control some water.  In arid Iraq, water and lines of strategic approach are the same thing.

They’re also the lifeblood of civilization.  The farmers need water from the two great rivers, and so do the city-dwellers.  ISIS doesn’t have to be in charge of doling out the water, at least not at first.  The position its leaders aspire to – beyond holding what’s necessary to consolidate a territorial redoubt for themselves – is being able to threaten the water supply.  They are very close now to achieving that goal.

I do not assess that ISIS has a plan to literally attack Baghdad any time soon.  For the time being, ISIS wants to hold Baghdad at risk and be able to extort and snipe at the Maliki government.  Subverting Baghdad itself won’t be feasible until ISIS has established a broader base in both western Iraq and Syria.

What are ISIS’s chances of success?  The way to frame the answer is to recognize that conditions will have to change to defeat ISIS.  Iraq can’t do the job by herself.  Unless those conditions do change, ISIS has pretty good chances.

But conditions in the region are almost certain to change, as much as they need to, to defeat ISIS.  All three of Bashar al-Assad, Tehran’s mullahs, and Russia have reason to intervene to beat back the ISIS insurgency.  (There’s a significant presence of Chechens and Dagestanis – bane of Moscow – in the ranks of ISIS.  For the security of her entire southern flank, Russia needs to see the ISIS effort crushed.)

About the Author: J.E. Dyer is a retired US Naval intelligence officer who served around the world, afloat and ashore, from 1983 to 2004.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Guerrilla-Terrorists ISIS Seize Mosul, Iraq: Territorial Strategy”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Yeshiva boys learn Torah together at Beit Midrash Derech Chaim.  Due to their participation in a pre-army intelligence program, the IDF requires their identities to remain secret.
Exclusive: First Yeshiva Cyber-Defense Program Opens at Beit Midrash Derech Chaim
Latest Indepth Stories
Terms of Surrender

Dear Pres. Obama, A “deal” in which one side makes all the concessions is, of course, a “surrender.”

Michael Oren, Israel's Former Ambassador to the United States

ALLY is a terrific read because Oren has a mission: Defending&protecting the Jewish State of Israel.

George Soros: No friend of Israel

George Soros: “European anti-Semitism is the result of the policies of Israel and the United States”

President Obama

Sources say seemingly irreconcilable differences between the 2 main parties, Washington and Tehran.

Instead of accepting reality, the President is trying to hold on to an illusion.

Those who suggest further capitulation to Iran are wrongly harming the interests of the West.

Few Arab Israelis found anything positive in the decision of its MKS to join any Gaza flotilla.

US Jews prefer to be like their non-Jewish liberal friends complaining about “settlements” and Bibi

New Israel Fund & its supporters must be countered; Israel’s in the midst of an unprecedented storm

PM Netanyahu this week identified ISIS and Iran as Israel’s primary threat. It is a planetary threat that carries the promise of peace.

Haym Solomon, overlooked hero of the Revolutionary War, was America’s “Funding Father.”

Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive

There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN

Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well

When words lose meaning, the world becomes an Orwellian dystopia; a veritable Tower of Babel

Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.

More Articles from J. E. Dyer
Terms of Surrender

Dear Pres. Obama, A “deal” in which one side makes all the concessions is, of course, a “surrender.”

Iran Shahed, with stern decked out in Yemeni flags. Iranian flag flies from traditional position on center fantail.

Activists from US, France, Germany & from Iran’s media are aboard because the ship’s a cause célèbre

“…the Pope did the exact opposite of what the media reported: he urged Abbas to change his ways.”

The world’s more vulnerable to predation, eruption, and chaos than it has been in at least 600 years

Iran stands unopposed by the “international community” and is racing to assert regional dominance.

The S-300 poses a major problem; Israel will have to get creative as to if, when & where it strikes

In the last weeks of the talks the US excluded every other delegation from negotiations with Iran.

Israel has never invoked the agreement, but Israel sources say that its importance lies in its very existence.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/j-e-dyer/guerrilla-terrorists-isis-seize-mosul-iraq-territorial-strategy/2014/06/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: