Applying Lessons Learned in Mosul

The Iraqi Army will implement lessons learned from the retaking of Ramadi as it prepares for its biggest test in the battle against ISIS. The terrorist organization has turned the Iraqi city of Mosul into a stronghold, and Iraqi forces, as well as allied trainers and advisers, are planning ways to retake the city of 664,221 people—a location Defense Secretary Ash Carter has called a “parent tumor” of the group. Army Maj. Gen. Richard Clarke, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division, which has been tasked with training Iraqi forces, said the Iraqi troops are using Ramadi as a “backdrop” to plan to retake Mosul. While Ramadi is much smaller, there is a similar geography and infrastructure in place that makes the upcoming battle similar. For example, both cities are dependent on bridges for communication and resupply, he said. While the US provided large support from the sky, including more than 20,000 hours of intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, to support the Iraqi advance, the victory was for the Iraqi Security Forces, Clarke said during a Tuesday briefing. “I’ll tell you, the confidence that was built during Ramadi by the Iraqi Security Forces in the aftermath has been fantastic,” said Clarke. “And, I think we all know that if they do this on their own, it will be a more longer lasting win for the future of Iraq.” Clarke would not provide a timetable for Iraqi operations to retake Mosul, but said the Iraqi army has moved a division-level headquarters there, in addition to moving two brigades to the area.