Baghdad- Atheel al-Nujaifi, former Nineveh governor and head of the Nineveh Guards, revealed that “the U.S. role in supporting Iraq against ISIS is diminishing, especially after the Iraqi government’s rejection of the Defense Secretary Ashton Carter request to approve the Turkish participation in the U.S.-led international coalition”.
Security Expert Hisham al-Hashemi said that the U.S. air support dropped 68% compared to first days of Mosul battle. Both Nujaifi and Hashemi agreed in separate statements that according to given and indicators, the battle is expected to take time more than expected and that “some surprises might occur in mid-way.”
Nujaifi held the Iraqi government responsible for the lessening U.S. support due to them giving no attention to the U.S. request. “The U.S. provided all types of support to liberate Mosul but was surprised by the rejection of their request regarding Turkey,” said Nujaifi.
Internally, Nujaifi said the battle will not be easy now, especially after ISIS being provided with supplies from Syria, coinciding with the U.S. discontent regarding Iraqi inconsideration to its request.
Hashemi told Asharq al-Awsat that “ISIS wanted to fight in Mosul since the beginning and withdrawing was never an option, based on the vision of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who executed high-rank ISIS fighters proven to be negotiating with a third party to withdraw from Mosul towards Syria.”
“ISIS is counting on Mosul battle, resided by 1.5 million civilians. The group has also conducted reinforcements inside Mosul and around it which means that the battle is a complicated one that might lead to huge number of casualties as ISIS shows willingness to use civilians as human shields,” said Hashemi.