The Skeptics

Is the Battle for Mosul Doomed?

Yet the situation is equally troubling for Washington. What will the incoming Trump administration do if the fight bogs down into an Aleppo-style stalemate? If the PMU enters the fight against ISIS in Mosul, and clashes occur between Shiite and Sunni militia members, whose side will the U.S. military take? In September I warned of the danger that a civil war could break out after ISIS was driven out of Mosul, but such threats may emerge during the battle if the coalition doesn’t quickly quash ISIS.

The United States has deepened its involvement in this multi-headed conflict in Iraq and Syria, and it is getting increasingly difficult to conceive of any sort of positive outcome. Donald Trump was in a celebratory mood on Election Day after the results were announced. He may be less so on Inauguration Day, when he inherits the wars in Iraq and Syria. Unless circumstances turn around quickly, he may have some excruciatingly difficult decisions to make shortly after he takes the reins.

Daniel L. Davis is a retired U.S. Army colonel who served multiple tours in Afghanistan. He is a senior fellow with Defense Priorities. Follow him on Twitter @DanielLDavis1.

Image: U.S. soldiers fire an M777 A2 Howitzer in support of Iraqi security forces during the Mosul offensive. DVIDSHUB/Public domain