Fiercely resistant ISIS seizes two Iraqi cities

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US soldiers were Monday ordered to use gas masks after ISIS poured oil on a sulfur mine 70km south of Mosul that continues to burn near the US and Iraqi military center at Qayyarah.One obstacle after another – often unforeseen – is slowing the coalition’s advance on Mosul – as debkafile was the first publication to reveal last week. It is becoming obvious that ISIS is following a plan to circle around Mosul in a wide radius and pouncing on important spots for diversionary attacks:

Last week, they overran Kirkuk; this week, Sinjar and Rutba. Continue reading

The big Mosul offensive is stuck, halted by ISIS

Less than a day after its launch, the big Mosul offensive prepared for more than a year by the US, the Iraqi army, Kurdish forces and others, ground to a halt Tuesday Oct. 17, debkafile’s military sources report – although none of the parties admitted as much.  Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar Al-Abadi said his troops were busy opening up corridors for some million civilians to escape, while US sources suggested that the Islamic State would use primitive chemical weapons against the advancing Iraqi and Kurdish forces.

Both had the ring of cover stories to account for the spearhead forces, the Iraq army’s 9th Armored Division and the Federal Police special anti-terror units, being thrown back Tuesday on their way to Mosul from the east and the south, while still 10-15km short of the city. They sustained heavy losses in lives and hardware.

The 9th Division and its newly-supplied heavy US Abrahams tanks were stopped at al-Hamdaniyah outside Mosul and retreated, recalling a previous defeat at ISIS hands in June 2014, when troops of the same division fled under Islamist attack, leaving their tanks behind. Continue reading

House Dem: Obama Could Cause ‘Devastating Nuclear War’ With Russia

President Obama is sending an “expeditionary force” of U.S. military special operators to carry out raids against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, a move that expands on their decision to send about 50 special operators to Syria to coordinate air strikes.

“In full coordination with the Government of Iraq, we’re deploying a specialized expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on [ISIS],” Defense Secretary Ash Carter told the House Armed Services Committee in announcing the new deployment on Tuesday. Continue reading

US military ordering troops in Iraq to dust off chemical weapon suits

The U.S. military has ordered its nearly 3,500 troops stationed in Iraq to reacquaint themselves with their chemical weapons suits due to evidence that the Islamic State has obtained chemical weapons and used them on multiple occasions.

“It is a precautionary measure,” a defense official told Fox News, acknowledging the order. Continue reading

Australian commandos may join with Iranian Quds in fight against Islamic State

Australian commandos could work alongside soldiers from the feared Iranian Quds forces in the battle against the Islamic State group in Iraq, Defence Minister David Johnston has said.

Senator Johnston said the crisis created by the Islamic State’s brutal capture of vast tracts of territory was sufficiently acute that differences should be put aside in the common interest of stopping their reign of terror. Continue reading