President Obama's decision 14 days ago to approve Iraqi and Peshmerga forces undertaking the liberation of Mosul has well and truly blown up in his face with the news that the Iran funded Shiite Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) have now joined in the attack.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter certainly did not anticipate this development when announcing Obama's decision:
The United States and the rest of the international coalition stand ready to support Iraqi Security Forces, Peshmerga fighters and the people of Iraq in the difficult fight ahead.
Neither did Operation Inherent Resolve Commander Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend who stated:
But to be clear, the thousands of ground combat forces who will liberate Mosul are all Iraqis...
The involvement of 15000 Shiite PMU militiamen – designated by the Iraqi Government as "an independent military formation" - could aggravate already existing sectarian divisions in Iraq.
This could eventually lead to a Shiite land grab of territory liberated by the PMU.
The retention of land conquered by the Peshmerga forces is also a realistic possibility.
Iraq as a distinct and separate territorial unit could be in real danger of being carved up.
Obama must be reeling after further reading on that:
Ahmed al-Assadi, a spokesman for the Iraq-sanctioned paramilitary known as Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), said on Saturday that they will fight alongside Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's forces in Syria after finishing their battle against ISIS in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, Al Arabiya News Channel reported…
Obama's inability to remove Assad from power in Syria during the last five years has been a spectacular Presidential policy failure.
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