About the Author(s)
About the Author(s)
About the Author(s)
What the Mosul Study Group Missed by Amos Fox – Modern War Institute
The US Army’s Mosul Study Group released a report—What the Battle of Mosul Teaches the Force—in September 2017, a mere month and a half after the Islamic State was ejected from the city. The report purported to provide lessons derived from the battle. However, the short time that passed between the end of the battle and the report’s publication raises questions about the report and the group’s research methods. Moreover, the “intense 45-day effort,” as the authors described their work, to study the battle and produce the report yielded a view of the battle isolated from its place within the campaign and dislocated from trends in modern war. In doing so, the report inadvertently misleads the reader on particular lessons that Mosul illuminates.
The Mosul Study Group’s report is an important work, one whose contents should be read and understood. But it also either overlooked key aspects of the battle, did not fully develop certain lessons, or did not have sufficient time to appreciate the meaning of some conclusions…
The Marawi Crisis - Urban Conflict and Information Operations by Charles Knight and Katja Theodorakis - Australian Strategic Policy Institute
Executive Summary: The seizure of Marawi in the southern Philippines by militants linked to Islamic State (IS) and the response to it by Philippine authorities provides useful insights to Australian and other policymakers, with relevance for force structure, concepts of operations and the breadth of activity required to deal effectively with the consequences of an urban seizure. One overall insight is that the increasing urbanisation of global populations, combined with proliferating information technologies, means there’s a need to be prepared both for military operations in urban environments and for a widening of what policy/decision-makers consider to be ‘the battlefield’ to include the narrative space.
The siege showed the unpreparedness of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for an urban fight: the AFP took five months to recover the city, leaving it in ruins and sustaining a notable number of casualties. This will obviously provide a set of lessons and insights to the Philippine military and authorities, but it also can allow other governments and militaries to assess their own readiness to deal with urban operations, either as assisting partners or in their own territories. This seems especially relevant to considering capability options for supporting allies facing comparable challenges, which could reduce military and civilian casualties in future operations.
The insurgents’ seizure of Marawi was accompanied by a systematic IS propaganda campaign (online and offline) aimed at projecting an image of triumph and strength. The AFP engaged in active counter-messaging to undermine militants’ narratives, encompassing the online space as well as more traditional methods of messaging, such as leaflet drops, banners, and radio and loudspeaker broadcasts. In the tactical sphere, this was aimed at avoiding civilian casualties as well as stemming further recruitment by and popular support for the insurgents. In the longer term, the overarching goal was to morally denounce the militants and undercut their support bases.
Considering the centrality of ideology and information operations (IOs) in the future operating environment, the Marawi crisis offers an instructive case when preparing for the challenges of an evolving threat landscape. This report therefore examines both the capability aspects of kinetic hard power and the lessons from soft-power IOs, and how they intertwine in the urban environment.
There are lessons here for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
This report makes the following observations and recommendations...
Lisa Schlein - VOA News
Destruction is seen around the Udai hospital following airstrikes on the town of Saraqeb in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib, Jan. 29, 2018.
GENEVA - The United Nations is demanding an immediate end to indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure in northwest Syria, warning the warring parties their actions might amount to war crimes.
U.N. agencies say an intense military escalation by Russian-backed Syrian forces and armed rebels in northwest Syria is having a catastrophic impact on the civilian population. Agencies confirm at least 160 civilians have been killed and hundreds more wounded in fighting over recent weeks.
They say 3 million people in Idlib need protection and 300,000 civilians who have fled their homes in the past two months are in imminent danger.
Spokesman for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Jens Laerke says civilians and civilian infrastructure are coming under daily attack by airstrikes, artillery shelling and barrel bombs.
"Since the 28th of April, there have been 25 confirmed attacks on health care in the northwest, including on 24 health facilities and one ambulance," he said. "Two of the attacked health facilities were hit more than once, and at least six health workers have been killed."
Laerke says health care facilities are fully protected under international humanitarian law, and it is illegal to target them. Few health facilities remain intact to care for the sick and wounded, he told VOA.
"Already before the recent months of escalation, the status of health care in Syria at large, and in particular in Idlib, was already appalling," he said. "Even though those facilities have not been hit, they fear that they may be hit. So, the doctors, the health care personnel are leaving, the patients are not going to those hospitals. Understandably."
Laerke says aid agencies are providing food and health services through mobile clinics to people who are newly displaced in northwest Syria. In addition, many schools in the region have been attacked, he says, so catch-up classes are being provided for thousands of children who have been out of school since May.
Here’s How the Marine Corps is Dealing with the Looming Underground Combat Threat by Todd South – Marine Corps Times
… Tunnels and underground threats have faced military leaders for centuries, if not millennia. But how Marines will tackle the problem is still in its infancy.
As the Army pushes specialized trainers out to brigade combat teams to build underground battle skills, the Marine Corps has constructed its own simulated underground fighting section at its combat center and is figuring out what formations will deal with the growing subterranean threat.
Marine Corps Times embedded with soldiers with the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division in February as they went through a week-long training package put out by the service’s Maneuver Center of Excellence and the Asymmetric Warfare Group.
The training consisted of a lot of room clearing in blackout conditions and practice breaching and planning for limited or polluted air supply and compromised communications…
Baghdad's Green Zone, a Barometer of War and Peace by Bassem Mroue – Associated Press
BAGHDAD — Baghdad's Green Zone has been a barometer for tension and conflict in Iraq for nearly two decades.
The 4-square mile (10-square kilometer) heavily guarded strip on the banks of the Tigris River was known as "Little America" following the 2003 U.S. invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. It then became a hated symbol of the country's inequality, fueling the perception among Iraqis that their government is out of touch.
The sealed-off area, with its palm trees and monuments, is home to the gigantic U.S. Embassy in Iraq, one of the largest diplomatic missions in the world. It has also been home to successive Iraqi governments and is off limits to most Iraqis.
Various attempts and promises by the Iraqi government to open the area to traffic over the past years have failed to materialize, because of persistent security concerns.
Here's a look at the Green Zone, past and present...