The Shiite world came into motion. The Iraqi army in Mosul broke through the defenses of the IGIL fighters *, defending the mosque, from which the "new caliphate" began. At the same time, the Shiite militia of Iraq at the border held its "meeting on the Elbe" with the troops of Assad, and Iran sensationally used cruise missiles against IGIL. All this is happening so quickly that it took the Pentagon by surprise.
According to the television channel "As-Sumaria", Iraqi troops have already advanced to 150 meters deep into the Old City of Mosul, breaking through the first two lines of defense of IGIL *. At the same time, the positions of snipers and firing points with large-caliber machine guns were destroyed, and in addition - three mined vehicles and 15 fighters.
Currently, IGIL controls only the central part of the Old City on the western bank of the Tigris around the mosque of An-Nuri - the very one from the balcony of which in 2014, Abu al-Baghdadi proclaimed caliphate and called all Muslims for jihad. This is not more than 1% of the city, but the militants fiercely resist and are ready to stand to the end. Only in one day on the front line eight attempts were made to counterattack using suicide bombers and jihad mobile.
This is the rare case in this war, when the place of the event is much more important than the event itself. As a rule, attempts to link the actions of jihadists to certain dates or geographical points on the principle of mystical signs are nothing more than a game of European reason. But the Islamists will defend the An-Nuri mosque from the principle. Moreover, there are no ways for them to retreat, and no humanitarian corridors, like Aleppo, have been provided to them by anybody - and they are not going to.
Coalition forces initially had the total advantage over jihadists in manpower and technology, but progress was exceptionally slow. Any resistance was suppressed mainly by ruthless artillery and missile fire, which was coordinated by American and European advisers from the base near the town of Kayar (61 kilometer from Mosul strictly to the south). At the same time, infantry battles between the US-Iraqi coalition did not attract, and the advance went on already practically destroyed city quarters.
As a result of such an offensive, the 9 Infantry Division of the Iraqi Army, Rapid Reaction Forces, police units and special forces occupied the Bab Sinjar quarter, encircling the encirclement of the Old City from the north. Prior to this, the control of jihadists extended a few more blocks along the river bank to the north and south of the An-Nuri mosque, and in the north they still had a connection with a territory completely subordinate to their "brothers in jihad".
In turn, the quarter of Al-Shafaah (formerly one of the most densely populated in Mosul, adjacent to the Old City) was encircled by huge Iraqi forces, but advancing through narrow streets was particularly difficult.
Judging by the reports of the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, he is not too disposed to frontal assault on the tiny area surrounding the mosque, but is determined to develop an offensive north of Mosul to the province of Nineveh with the immediate goal of the city of Tal 'Afar. Iraqi troops do not meet the big resistance in the desert, and 15-I division is moving rapidly on the eastern flank, releasing 72 hours of 12 settlements.
Occupation Tal 'Afar will mean the liberation of the Iraqi province of Nineveh as an administrative unit on the map - an achievement rather bureaucratic than military. But for Baghdad and the Pentagon this is a great propaganda success.
Links of the Iraqis on the "line of defense with snipers and machine-gunners" near the Old City are quite true. The jihadists turned the area around the An-Nuri mosque into a fortress, equipped with long-term defensive points, sniper positions and barricades, possibly totally mined. And the tactic of shootings directed at the American-Iraqi coalition by directing everything that prevents living will lead to the destruction of the mosque itself, which Baghdad probably did not want for propaganda reasons.
It should be understood that during the years of control over Mosul, the militants of IGIL have cleared the local population of disloyal elements, but most of the city has remained Sunni, and its eastern part is also Sufi. For these people, the destruction of the historic mosque would be, to put it mildly, an unpleasant surprise from the liberators.
Against this background, on a completely different stretch of the front, the Shiite Iraqi militia "Hasd al-Sha'abi" occupied the Al-Walid frontier outside the city of Ar-Rutba, where it met with Syrian government troops. It is noteworthy that the first shots of the brotherhood of the Iraqi Shiites and SAA soldiers were shown by the Iranian television channel Alalam, which once again demonstrates the affiliation of the Shiite groups both in Iraq and in Syria to Tehran. At the same time, the establishment of a direct road connection between Damascus and Baghdad only encourages local ones.
The American command clearly did not expect such a development of events, meanwhile, slowly, but surely, the notorious "Shiite corridor" from Iran to the border of Israel is being created. It is possible that this "threat" is greatly exaggerated by the kitchen geostrategy, but in the Pentagon and Washington there are enough people who think in such categories.
Moreover, Iran was not too lazy and struck with ballistic missiles of medium range on the bases of IGIL. To be more precise, the Guard Corps of the Islamic Revolution fired from the missile positions in the Iranian provinces of Kermanshah and Kurdistan by targets at Deir-ez-Zor, that is, kilometers at 500-700. The blow was carried out, according to an official report, in response to the terrorist attack in Tehran 7 June, when 18 died and 50 was injured.
This is Iran's first military use of medium-range ballistic missiles since the Iran-Iraq war 1980-1988. Even then, these were isolated cases, both countries did not possess the necessary technologies, and the "war of cities" of 1985-1986 was conducted mainly by the forces of aviation.
Iranian sources do not specify what kind of missiles they used on the bases of IGIL, but if they are notorious "Shahab-3", then the price for US missile defense, air defense and reconnaissance systems is worthless. It is clear that they did not intend to shoot down Iranian missiles (but the Syrian fighter was on hand), but could not fail to notice. Meanwhile, the US military command allegedly fell into a collective coma and did not comment on the missile strike.
By the way, it should be recalled that Shahab-3 is a creatively altered North Korean missile called Nodon that the Koreans do not fly or fly badly, and the Persians have turned into a high-tech solid fuel product. So the American defense system of the Far East can also be called into question.
Resistance of IGIL in the Old City of Mosul will sooner or later be broken - simply because of the great superiority of the Iraqi-American coalition over the jihadists. One problem will be less, but the rest will not disappear, and the war will increasingly slide into a maneuvering race for strategic facilities on the border and inside Syria.