chapter  13
7 Pages

In the Ruined City

WithJonathan Spyer

Islamic State used drones in large number for the first time in Mosul. Quadcopters, commercially available toys – but fitted to carry grenades, or cameras for reconnaissance. The jihadis succeeded in creating a terrifying urban battlespace. The death toll was high, in particular among the black-clad special forces of the Counter Terror Service, who bore the brunt of the fighting. On December 13, the Iraqis paused to consider their strategy. And so the government forces started to roll up the neighborhoods of east Mosul. And the jihadis fell back to plan their last stand in the narrow alleys and warrens of the western city. The Federal Police in the Intissar neighborhood in the south of the city were more impressive, their vehicles well maintained, their position properly secured. The popular mobilization units, in the Iranian style, were gradually building up that mixture of political and independent military power which characterized the Iranian approach.