This battlefield assessment of the impending fight for the Islamic State-controlled city of Mosul surveys the battlefield’s geography, examines the capabilities of the numerous states and groups that have committed resources to the battle, and explains the steps taken by both sides to date. This report concludes that while the Islamic State is outmanned and outgunned, it is in a highly advantageous defensive position that will enable it to inflict serious enough casualties on the attacking force that any coalition victory will be a hollow one.
Current reports tracking progress of the coalition’s attack on Mosul are exaggerated and overly optimistic; anti-IS forces haven’t reached the city yet and are beginning to face resistance as they approach.
The battle for Mosul will be a textbook case of urban warfare, resulting in high casualties for the attacking force along with high civilian casualties.
The coalition against the Islamic State is formidable, but it