this excellent article so far lacks its diagrams & maps, but i hope they will surface soon

Is Pindostan readying itself to re-invade and occupy Iraq?
Robert Inlakesh, Press TV, Mar 30 2020

Robert Inlakesh is a journalist, writer and political analyst, who has lived in and reported from the occupied Palestinian West Bank. He has written for publications such as Mint Press, Mondoweiss, MEMO, and various other outlets. He specializes in analysis of the Middle East, in particular Palestine-Israel. He also works for Press TV as a European correspondent.

Pindo soldiers stand guard during the handover of Qayyarah Airfield West to
Iraqi Security Forces, in the south of Mosul, Mar 26 2020. (Photo: Reuters)

Following the retreat of Pindostan forces situated across Iraq, down to a few key bases around Baghdad that now come under regular rocket attack by local anti-occupation resistance groups, in the wake of the great escalation of resistance in Jan 2020, Pindo strategic planners are confronted with only two choices: either leave Iraq, or launch a full-scale shock offensive in the country’s west, and subsequent occupation of the area, to regain the strategic initiative. Pindostan finds itself in this position for the first time since the North Korean army invasion of South Korea in 1950, an event which nearly threw the Pindo troops at Pusan into the sea, and forced them to fight a protracted defense. The Pindo units were only relieved after a high-risk amphibious operation led by General Douglas MacArthur, which saw Pindo and vassal forces reinvade the Korean peninsula at Inchon, near the 38th Parallel, in a move that decisively cut into the western flank of the North Korean army’s line of advance. With their main supply lines severed, North Korean formations were forced into a northwards rout that saw them driven all the way to the Chinese border. Although a Chinese intervention in late 1950 drove the Pindo and vassal UN forces south again, this was retreat from which they quickly rebounded towards the center of the country, and never again did they lose the strategic initiative as they had done earlier in the year. For a military force whose historical doctrine has been to always remain on the offensive, Pindostan’s current position in Iraq is terribly awkward and uncharacteristic of the posture of total superiority they generally find themselves occupying. This predicament is clearly depicted on the ground in Iraq, as shown in the first map, labelled ‘Current Situation,’ which shows the de facto zones of control across Syria and Iraq: Pindo forces (blue) and Iraqi PMU forces (green), as well as the Kurdistan Regional Government (yellow).

(Map #1)

At the present time, Iran maintains a strategic supply line that runs uninterrupted through Iraq’s PMU-dominated south, past the Syrian-Iraqi desert borderlands, up to Deir ez-Zor city (held by the Syrian Army) and across the central horizontal depth of Syria all the way to Damascus. This line was established to help resistance forces fight Takfiri terrorists such as Daesh, and other threats, across Iraq and Syria. Pindo forces monitor this supply line at a number of points across central Iraq and eastern Syria, but they are in no position to directly suppress (attack) this vital Iranian line of communication. Israel does on occasion conduct air attacks against convoys and positions along this supply line, which they never officially admit to, but the vast majority of traffic of fighters and materiel always gets through. Furthermore, there are around 9,000 Pindo troops in the country,) currently dispersed between seven bases, and only a third of them belonging to operations-capable units, the rest being advisors and intel/comms/services personnel that can neither defend or attack. Five of the seven Pindo base areas have to be resupplied by air, an expensive method. Only the Al-Tanf and Ayn al-Asad garrisons can currently be supplied overland, via Jordan. The reality of the matter is that if Pindostan wants to cut this line of communication, it has to physically take over the Iraqi-Syrian borderlands and place Pindo troops within the wedge. There is simply no other way it can be done. The prospect of fully re-occupying Iraq and waging an anti-insurgency against a large potential of its 40 million-sized population is simply not an option. It would require a force of Pindo army troops and marines numbering in the hundreds of thousands. However, an opportunity does exist for a large but less expensive operation, to secure the most relevant part of Iraq as far as Pindo-Israeli strategic thinking is concerned: the western borderlands region. It comes with a range of benefits, including locking down a sparsely-populated region ruled by local tribal (Sunni) leaderships that are pro-separatist. In fact, since Dec 2019, Western MSM have leaked reports that the Trump administration is considering a Biden-created plan dating back to 2007, to arm the Anbar (Sunni) tribes of western Iraq and create a Sunni Arab autonomous region, which should come as no surprise at this point. The problem remains, that air power, proxies and intelligence are simply not enough by themselves. There has to be a large Pindo force that physically seizes control of the area and then maintains an active presence. The second picture of this report and image shown below, titled ‘Pindo Offensive, Phase I,’ is the first stage of a highly plausible invasion model that Pindostan is most likely considering. It involves a shock attack with a large division-sized airborne motorized Pindo force, of 20,000 troops at the very least, excluding contractors, likely launched out of peninsular Arabia (the launch pad for the previous two Gulf wars). The triangle symbol represents an active zone of operations, which in the history of Pindo operations generally appears to be anchored along a three or four-point sector, whilst the circular shaded icon represents an overall zone of influence. Try not to take the defined parameters too literally; they are only there to give a ballpark idea.

(Map #2)

Overwhelming air support from Pindo combat aviation could be provided. This could be carrier-based and Gulf-based (that is, flying from peninsular Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar), and is effectively already available. The 82d Airborne Division already has a brigade sitting in reserve in Kuwait; the 101st Airborne Division could deploy from the CONUS within 24 hours; the 10th Mountain Division has extensive experience in Iraq; these are the most likely candidates for such an operation. In the event, they will likely be reinforced by various high-readiness independent brigades, such as the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Europe and smaller SOF (special forces) units. Attacking across mostly open desert terrain with undisputed air support, the initial goals of capturing the central and lower Euphrates valley cities of Al-Qaim and Ramadi could be achieved within days, without any exaggeration. By doing this, Pindostan would secure the Syrian-Iraqi border space running from Jordan to Al-Qaim, and anchoring the easternmost extent of the zone of operations at Ramadi, it could extend its current Jordan-based supply line all the way to the bases already in place at the Al-Omar Oil Fields. This action alone would cut the Iranian communication line that runs to Damascus. However, the problem remains that the Pindo zones of control in Shaddadi (north-eastern Syria) and Erbil (northern Iraq) would remain disconnected from the common operations zone, with a large PMU force north of Al-Qaim wedged between them. Lastly, by conducting such an operation to seize control of western Iraq, Pindostan will probably have no choice but to abandon its two remaining bases around Baghdad (Taji and Bsmaya) given their proximity to Iran, in the core PMU area of Iraq. The third picture, featured below, is titled ‘Pindo Offensive, Phase II (Extended).’ This is the second and final stage of this probable invasion model. It involves a second shock attack, north of Al-Qaim, across the Syrian-Iraqi borderlands region towards the city of Mosul.

(Map #3)

Equipped with overwhelming firepower, greater numbers at the point of contact and the initiative of being the attacker, Pindostan could easily achieve a rapid victory. PMU units based between Al-Qaim and Mosul in general would likely have no reasonable option but to conduct a strategic withdrawal towards the center of Iraq. With the easternmost extent of the operations zone still anchored on Ramadi, the southernmost extent still based at Al-Rutbah and the nearby H-3 Base, but the northernmost extent now reaching to Mosul and the Kurdistan regional border, Pindostan could establish a solid ground supply line that connects the remaining Shaddadi and Erbil bases into a common zone of operations. By achieving all this, Pindo forces could effectively lock down the western third of Iraq, and yet come into possession of a population only numbering a few million at the most. A manageable quasi-state could be carved out from this occupation zone, with the help of local pro-separatist tribes which would be armed to form a vassal militia in an attempt to legitimize the operation. There can be no doubt that in doing this, Pindostan will have de facto declared war on the Iraqi Army, the Syrian Army, and the PMUs. It will be a classic conquest and occupation scenario, that no amount of media PR spin cn describe otherwise. While a quick initial victory could undoubtedly be achieved in this way by Pindostan, there is simply no calculating the strategic geopolitical consequences of such action, unless something like this actually goes ahead. Furthermore, it will not be a scenario of 20,000+ Pindo troops just sitting back in their bases; they will be at war with at least three well-armed armed entities, far better equipped and more numerous than the insurgent forces they dealt with from 2003 to 2011. They will have to fight every single day they are present in the occupied space, to keep their zone of operations alive. For Pindostan, it may actually require an even larger force than the initial invasion force, perhaps corps-sized, to maintain the occupation of the space thus captured. We can add that this hypothetical operation will not remain indefinitely available to Pindoistan. There is a window of opportunity for it to take place, and that window is fast closing. The Pindos will have to make a decision soon. Under the cover of the COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity exists for the Trump administration to launch such a dramatic offensive operation, and essentially hide it to a great extent from the public eye.

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