The Guardian reports: Heaving on a huge, scorched metal door and covered in engine oil, Sgt Hussein Mahmoud was deep into a morning’s work. Twisted hulks of wrecked army vehicles sat incongruously in the coarse dust that was kicked up by still-moving trucks as they crept around Mosul’s urban fringe.
Two other soldiers with industrial wrenches joined in, trying in vain to dislodge the door from its hinges. “We need it for humvees that still work,” said one of them. “We’re under pressure to provide them with parts.”
Impromptu salvage yards have appeared all around the Gogali neighbourhood in Mosul’s outer east, the immediate hinterland of the war with Islamic State and the most visible reminder of how destructive, difficult – and long – this fight is likely to be.
The startling progress of the first few weeks of the campaign to take Iraq’s second city, the terror group’s last urban stronghold in Iraq, has given way to a numbing reality: Isis will not surrender Mosul, and Iraq’s battered military will struggle to take it. [Continue reading…]