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The ISIS War Has a New Commander – And ISIS May Be The Least Of His Worries

...“It’s hard to imagine walking into a more difficult scenario than General MacFarland did last year,” said Peter Haynes, a retired Navy captain who is now a military strategist at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments in Washington. “However, I think General Townsend is walking into an even greater challenge.”

...The rules of engagement could become quite complex very quickly, Haynes said. “What is the ROE if Shiite militias or Iranian forces start to fire on U.S. forces?” he said. Such an array of dubious allies makes some military professionals question the entire mission.

...If he relies too heavily on air power and artillery, Townsend risks civilian casualties and damaging the city, further alienating Mosul residents and making reconciliation more difficult. But he can’t let the fight drag on for too long. “If Mosul ends up being a long, slogging affair, it will make the political situation in Baghdad even worse and ISIS would be able to gain a huge propaganda victory,” Haynes said...

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