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US: Second Offensive Could begin Before Mosul Operation Ends

A new offensive aimed at driving the Islamic State from their de facto capital of Raqqa could commence even before the week-old drive to liberate Mosul is complete. US Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters in Paris on Tuesday that the two operations will probably overlap, but did not say when that would be. Carter was in the French capital for a meeting of the thirteen nations that have signed-on to be part of the US-led coalition that is fighting against ISIS. Estimates are that the effort to re-take Mosul could last for a number of months, so there is little upon which to base a guess at the timing of the Raqqa operation. But the belief by the military planners is that losing both Mosul and then Raqqa would be a death blow to the global terror network and deny ISIS its basic goal: a caliphate (state based on Islamic religious law). European leaders expressed concern that under pressure of an assault on Raqqa – from where external attacks such as those that took place in Paris are planned — ISIS fighters will re-locate to their cities and carry out terror attacks from those towns and cities.