This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Setting The Stage For Peace : Israel/Palestinians

"We consider ourselves part of the family, part of the people of Efrat."
"Seventy percent of our village works in Efrat. They treat us very well and we are very good to them, too."
Ahmad Mousa, 58, contractor from the neighboring Palestinian village of Wadi Al Nis

"This is good [meeting as a group, Palestinians and Israelis]. Our relationship is evolving."
"[Jews in Efrat] should stay on their land. These are their houses. They bought them with their own money. We should have no problem living together — if there is peace."
Noman Othman, 41, construction worker from Wadi Al Nis

"I came for a reason. I came to talk about our relationship, between you [Israelis] and us [Palestinians]."
"[There is a locked gate blocking the entrance to my village, enforced by Israeli security ­forces.] That gate should be removed."
"And that racist sign? That should also be removed. It’s outrageous. [Signs posted across the West Bank warning Israelis it is against the law and 'dangerous to your lives' to enter cities and villages in control of the Palestinian Authority."
"It prevents our Jewish friends from visiting us."
Ali Musa, 49, from the village of Al Khader

"Some people say there will be one state, some say two states. As neighbors, we are already living together."
"[Those who responded to the invitation to come to his home were] true men, courageous men."
"I know there were men I invited and they did not come, because this takes initiative and courage."
"It is absurd that having coffee with Jews is considered a crime by the Palestinian Authority." "Initiatives that seek to foster cooperation and peace between people should be encouraged, not silenced. It’s time the Palestinian Authority asks itself whether it would prefer to fan the flames of conflict instead of working to bring people together."
Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi
A view of the Israeli settlement of Efrat, a few miles south of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)
There are those among the Israelis and the Palestinians who view one another as potential friends and certainly as neighbours since in effect they are neighbours. The mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, Oded Revivi, who happens also to be a lieutenant colonel in the country's army reserve had, in his capacity as mayor surrounded by Palestinian villages, gone on his own initiative to visit with some of those villages on the occasion of Palestinian holidays. He obviously viewed this as time well spent, getting to know some of his neighbours a little better.

Seeking to return the compliment as it were, he sent out invitations to surrounding villages in an open invitation to Palestinians that they would be welcome at his house to help celebrate the festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, where palm-roofed huts are traditionally built, in memory of the biblical 40 years of desert wandering as Moses led the Jews out of Egypt to a land promised them by God. His invitation had garnered the willing response of several dozen Palestinians.

Who arrived to find themselves in the company of friendly, welcoming but armed settlers, few of whom spoke Arabic though the Palestinians themselves spoke passable to excellent Hebrew. Perhaps not surprising in that these were also Palestinians who familiarized themselves with the language, as labourers in the Jewish enclaves. Employment is sparse in the West Bank and Palestinians are eager to find employment wherever it is offered. There is no general social aura of stigma in taking these jobs.

On the other hand, a senior Palestinian security official said days later that "any Palestinian co-operation with settlers is viewed as violating the law, as he co-operates with the enemy". What that security official is referring to is the generally accepted agreement among the Palestinian Authority's Fatah and Hamas, that friendliness between Jews and Arabs is to be discouraged, as "normalization" in social neighbourliness would lead to Palestinians overlooking the Israeli 'occupation' of land they secured when joint Arab armies failed repeatedly to conquer Israel.

On this first-time occasion when a Jewish West Bank settlement invited neighbouring Palestinians to celebrate a holiday with them, there was a general relaxed atmosphere and some surprising statements were made as those at the celebration shared refreshments. Some of the Palestinian guests among the 30 settlers expressed complaints over their treatment, though none of those present mentioned either Israeli President Netanyahu nor PA President Mahmoud Abbas. In response, some of the settlers spoke of the wave of Palestinian stabbings.

Within the Efrat settlement, over a thousand Palestinians come to work daily at shops, infrastructure maintenance, street sweeping, work on solar panels, on construction of new homes and remodeling of older houses. Work that the Israelis feel they are not suited for, and which the Palestinians are content to accept, to keep working and earning a living for their families at the settlement located a few miles from the Palestinian militant Gush Etzion Junction from which over a dozen Palestinian attacks against Israelis emanated in the past year.

Palestinians from nearby villages visit the home of the mayor of the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank on Oct. 19. Mayor Oded Revivi invited the Palestinians to his home to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. (William Booth/The Washington Post)
To everyone's surprise, after the amicable parting, when the Palestinians returned to their villages and the settlers no doubt congratulated themselves that their representatives out of their population of one thousand had warmly welcomed the several dozen Palestinians who responded to the invitation to take part in the Sukkot celebration, Palestinian Authority security arrested four of the Palestinians who had been present in Efrat for that singular event. One of those arrested was Riad Abu Hamad.

It wasn't his first time to be apprehended by PA security. Earlier in 2016 he had been interviewed on Israeli television to discuss his relationship with West Bank Israeli settlers. That too was considered to be an outrageous insult against Palestinian values that determine "normalization" attempts are viewed as criminal activities harming Palestinian 'resistance' against the 'occupier. Abu Hamad explained to his interlocutors that he had not committed any harm to Palestinian interests.

"I've spoken out against closing [Israeli] factories in the West Bank. We need the work. Where are the Palestinian factories?", he later said to an interviewer with an Israeli news outlet.

Israeli media reported the breaking news that four Palestinian men who had been detained since Thursday by their own government for visiting with their Jewish neighbors over the Sukkot holiday last week were finally set free. 124News
Perhaps the arrest of the four Palestinians represented a reaction by the Palestinian Authority meant to remind all Palestinians that it remains verboten to have any discourse or personal relations with Israelis, all of whom the PA considers enemy occupiers. Occupiers of a land mass that was traditionally heritage land of ancient Israel and which had never been completely vacated by Jews, although an influx of Arabs from Egypt and Trans Jordan had settled there at the turn of the 20th Century.

Partition, offered by the United Nations in 1948, to serve the needs of the two populations after the Second World War, was meant to solve the problem of Jewish-Arab clashes sometimes of a truly violent dimension when many lost their lives to intra-ethnic hatred and competition for land. That offer was gratefully accepted by Jews, and rejected uncategorically by Arabs, co-opting the original Palestinian designation that was Jew-centric for their own, to identify them in the mind of the international community as a deserving indigenous people wronged.

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The NATO Member and U.S. Ally

"They say, 'Don't go to al-Bab'. We are obliged to, we will go there. We have to prepare a region cleansed from terror."
"Recently the Republicans’ nominee (sic) Mrs. Clinton similarly said she would continue to support the PYD. A very unfortunate statement. I think the meaning of making such a statement in politics is quite different. In fact, I see this as a political novelty."
"This [arming the Kurds] must not be done because the region has sensitivities. Are you not aware that you have caused the killing of 600 thousand people with these weapons you gave? Where is the importance of human life?"
"They say ‘well, I have got weapons, let the bombs rain down from the skies, who cares if those killed are Muslim."
"[The [anti-IS] coalition represents 63 countries, all of them relying on] a bunch of PYD people [to fight IS. Turkey would never stand for] the creation of a terror corridor [in northern Syria, the Kurdish autonomous region]."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

"The presence of Turkish military units inside the Syrian border is totally unacceptable in any form. We will deal with them as an occupying force and will confront them by all possible means."
"[Turkey is guilty of] flagrant aggression, which targeted innocent citizens [Syria considers this] a dangerous development that could escalate the situation."
"Any attempt to once again breach Syrian airspace by Turkish war planes will be dealt with and they will be brought down by all means available."
Syrian Army General Command

"As for reports of Turkish Air Force airstrikes in northern Syrian regions, we have heard about these statements. We are very alarmed about what is happening. As I understand it, we are talking about attacks on areas inhabited by the Kurds."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
A Turkey-backed rebel fighter in Marea shoots towards Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) in Tel Rifaat [Khalil Ashawi/Reuters]
A Turkey-backed rebel fighter in Marea shoots towards Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) in Tel Rifaat [Khalil Ashawi/Reuters]
Erdogan, determined to make his mark as the resurgent Ottoman Sultan in Iraq and Syria, both of whose governments warn Turkey to withdraw from within their sovereign borders. He speaks of his concern for human life -- Muslims in particular, while relentlessly bombing Kurds in Turkey and Syria, outraged that the U.S.-led coalition is so heavily dependent on the Kurdish militias. This dependence on their determination and fighting skills owes entirely to the fact that they have proven repeatedly they can be trusted and they are committed to the defense of not only Kurdish enclaves but also for the lives of Christians and Yazidis seeking haven with them.

Erdogan obviously has missed his political lessons in American political parties and their candidates as being irrelevant to his understanding of what motivate the United States in deliberating on who, how and why. He appears as well deliberately oblivious when it suits him to what he most certainly knows is the source of the hundreds of thousands of fatalities that have taken place in Syria; adducing that the ultimate responsibility of those deaths must be the United States for selling weapons to the Syrian military, not the regime's deliberate deadly response to sectarian protests is just too obtuse.

Erdogan is rather a late-comer to the NATO alliance members' war on Islamic State jihadis, since up until a relatively short time ago, Turkey saw fit to aid and abet those very same ISIL terrorists. When push came to shove, he had to make a choice and did so grudgingly, turning his back on those he had supported and was complicit in furthering their agenda, not only by sheltering them and offering Turkey as an open corridor for aspiring ISIL fighters from abroad to flow through to Syria, but conspiring to aid ISIL's black market in fossil fuel sales.

Turkish warplanes and artillery have struck Syrian Kurdish fighters in the north of Syria with the state-complicit news agency in Turkey advising that up to two hundred Kurds were killed as Turkey initiated a major escalation against Syrian Kurds whom he accuses of being allied with the outlawed Turkish PKK Kurds. Syrian rebels have been advancing under the Turkish bombardment to take a northern Syrian town held by Kurdish-led forces. Turkish tanks crossed into Syria close to the town of Marea, heading to Tel Rifaat, determined that no corridor where Kurds will be established next to the Turkish border will be facilitated on his watch.

Turkey, grimly states Erdogan, is prepared to embark on a mission to do the necessary in Raqqa, ISIL's Syrian stronghold for its caliphate, but never, ever in coordination with the Syrian Kurdish militias, a stance which fails to sit well between Turkey and the United States, and which perhaps bemuses Moscow, which has agreed to its own self-interested arrangements with Turkey. That Russia and Turkey are on opposite sides in supporting Bashar al-Assad no longer appears an impediment to their improved relations.

Washington's trust and backing of the YPG Syrian Kurds is a reflection of their effectiveness as fighters well prepared to do battle with Islamic State. The Syrian Kurdish successes on the battlefield fuel Erdogan's fears that their advance will serve to give heart to the Turkish separatist Kurds. Turkey talks of driving Islamic State from its captured towns and villages, but focuses its efforts on putting up roadblocks against the advance of the Syrian Kurdish fighters. A situation not dissimilar to Russia and Syria declaring their targets to be ISIL, while besieging and bombing Sunni Syrian rebels.

Smoke rises from a bomb attack south of Mosul, during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 20, 2016.  (photo by REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)

Turkey continues to focus on battling the Kurds. Kurdish fighters reported an intense attack with tanks and heavy shelling. A senior commander confirmed the Turkish attack on his forces north of Aleppo. His description of the fighting was brutal, but he dismissed Turkey's claims of having killed a large number of the Kurdish militias; no more than ten fighters had been killed, he emphasized. Whether ten or two hundred, what Turkey has commended itself for is precisely what Erdogan has given pained voice to as violent persecution of Muslims.
Turkish planes have even been on bombing missions close to Aleppo. It is difficult to ascertain whether Moscow really is perturbed by Turkey's bombing of Syrian Kurds. But since they are allied with Syria's regime and the regime is equally livid as is Iraq over Turkey's intervention in both conflicts since it seems obvious by Ankara's direction that the Turkish military is not focusing on Islamic State jihadis, but remains fixated on bombing Kurdish enclaves, the lives of innocent Kurds really do lie at Erdogan's paranoid feet.
And even while a relative lull occasioned by a 'humanitarian pause' announced by Syria and Russia was taking place, Turkish jets escalated their bombing in Aleppo province. The presence of Turkish troops on Syrian soil, according to the Syrian military, is a "dangerous escalation and flagrant breach of Syria's sovereignty". Any Turkish warplanes entering Syrian air space would be shot down, warned the Syrian military. Perhaps this is an issue urgent enough for Damascus to more fully discuss with Moscow, in its refreshed alliance with Turkey.

A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet
© AP Photo/ Anatolia, Kenan Gurbuz

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pronoun Sensitive Authoritarianism

"Because the logic underlying the arguments is that ... biological sex, gender identity and gender expression vary independently [happens to be] absolutely contradicted by the data. It has become unmoored from the underlying reality [representing] all interpretation."
"Well, if it's all interpretation it's not distinguishable from fashion."
"I started to understand the role that ideology played in these underlying horrors of the 20th century and that put me deep into the study of the psychology of religion and that's really what happened."
"I've had a number of clients who have been bullied into states of mental uncertainty by their politically correct peers."
University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson, psychologist, author, intellectual, iconoclast
Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor who refuses to use gender neutral pronouns, participates in a heated discussion with some students at the university's downtown campus.
Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor who refuses to use gender neutral pronouns, participates in a heated discussion with some students at the university's downtown campus.  (Eduardo Lima / METRO NEWS)

Professor Peterson has no love of pretension and demandingly entitled social blackmail engaged in by gender-confused, alt-gender and all other individuals who refuse to conform to their biologically determined sex, pouting and blaming general society for their lack of acceptance as "normal but different", a group that includes so many alternates to the binary relationships of nature-conventional male and female, that he has risked his professional standing by taking a deliberate stand to express his denial and frustration with the issues of political correctness in the tender matter of gender.

It is most certainly worth asking the question: when did social sanity fly out the door to become a mass psychosis genuflecting to the petulance and accusations coming out of the alt-gender community? The answer may very well be when society surrendered to guilt over never having in the past, taken the situation seriously and using the issue as a topic for light-hearted incredulity. And, of course, much, much worse in less polite and politic, diplomacy-absent portions of society. When, then, society opened the window to increasingly absurdly dysfunctional socially-gendered demands and took them seriously.

Sex and gender, in fact, are private matters. And as such have no loudly, glaringly visible place in the social arena. In the sense that what happens in the bedrooms of the nation should remain there, discreetly, behind locked doors. As in who, really, cares? Do your own thing. Enjoy it, take pleasure in it, keep it to yourselves, don't flaunt it, because no one is interested. Of course under the new, open and accepting mind-bending social aura, what was once viewed as an absurd circus is now viewed as a respected sideshow, and gay parades are vaunted and lauded as a symbol of society's accepting manner.

Where once people paid admission to enter circus sideshows, they now flock to downtown streets of towns and cities in the Western world to show their grovelling support for the garish display of rude and nasty costuming and behaviour that once was guaranteed to bring embarrassment and shame to the minds and hearts of ordinary people. Ordinary people have now become aficionados of coarse and offensive behaviour in public, chuckling with appreciation at the bizarre and the wretched display of sexual license gone frantically insane.

Professor Peterson alleges none of this; he is an academic, a diplomat though his detractors would deny that, who simply insists on making a distinction between the absurd and the acceptable. Language in particular matters to him very particularly, and when language is contorted unreasonably and made effectively meaningless on the assertively loud whims of a minority he finds it unacceptably offensive. He advocates for simple, intelligent and workable language to defy the chaos of reworking society, subordinating it to a juvenile whim, complicating human inter-communication.

"One of the things I've come to understand is that the central functional axiom of Western civilization is that language ... is the process that keeps chaos and order in balance ... and that when [language is] corrupted, we careen into chaos or pathological order." Not for him the efficacy of appeasing the demands of the LGBTQIA community or communities by surrendering to the dire necessity not to continue hurting their tender feelings by committing to their non-binary gender pronouns. "The people who made these words are possessed by ideology and not to be trusted", he claims.

"We're going to have 31 different classes of pronouns? No, we're not. It's just not possible. People can't do that. Our language doesn't allow for that; we can't remember that; what if we make a mistake?" In New York City, evidently 31 gender identities and expressions have now been formally recognized. From "bi-gendered" to "agender", "gender-gifted" to "genderbender", and how about "genderfluid"? To make light of these demands is to insult those who count upon the goodwill and weak spines of those unwilling to be identified as philosophically Philistine.

"Part of it, apart from the untenability, is that ... you actually don't have the right to demand that of someone. You know that every individual is surrounded by the mass of humanity. And the mass of humanity is to be categorized in the fastest and simplest manner possible because you can't do it any other way. We use 'he' and 'she', and we use 'they' when there's more than one person, and we do that for purposes of simplicity of interaction. And for you to come to say, 'You have to mark me out as singularly special in the manner that I require and you have to remember it, no, it's like, no, you can't ask that of me, because you're actually not singularly special."
Professor Jordan Peterson claims that the University of Toronto is attempting to transform its human resources department into "a politically correct institution."
Michael Peake/Postmedia/File     Professor Jordan Peterson claims that the University of Toronto is attempting to transform its human resources department into "a politically correct institution."

His colleagues at University of Toronto are scandalized. He received two warning letters, one from the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences which Dr. Peterson identifies as "an exemplar of Orwellian doublespeak", reminding him that the university is engaged in protecting the issue of gender neutrality, as gender identity and expression are now protected classes in the human rights code. The arts dean wrote of the university stance on free speech to be defended, and a paragraph later felt the need to impose a limit on free speech emanating from Dr. Peterson.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Enter the Resolute, Powerful New Russia

"The ancient city of Aleppo, a place of millennial civility and beauty, is today a slaughterhouse - a gruesome locus of pain and fear, where the lifeless bodies of small children are trapped under streets of rubble and pregnant women deliberately bombed."
"[The siege and bombardment of Aleppo's rebel-held east are among the] crimes of historic proportions [being committed in Syria]."
"[The Human Rights staff has] documented violations of international humanitarian law by all parties in Aleppo."
"Armed opposition groups continue to fire mortars and other projectiles into civilian neighbourhoods of western Aleppo, but indiscriminate air strikes across the eastern part of the city by government forces and their allies are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties."
"These violations constitute war crimes. And if knowingly committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilians, they constitute crimes against humanity."
"[The failure of the international community - particularly the UN Security Council - to protect civilians and halt the bloodshed] should haunt every one of us."
UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein
People listen to a speech by UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein at the Human Rights Council in Geneva (21 October 2016)

EPA -- Zeid Raad Al Hussein said the failure to protect civilians in Syria "should haunt everyone of us"
"Crimes of historic proportions" were being perpetrated in eastern Aleppo and elsewhere within the country, an impassioned accusation that an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva heard from its head, Mr. Zeid, causing Syria's permanent representative to the United Nations, Hussam al-Din Ala, to respond with his own livid and dismissive statement as he insisted that the Syrian government was entirely within its rights under international law to defend itself against terrorism.

A self-exculpatory explanation that obviously failed to impress those present, including the charity Save the Children which issued its own warning, that aid workers and medical professionals stationed in eastern Aleppo engaged in life-saving humanitarian efforts were sending reports of widespread use of cluster bombs, banned under international law. A statement surprising no one who can use their mental faculties to interpret what they see, hear and read.

How refreshing: the Human Rights Council actually exercising its franchise to pinpoint and illuminate with all the horrified dismay it deserves, the medieval criminality of a modern-day, supposedly civil-advanced nation in the Middle East, pitilessly targeting its own civilian population for annihilation with the use of both technologically advanced and internationally forbidden weapons, from chemical attacks to barrel bombs to bunker-busters. Ably assisted by an emerging world power; Russia.

And because of missing security guarantees, and given that humanitarian groups associated with the United Nations have previously suffered the misfortune of coming under fire from Russian and Syrian warplanes and bombs, the UN stated it had no option but to delay plans to proceed with medical evacuations from Aleppo, hoping to take advantage of the second eleven-hour "humanitarian pause" unilaterally declared on generous impulse by Syria and Russia. Who that pause has benefited has been a puzzle, other than to symbolically demonstrate the humanitarianism compelling the two allies.
One of the roads in Bustan al-Qasr that people would have to use to access one of the safe exit points opened for people wishing to leave rebel-held areas of Aleppo (20 October 2016)
Russia has told civilians to leave rebel-held Aleppo through several corridors-- Reuters
Russia plans, it has announced, to suspend air strikes between 08:00 and 19:00 local time on Saturday to enable both civilians and rebels to leave the city through what they describe as safe corridors. Both civilians and rebels can be forgiven for construing that invitation as a possible forfeiture of life and limb, given their experiences to date of Russian humanitarian offers. The result being that, unsurprisingly, very few people have reportedly taken advantage of the offer. As for the rebel factions, their lack of gratitude can be assessed in their assertion that to do so would result in forced displacement and surrender.

Meanwhile, passing through the English Channel in international waters, a Russian naval convoy of war ships from the Norwegian Sea is en route to Syria through the eastern Mediterranean. Among them is the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the only carrier in the Russian navy. The aircraft carrier is capable of carrying over 50 aircraft. Its weapons systems include granit anti-ship cruise missiles, a formidable combination. One can be forgiven for speculating further on the need to dispatch such a convoy, and to that particular geographic point.

Map showing route of Russian task force
According to Friday's Komsomolskaya Pravda: "This is no tourist trip to the Med. It will strengthen Russia's current naval presence off the Syrian coast and provide air cover. The aircraft carrier planes and on-board weapons may also be used for strikes against terrorists." Strikes against terrorists? What terrorists? The besieged Sunni Syrians in Aleppo and elsewhere who have already paid the price of protesting their unequal status in a Shiite-led government that describes its civilian opponents as terrorists?

The venerable British Broadcasting Corporation reads the ominous signs somewhat differently, as a symbolic message to the West, that Russia, powerful Russia, is back in the game, and equal in its resolute military manifestations wherever Mother Russia's interests lie geographically, to any significant presence the West is capable of cobbling together. Russia means business, it is a re-emerging power capable of rising above and beyond the criticism levelled at it by a jealous and paranoid NATO, and the rest of world had better recognize that fact.

Russian aircraft carrier travelling through the Channel

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In the Collective Opposition to Islamic State, Iraq's Shiite Military and Militias Consider Themselves the Alphas, Degrade the Equality of Iraqi Sunnis

"The killings and abuses committed by ISIL fighters when they captured Mosul in 2014, and the horrors they have subjected its inhabitants to ever since, should leave us in no doubt as to the risk civilians face."
"[There remains] a grave danger that ISIL fighters will not only use such vulnerable people as human shields but may opt to kill them rather than see them liberated."
Zeid Raad Al Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Newly displaced people wait to receive food supplies at a processing center for displaced people In Qayyara, south of Mosul, Iraq October 21, 2016
So far, only 'modest' numbers of people have fled Mosul, the UN says -- Reuters
Islamic State fighters have prodded, threatened and herded hundreds of Iraqi Sunni families out of their towns and villages on the Nineveh plain, on the eastern edge of Mosul, to walk the considerable lengths from their villages into the city of Mosul. This move transcends mere threats -- when civilians are seen to be on the verge of altering their allegiance to the Sunni caliphate they likely welcomed when two years earlier the Islamic State jihadis overran the area -- the threats turn to violence and killings. The United Nations is citing this forced march of civilians into Mosul as proof that ISIL refuses to permit families to flee the area to seek haven in territory now held by the Iraqi army.

This interpretation of events relating to the Iraqi civilians in the area, caught between their oppressors loyal to ISIL, and the onslaught of the Iraqi, mostly Shiite military, may be illusory in nature. There is no trust whatever between Iraq's Sunni civilian population and the Shiite-led government of Iraq. And that situation prevails precisely because the Shiite-led government has chosen to give equal recognition to its Iraqi Sunnis short shrift. The civilians living in the now-largely-evacuated villages have turned instead to protection from Iraqi Kurds.

Islamic State is fighting back as only they appear to be capable of; or, at the very least reflective of the ideological passion of hatred that demands live sacrifices to appease the rage of militant Islam. They have been reported by witnesses to have executed by deadly fire, 284 men and boys in a paroxysm of vengeance as Iraqi troops begin to enter Mosul. The bodies were scooped by a bulldozer into a vacant building in the north of the city, once the need to use that group of men and boys as human shields was trumped by the more urgent need to massacre them, symbolically.

And with the escaping Mosul residents streaming out of the city and into Kurdistan, have inevitably been some ISIL fighters. They mounted an attack in Kirkuk, yesterday, attacking government buildings and a power station under construction, killing thirteen employees and at least six police officers. This was meant to be a counter-attack to demonstrate that the jihadis have not been defanged, the attack "clearly aimed at diverting the Iraqi army" from Mosul, according to the BBC's Richard Galpin, in northern Iraq.

However, in the aftermath of the attack, the governor of Kirkuk, Najm al-Din Karim, claimed that Peshmerga fighters and counter-terrorism forces were completely in control of the situation, blaming the attack on Islamic State sleeper cells.

Iraq’s troops fly Shiite flags in Mosul fight against ISIS, stoking tensions
Iraqi soldiers stoking tensions with Sunni Iraqis by flying Shiite flags -- wsj.com

In this most unconventional of conflicts, complications and distractions are everywhere in a region beset with tribal, ethnic and sectarian grudges. The very Iraqi soldiers engaged in the conflict to retake the largely Sunni city of Mosul from Islamic State have taken to mounting Shiite flags on their vehicles and raising them atop buildings. It takes no genius to realize that by doing this, they are stoking the often-violent sectarian divisions that Iraq’s government has sworn it intended to repair.

Affixed onto tanks or hoisted over government checkpoints and homes in reclaimed Sunni villages, these flags reflecting Shiite Muslim symbols often dwarf the Iraqi flags next to them. The flags' flagrant presence not only rankles Iraqi Sunnis but the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters taking part in the assault, as well. Sunnis regard the flag display as having the practical effect of undermining the Iraqi government's message of national unity against Islamic State, serving instead to reinforces their long-held impression that they are not accepted in Iraq’s state and security structure.

A Shiite religious flag hangs on the front of an Iraqi army vehicle in Khazer, Iraq, on Monday.
A Shiite religious flag hangs on the front of an Iraqi army vehicle in Khazer, Iraq, on Monday. Photo: Andrea DiCenzo for The Wall Street Journal
Under the agreement conceded by the coalition and approved by the U.S., only Iraq’s military, Federal Police and Sunni tribal fighters were to enter the city of Mosul, while the Iranian-linked Shiite militias and allied armed groups such as Kurdish Peshmerga forces would remain on the outskirts to hold regained ground. Allowing the fiction that Mosul should remain in Iraq's possession, even while the Peshmerga see it as part of their autonomous region, and Turkey insists that the city must remain a majority Sunni enclave.

The Peshmerga as usual have borne the brunt of the confrontations with Islamic State, leading operations north and east of Mosul since Monday, while U.S. helicopter strikes give coverage to the Iraqi military, giving short shrift to the need of the Peshmerga for that same type of air cover. The Peshmerga fly the flag of their semiautonomous regional government on their vehicles. They consider that the use of the Shiite flag in lieu of flying only the Iraqi flag confrontational and divisive.

The brother of the Kurdistan Regional Government President Masoud Barzani, Peshmerga Gen. Sihad Barzani, noted that in his opinion the Shiite Hussein flags represented a questionable omen for Iraq’s future. "That flag doesn’t represent the whole Iraqi people. The Iraqi flag is important because it represents everyone", whereas the flag being flown essentially indicates that the Iraqi army and the Shiite militias rule the enterprise, represent the totality of the opposition to Islamic State, and equate with the domination and conquest by Shia forces of Sunni interests.

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Cleansing the Nineveh Plain and Mosul

"Daesh is still inside the villages, and they are going to resist more."
"They don’t have large numbers, but they are an ideological group and they aim to explode themselves and die. That’s our problem."
Kurdish Peshmerga Brig. Gen. Ismail Kamal

"Coalition air power is certainly in demand, and we try to provide fires in a timely fashion when called upon." 
"Given the size and scope of the operation to liberate Mosul, there may be times when we are unable to fully meet the demand as quickly as forces on the ground would like."
Col. John I. Dorrian, spokesman, United States-led military coalition
A Kurdish Peshmerga convoy drives towards the Khazer front line, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of Mosul on October 17.
CNN -- A Kurdish Peshmerga convoy drives toward the Khazer front line, October 17, about 30 km from Mosul
Intercepted communications from Islamic State commanders, according to Iraqi Kurds, indicate that ISIL fighters are being exhorted to 'resist' the coalition ambitions to roust the terrorists from the areas they captured in 2014, then declared an integral part of their caliphate's territory. That appears to be just what the battle-hardened, Islamist 'martyrs' plan on doing in any event, and it seems increasingly to the Peshmerga that as they enter towns close to Mosul the Islamic State fighters appear suddenly as though out of nowhere to confront them with their lethal tactics.

The Kurds enter a town seeing no Islamic State fighters, then they suddenly surface as though emerging from tunnel sanctuaries, attacking the Kurdish advance with gunfire and explosive belts. The initial confidence expressed by many of the Kurdish soldiers has given way to a pensive state of insecurity, and some have complained that the promised U.S.-coalition air support hasn't materialized when it should, where it should, leaving the Kurds entirely exposed. ISIL fighters' propensity to appear out of nowhere has lent credence to the circulating rumours that tunnels have been dug, connecting villages.

Troops marching toward Mosul move initially into surrounding towns on the Nineveh plain. Those approaching and entering Al-Hud had declared it to be liberated somewhat prematurely it appears, for it was not 'liberated' by the entering troops but by the residents themselves. Who had gathered in a force of several hundred in response to Islamic State fighters in the town shooting to death one of the residents who had lofted an Iraqi flag defiantly flaunting his allegiance. The gathered mob turned on the ISIL fighters, killing them in turn.

So that when the troops arrived the town actually had been liberated. What greeted the eyes of the Iraqi troops was a gruesome scene, the mutilated bodies of the ISIL fighters that the village mob had descended upon. Where else in the world but in the Middle East and Africa where tribalism has so great a focus on human lives is such moral depravity and bloody barbarism endemic? Where tribal or sectarian vengeance expresses itself in barbaric atrocities.

There are times when the advancing Iraqi-led coalition of Iraqi security personnel, Kurds, Shiite militias and their Sunni counterparts, come across towns they mean to cleanse of the presence of Islamic State jihadis, only to find none there. And other times when, entering the towns and villages on the plains lining the Tigris River leading to Mosul, they discover resistance by ISIL is fierce and deadly, where roof-top snipers and suicide bombers play out the ISIL handbook.

Iraqi Lt.-Gen. Talib Shaghati, situated near al-Hud, at the Qayyarah airbase informed reporters that up to six thousand Islamic State fighters are in the city of Mosul, defending it from the advancing Iraqis. He called upon the ISIL fighters to surrender. Suddenly the military that fled in panic from the advance of ISIL in 2014, now with backup from the U.S.-led air coalition and the Iranian-faithful Shiite militias has gained some spine and acts out a play where they represent the top dog expecting the inflated numbers of jihadis to quake in fear at their presence.

On the third day of fighting approaching Mosul, Islamic State militants dispatched a dozen car bombs toward Iraqi troops, all of which the Iraqis claim were blown up well before their targets were reached, that a small number of casualties from the mortar rounds resulted. As Peshmerga advanced into the village of Tiskharab they set up positions in the first houses they came to, just as an ISIL car bomb drove toward them, detonating it. Watching from a position overlooking the village Peshmerga and reporters witnessed a huge explosion scattering troops. Trucks carrying the injured and the dead raced away from the village.

A Kurdish fighter watches for Islamic State militants as Iraqi and Kurdish forces advanced near the town of Bashiqa, about 12 miles northeast of Mosul.
A Kurdish fighter watches for Islamic State militants as Iraqi and Kurdish forces advanced near the town of Bashiqa, about 12 miles northeast of Mosul. Photo: Andrea DiCenzo for The Wall Street Journal
Speaking by video link to diplomats in Paris discussing the future of Mosul, Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi informed them that the assault force of Iraqi security, Shiite and Sunni militias and Kurdish forces were pushing "more quickly then we thought and more quickly than we had programmed", toward Mosul. Out front, facing the Islamic State jihadis, Kurdish casualties remain the result of improvised explosive devices.

The Kurds had dug an entry in the huge sand berm they had constructed as their fortified border with Islamic State territory over the past two years, allowing a column of Peshmerga tanks, armoured vehicles and sport utility vehicles to move forward. Kurds raised the Kurdish flag in Nawaran, the first village they advanced to, while resistance in Borima, the next town, was stiffer by far.

A number of firefights ensued and finally the Kurds called in an artillery barrage to ease them forward. And then from another town, Kurdish fighters from Fazeliya fired to disable a few suicide car bombs hurtling toward them, disabling one, but another managed to close in sufficiently so that as it exploded several Peshmerga were wounded, with one losing his legs.

A Sunni Iraqi police officer prays at the Qayyara airbase on October 16.
CNN -- A Sunni police officer prays at the Qayyara air base on October 16
To describe these military-guerrilla encounters as brutal is to fail to do justice to the domination instinct that propels tribal cultures to advance their own interests to terrorize and conquer those whom they calculate are weaker, less motivated ideologically, and unprepared to risk all, welcoming death as the ultimate gift to their maker, and in the doing of it, being elevated in social and religious esteem as a courageous warrior for Islam deserving of his place in Paradise.

Of all the ethnic/religious and social groups living in the area it seems that only the Kurds have no dire grievance against other minority groups, choosing the generosity of spirit to give haven to and protect Christians and Yazidis among others, while doggedly continuing to pursue their dream of final recognition by the international community that this largest and ancient ethnic group of the region is deserving of its own sovereign territory, motivating them to fight on to destroy the presence of a terrorist group defying all human decency.

And facing at the same time, a fierce nationalist enemy in Turkey, fixated on denying Turkish and Syrian Kurds of any legitimacy in their claims for autonomous sovereignty. Like Syria's Bashar al-Assad, claiming that Syrian Sunnis are terrorists for protesting the inequalities imposed upon them by the Shiite Alawite leader, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan denies that the millions of Turkish Kurds have any existential right to a geography of their own, and he is the agent to violently deny them. He does have company in that denial; Iran, Iraq and Syria.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Denying History, Depriving Judaism of its Foundational Heritage

"The Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of the Czech Republic expresses its firm opposition to a resolution approved by the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization UNESCO that denies the historical link between the Jewish people and the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem."
119 of 149 Czech lawmakers protested the UNESCO resolution denying historic links between Jews and their holy sites
Jews worshipping at the Western Wall [Wailing wall] in the Old City of Jerusalem

Mexico, one of the 24 countries that voted in favour of the resolution, saw its ambassador withdraw in protest at his country's decision to vote in favour. Six nations, including the United States, Germany and Britain, voted against the resolution brought forward by Arab countries on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, and another 26 abstained. Abstaining because they have no opinion on the matter of historical revisionism, denying a nation the heritage of its well-recorded sacred symbols of historical Judaism?

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova and chairman of the UNESCO Executive Board Michael Worbs expressed their personal dismay at the deliberate slaughter of truth and reality in a rank political move to discredit history for the purpose of delegitimizing Israel and with it, worldwide Jewry, through this cynical move to deprive a people and a religion of its time and place in history, denying its very existence, so completely intertwined with its singular religious identity.

Irina Bokova stated unequivocally that she personally understands and recognizes the sanctity of the Temple Mount and the Western Wall to the Jewish people, and she spoke of a number of UNESCO activities whose declared and obvious purpose was to support and acknowledge the obvious; Judaism’s primary link to the land of of their forefathers in Israel. At the same time she acknowledged the further harm done to the multi-faith reality of Jerusalem in this denial of history which can only, she stressed, harm UNESCO.

Her statements have earned her vicious threats to her personal safety.

Board chairman Michael Worbs of Germany, attempted to redeem the situation by rescheduling the ratification of the declaration to be voted upon at a later date, while expressing his own opposition to the wording of the document, expunging descriptive identification of the most sacred sites to Judaism in favour of linking the areas solely with Palestinians who did not even exist when historical Jerusalem and the Temples of Solomon occupied the site of the Temple Mount.

Denial by Arab Muslims that the site of the Temple Mount ever held a Judaic temple of huge renown and historical documentation, stressing that the site only ever had a Muslim connection in a religion that also did not exist until it was constructed into existence by the Prophet Mohammad in the seventh century, is simply typical of the Islamic way of denying any religion other than Islam, and scornfully building their own sites of worship over the ruins of other religions' sites, or transforming them into Islamic mosques as though another focus relating to an earlier religion never existed.

Unfortunately for Israel, the whipping goat of the United Nations and all of its various world body arms including UNESCO, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation is always alert to ensure that Muslim initiatives, Islamic 'honour' always be upheld against any other entities or groups who might imagine themselves to be entitled to equal consideration in any matter of public uncertainty or dispute. The influence of the Islamic clique on the Non-Aligned Nations in the UN has moved the world body from its original purpose to a single-purpose body to advance Islamic interests against all others, and particularly Israel.

When the Arab nations backing the motion understood that Chairman Worbs meant to intervene on behalf of truth and fairness and in a bid to rescue UNESCO from complete and utter discreditation, unbearable pressure was placed on the Board chairman who then felt he had no option but to recuse himself, suspending himself from chairing the meeting, as would normally occur. His replacement will be by Swedish ambassador Annika Markovic, a nation that seems to see no reason at any time not to betray the reality of Israeli existence.

And so it was that a UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization whose purpose is to promote "humanity's moral and intellectual solidarity" encompassing universal education for children along with "intercultural understanding" and the support of "world heritage" sites of universal value, chose, when it welcomed the Palestinian Authority into observer status as a semi-member, to circumvent its own purpose and reason for existence.

As far as UNESCO is concerned, through this complete abdication of their purpose and the acknowledgement of historical connections relating to heritage and pride, Judaism's most sacred sites have been coopted by the Palestinians whose leadership also claims Christ to have been a Palestinian, though the Palestinians never existed at that critical time that gave birth to Christianity. The Jewish sites that Judaism holds sacred to the memory of their forebears are henceforth recognized by UNESCO as Palestinian.

This is, of course, in complete accord to Islamic precepts, a religion which recognizes no religion other than Islam, which holds that any ground once consecrated to Islam may never surrender to the claims of any other religion, even if that religion vastly predated Islam. That UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon upheld the Temple Mount as "the holiest place in Judaism", represents an effort on his part to retain some vestige of honour for himself personally, even as another UN body, like the infamous Human Rights Council, surrenders its purpose to abusive corruption.

Jewish men, draped in prayer shawls, take part in the Cohanim prayer during Passover at the Western Wall, Jerusalem, Israel, April 25, 2016.   Menahem Kahana, AFP

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Crediting the Iraqi Military

Barzani said the joint Iraqi force are launching the offensive from south and east of Mosul [Reuters]

"[The offensive to be led by Kurdish Peshmerga] Then they will stop. We'll [Iraqi military] start after them and move after them to support them."
"The operation [to retake Mosul] will take much longer because of this [the large presence of well over a million Iraqi civilians]."
"For their safety, but it also means each neighbourhood needs to be surrounded and searched as we clear it."
Brig.Gen. Haider Obaidi, Iraqi special forces commander

"We do provide our intelligence capability, we provide our logistics, these are capabilities that the coalition has that are singularly distinctive. We are very capable in these areas, and it is a big help to the Iraqis as they move into position," he said. 
"The plan is for the Iraqis to liberate Mosul, They are going to be the ones that will move in to the city."
Colonel John Dorrian, spokesman, U.S. forces

"Today is a turning point in the war against terrorism. This is the first time that Peshmerga forces and Iraqi army have cooperated and fought in the same area,"
"We are hopeful that this operation will be successful and that Mosul will be liberated. But this does not mean that the terrorist threat is over."
Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani
Barzani said the joint Iraqi force are launching the offensive from south and east of Mosul [Reuters]
Kurdish leader Masoud Barzani said the joint Iraqi force are launching the offensive from south and east of Mosul [Reuters]

Restoring the honour of a demoralized military, which, though trained and equipped by the U.S., turned and ran the very instant they became aware that Islamic State fighters were marching to enter Mosul and take the city from the command and protection of the Iraqi military. Rather than face the enemy whose ruthless reputation for slaughter and shedding blood in the most medieval-engaged atrocities, Iraqi forces, from commanders to enlisted men, chose to turn tail and decamp in such a panic that they left all their advanced military gear in their barracks, gifting Islamic State with up-to-date technically advanced arms and vehicles.

The staging for the retaking of Mosul has been in the planning stages for well over a year. Islamic State has been in possession of the city of over two million Iraqis -- of mostly Sunni Muslims, bordering on Kurdistan by Islamic State, considering it their Iraqi capital just as Raqqa is considered the Syrian capital of the caliphate -- for over two years. It is starkly obvious that the Iraqi military would be incapable of mounting an offensive for the return of Mosul on its own. Without the air- and fire-power of the U.S.-led coalition, and significantly, of the Peshmerga, Mosul would remain in ISIL possession.

The estimated 30,000 assembled forces of Peshmerga, Iraqi troops, Shiite militias representing tribal warlords, target an ISIL opposition of an estimated three to four thousand fighters. This unequal contest on a battlefield might readily be seen to be heavily in favour of the larger contingent of adversaries. But in a city the size of Mosul with its huge remaining population of over a million residents, with all the buildings and houses, the underground tunnel system, the IED-rigged buildings and back-alleys, the complications are diverse and numerous. With ISIL well ensconced and familiar with their surroundings, using explosives-laden vehicles in suicide attacks, their threat is ominous.

They will exact a steep price for the privilege of retaking Mosul from their grasp. In their wisdom, the United States persuaded the Peshmerga and Iranian backed Shiite militias to remain on the perimeter of Mosul, enabling the Iraqi army's counter-terrorism special force, Iraqi federal police and local tribal fighters to initiate and conduct house-to-house fighting in Mosul. The purpose, to ensure that sectarian violence is kept to a minimum once the battle for Mosul has succeeded and ISIL ousted.

Considering that Mosul's population is mostly Sunni, with a smattering of ethnics such as Arameans and Armenians, and the Islamic State occupation was likely comprised of no more than several thousand administrator/fighters, the city of two million might conceivably have put together a core group of opponents to oust ISIL. But for the majority Sunni Iraqis in Mosul there is no love lost for the Iraqi government comprised mostly of Shiites in an unequal sharing of national trusts. Many of the dismissed former Saddam Hussein military commanders came from Tikrit and Mosul.

And the core group of leaders of Islamic State were represented by many of these former Saddam-loyalist Sunni Iraqis. It stands to reason there was sympathy in Mosul for the Islamic State and its defense of Sunni Iraqis. With the incursion of Shiite militias and the Iraqi military comprised largely of Iraqi Shiites there will be an eventual reckoning meted out to the Sunni population of Mosul. Many of whom will be vacating Mosul as expeditiously as possible, leaving the UN to settle them in refugee camps for their own protection.

The resumption of Iraqi government control of Mosul will be months in the making while ISIL fighters are being routed from the city. The need to ensure that the terrorists do not infiltrate the tens of thousands of fleeing Sunni civilians will most certainly be a time-consuming and fraught affair. And when the city is finally freed from the talons of ISIL, other situations will erupt; that Kurdistan claims Mosul for its own, and that Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists that Mosul remain a Sunni enclave, under the protection of Turkey, not Iraq. Even while local warlords and Shiite militias argue violently that Mosul is their heritage.
"This is the first time the Peshmerga and Iraqi forces have worked together against Daesh [ISIS] … we hope this will become a concrete foundation for our future relations with Baghdad."
"The liberation of Mosul is not an end to terror and terrorism but this was a good lesson so in the future we will resolve our differences through understanding and working together. We reassure the people of Mosul that both the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army will do everything not to cause any loss to the people and no revenge killing will take place."

Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani

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Combine and Conquer, Divide and Squabble

"There were less than ten Daesh in the village."
"But they were running around like rats in and out of tunnels and surprising us with suicide attacks and snipers."
Lt. Mehsen Gardi, Kurdish Peshmerga commander

"Daesh is disoriented they don’t know whether to expect attacks from the east or west or north."
"It won’t be a spectacular attack on Mosul itself. It will be very cautious. It is a high-risk operation for everybody."
Hoshiyar Zebari,  senior Kurdish official
Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers fire artillery toward the village of Sharlouki as their troops attacked ISIS there as part of the Mosul offensive
Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers fire artillery toward the village of Sharlouki as their troops attacked ISIS there as part of the Mosul offensive Credit: Sam Tarling for the Telegraph
During the tyranny of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein he was fond of describing battles he was engaged in as "the mother of all battles". Something that hasn't changed since his departure is that the current Shiite-lead Iraqi government also chooses to describe the incipient battle against Islamic State for re-possession of the country's second-largest city, populated mostly by Sunnis, as "the mother of all battles", an obvious piece of Iraqi hyperbole, pleased by the image of victorious Iraq, its military central to the fray, challenging the primacy of the Islamic State caliphate, where it had once fled from it.

Courage restored, shored by the U.S.-led coalition that has been responsible for covering fire power from the air, Iraq once again boasts its battlefield prowess. Even as it has pointedly directed Iraqi Kurds -- who have never fled in disarray from any conflict challenge, standing their ground and fighting effectively in a refusal to surrender any of their sovereignty to their heritage lands -- to encircle Mosul and retake small towns around the city along with Iran-loyal Shiite militias, the government has given firm directions that only its forces are permitted to enter Mosul.

And the president of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, has lost no time stating with pride on the very first day of engagement with ISIL, that a "turning point to the war against terrorism" has already evidenced itself. He speaks triumphantly of a 200 square kilometre geographic area, along with a half-dozen villages that have been taken from Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant as the initial stages of Mosul liberation becomes a reality.

The complete and speedy ousting of ISIL from its caliphate on the Iraqi portion of a huge swath of land the terrorists have captured over the past several years is being predicted by Iraqi, Kurdish, French, American and Canadian generals in Iraq. They do caution, however, that the initial gains have been occasioned in an open terrain and in villages on the outskirts of the huge sprawl of Mosul with its remaining million or so population. Once entry to the city itself occurs, the situation will be far different.

When deadly ambushes are likelier to occur, when well-placed snipers will take their toll, when passionately barbaric Islamists will celebrate their death by suicide while martyring themselves in the process of bombing government military to achieve the satisfaction of joining the roster of Islamist heroes for the audacity of their vision against tall odds, along with the determination to carry through to a successful conclusion as many deaths as possible.

Islamist terrorists all seem to play from a familiar handbook, one common to Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as Islamic State, not to mention the 'legitimate' government of the Syrian regime, all of whom take great pride in using civilians they hold in thrall, as shields. To that end, just as Hamas ordered Gazans to defy Israeli military leaflets urging civilians to vacate buildings slated to be bombed, it appears that ISIL is doing likewise, only coercing citizens of Mosul to move into buildings known to be bombing targets.

Once the courageous, dauntless Iraqi military has breached the ISIL outer defences to approach the interior of Mosul, the city will present as a ferocious challenge, an tight urban maze of tunnels, booby-trapped buildings, lurking suicide bombers awaiting opportunity, and expert marksmen sitting on rooftops looking forward avidly to the chance to pick off challengers to ISIL supremacy through quick aim and direct, critical hits.

The 30,000-strong combined force of Iraqi military, Shiite militias and Kurdish troops vastly outnumbers the jihadis' fighting strength. The Kurdish Peshmerga fight with confidence and the strength of knowing that what they wrench back from ISIL will fit neatly into Kurdistan, their ancient homeland, not yet fully and legally recognized internationally. They hope their courage on the battlefield will lead to sympathy for their cause that will translate to international pressure on Iraq to recognize the legitimacy of Kurdistan.

Iraqi forces deploy in south of Mosul, as they advance towards the city to retake it from the Islamic State
The Iraqi army is moving on Mosul from the south  AFP
Iraq divides against the natural lines of its residents in any event; wherever Sunnis and Shiites are in the majority, and where the Kurds administer their autonomous region, the country is ripe for division in the hope that peace will ensue when confrontational challenges between the three no longer represent the norm. Splitting the country, resisted by its Shiite command, would also require that the petrochemical resources be split equably as well; another reason for the Shia government to dig in its heels.

In the background is the reality that Shiite militias harbour a deadly hatred for the million or so Sunnis who chose to remain in Mosul while the Islamic State fundamentalists administered it. This alienation from greater Iraq rests at the feet of the Shiite majority who have in effect reversed the situation of Saddam's minority Sunni Iraqi demographic that oppressed their Shiite counterparts, with the current government representing the interests of the majority Iraqi Shias doing the very same to the now-deprived Sunnis of Iraq.

The deposed Sunnis who had the upper hand while Saddam remained in power, now loathe the Iraqi Shiites who have returned the compliment, refusing, even under initial pressure from the United States administration, to apportion equality among the three major groups; Iraqi Sunnis, Iraqi Shiites and Iraqi Kurds, leaving all three suspicious of one another and prepared to exact vengeance at the first opportunity in an inherited display of sectarian dysfunction leading to violence. The coalition battling the Islamic State is just representative of the same syndrome on overdrive.

Mosul map 

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