Jihadist Terrorism Central Destined to Become Dispersed
"There are important developments in our region. On one hand, Turkey is in a very serious fight against terror but there are other important developments on the other side of our borders. Turkey must be ready for all possibilities, these are part of these preparations."
"Developments that would change Mosul's demographics are Turkey's red lines. We are talking on these issues with Iraq and the [anti-ISIL] coalition. Of course, in the meantime Turkey is making the necessary preparations."
Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik
"Kata’ib Hizballah is a radical Shia Islamist group with an anti-Western establishment and jihadist ideology that has conducted attacks against Iraqi, U.S. and Coalition targets in Iraq [and it is one of the militias acting under orders of the Popular Mobilization Forces."
"[The Hezbollah Brigades are known to be an official designated foreign terrorist organization] responsible for numerous acts against Iraqi, U.S. and other targets in Iraq since 2007."
U.S. State Department
Street fighting has commenced between Iraqi special forces and Islamic State in the outer eastern areas of Mosul. That in itself is a complicated affair with the eyes of the world fixed on Mosul to espy the fate of the world's currently most notorious Islamist jihadist group, and the prospects of Sunni Iraqis who populate Mosul in the majority though there are also other small ethnic contingents of Shias, Kurds, Turkmen and Christians, all of whom crowded into the city now being invaded are vulnerable to harm in the crossfire of opposing militias and U.S.-led firepower from above.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey is adamant that nothing will deter his military from their operations in Iraq to ensure that the shared border does not become a hotbed of Kurdish settlement. He speaks of Turkey's "historical responsibility" in the area, threatening military force should Iraq continue to deny Turkey its insistence that it has a place in the conflict. Turkey, needless to say, is fixated on Mosul remaining majority Sunni. And that Kurdish intention is to incorporate the city into a greater Kurdistan does not impress Erdogan one whit beyond infuriating him.
As far as Turkey's president is concerned, Turkey's claim to Mosul originated with the end of the Ottoman Empire and World War One, with the redrawing of national lines in the Middle East, creating the ungovernable muddle that now exists, in ignoring historical ethnic realities. Citing those realities and the imposition by Europe of new national borders while handily overlooking the betrayal of the Kurds by the colonial powers which had originally promised a Kurdish homeland would be re-established is deliberate on Erdogan's part, unwilling to give any credence to an independent sovereign Kurdish nation.
Groups of civilians heading for safety, riding in any vehicles available, battered old trucks rumbling on the highway east of Bazwaya where Iraqi troops had arrived to liberating acclaim, to use the village in its strategic plan to enter Mosul on the eastern outskirts, creating of it a launch pad to pave the way for the initial assault on the city limits. Iraq's Counter Terrorism Service captured a foothold at Gogjali, a Mosul industrial district under five kilometres distant from Bazwaya.
"Now is the beginning of the true liberation of the city of Mosul", prophesized General Taleb Sheghati al-Kenani, head of the Golden Division of the CTS, from Gogjali. Troops, according to Iraq's Joint Operations Command, had "entered the Judaidst Al-Mufti area, the left bank of the city". The massive offensive is now in its second week with tens of thousands of Iraqi and Kurdish troops depending on the backing of U.S. air strikes. The city is being pounded by artillery and airstrikes.
"We can see Daesh [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] fighters firing toward the Iraqi forces and moving in cars between the alleys of the neighbourhood. It's street fighting", reported one resident, witness to the events as they unfold. White flags placed a few days back by residents to indicate that the Iraqi forces are welcomed and have nothing to fear from them in opposition, festoon Bazwaya. Even shepherds leading sheep away from the fighting place white cloth on the retreating animals.
It is believed that 600,000 children are among the million residents of the city trapped between Islamic State fighters and the gradually entering Iraqi forces. "We expect the fighting to get more intense as we enter deeper into the city", Ahmed Majid, a Golden Division soldier said, from Bazwaya. "Daesh doesn't have enough men, so they defend with suicide trucks and roadside bombs."
According to Iraqi commanders, the conflict could go on for months. ISIL has prepared for the onslaught contesting their command of Mosul, their last major stronghold in Iraq. Their efforts meant to thwart the advance of the Iraqi military and the Kurdish militias has left towns and villages on the way to Mosul littered with improvised explosive devices. A maze of tunnels criss-cross the city, sheltering the presence of fighters, while the tactic of employing suicide bombers remains a focal point of military alertness.
An American security authority now in the news for other reasons has warned the Senate Homeland Security Committee to anticipate that a wave of terrorist fighters have the potential to spread across the globe in response to Islamic State losing control of its geographic territory marking its caliphate. "They will not all die on the battlefield in Syria and Iraq", said FBI Director James Comey. "There will be a terrorist diaspora sometime in the next two to five years like we've never seen before, larger than the one that came out of Afghanistan after the war there in the 1980s."