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.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

The Fall of Mosul

"The fall of Mosul does not mean that Daesh [Islamic State] is defeated, by any stretch of the imagination."
"[Losing their Iraqi headquarters will not deter surviving ISIL fighters from moving into local populations in preparation of ongoing terrorist attacks.] So it's definitely not over [once ISIL is forced out of Mosul]. If anything it's going to be more difficult [to cope with the deadly Islamist threat]."
Canadian Brig.-Gen. Dave Anderson

Kurdish Peshmerga militias advised by Canadian Special Forces commandos are preparing in conjunction with Iraqi military and Shiite paramilitary troops backed by French and American fighter planes, to mount a ground war to retake Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham. A new wave of airstrikes by the U.S.-led air coalition, augmented by U.S. and French artillery and rocket attacks have softened up the ISIL defences sufficiently, it is felt, to allow a military assault to take place on the ground.

This second-largest city in Iraq has been under ISIL control as a vital part of their 'caliphate', forcing those of its residents unable to flee, to live under the constraints of a severe Sharia-implemented version of medieval-era Islam. Now, the city is encircled by infantry and armoured units prepared to invade and release the remaining 700,000 residents from the totalitarian reign of Islamic State oppression.

After liberation, the military battle may have been won, but the political battle may just begin, with the Iraqis, the Kurds and the local tribal leaders all vying for the spoils, preparing to joust for ownership of the geography that most reflects their aspirational and territorial heritage. The Iraqi government which, without the involvement of the Kurds, let alone the U.S.-led coalition, would never have been able to mount an effective release of Mosul, may be unwilling to surrender its former territory.

On the other hand, the Government of Iraq and its military were ineffectual, unable to, incapable of, defending their second-largest city from the conquest of the Islamic State. The Iraqi military ignominiously abandoned the city, and with that abandonment in such great haste, Islamic State took possession of all the advanced military gear left behind by the panicked Iraqi military whose haste to remove themselves rather than confront the Islamic State fighters brought no glory to Iraq.

For over two years the disgraceful abandonment of Mosul without a single shot in self-defence having been fired by the Iraqi military, resulted in the city being held by ISIL. The abandoned military gear enabled ISIL to gloat over how well provisioned the Iraq military left them, enabling them as well to ransack the banks in Mosul to the benefit of a billion dollars. It has taken two full years for Western military trainers and advisers to retrain the Iraqi military which had been trained by U.S. military advisers before the Mosul takeover.

Expectations are various; a suicide standoff by Islamic State fighters, one potential; another that opposing forces be lured into street-by-street warfare going building to building into structures booby-trapped to effect the greatest amount of morbid casualties. If, when, the Islamists are overwhelmed it is anticipated that as many that can, will manage to escape to infiltrate Sunni populations nearby and bide their time while planning ongoing attacks.

And then, of course, there is the prospect that wily terrorists will plan to enter Syria to move from there to Europe where small groups will be detached and dispatched to plan and bring to fruition bombings, abductions, high-profile atrocities to match their formidable reputation for bloodlust and terror. At the very least, for the present, the close to a million Syrians trapped in Mosul could be released, no longer to fear death dealt by Islamic State for those attempting to escape.

The body of an Islamic State fighter lay on the ground after the Iraqi Army repelled the militants’ attack outside the town of Qaiyara, near Mosul, on Tuesday. Credit Bram Janssen/Associated Press

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