Tuesday, February 07, 2017




  1. Mimicking Breitbart is the kind of obviously awful idea that only a slug like Brock would come up with (and get idiot rich people to fund)
  2. David Brock is an avowed, unrepentant, smear-job propagandist: this deal was always exceedingly unlikely to work out


Meanwhile, an unnamed Iraqi military officer tells WORLD BULLETING NEWS that 5 civilians have been executed by the Islamic State today in Mosul.

Yes, The Mosul Slog continues.

In June of 2014, the Islamic State seized Mosul.

Late last year, the Iraqi government suddenly grew interested in liberating or 'liberating' the city.

112 days ago, the operation to liberate Mosul began.

All they've accomplished in 112 days is clearing eastern Mosul.  (Though that is already in question.)

Patrick Cockburn (THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS) offers:

The offensive against Mosul, the biggest city still held by Islamic State, began on 17 October when Iraqi army troops, with the support of US-led air power, entered the city’s eastern districts. Expectations of a quick victory were soon disappointed when Iraqi soldiers began to suffer heavy casualties as small but highly mobile IS units of half a dozen fighters moved from house to house through hidden tunnels or holes cut in the walls to set up sniper positions, plant booby traps and bury IEDs. Local people whose houses were taken over say that the snipers were Chechens or Afghans who talked in broken Arabic. These fighters were supported by local IS men who also helped hide the suicide bombers who were to drive vehicles packed with explosives. There were 632 vehicle bombs during the first six weeks of the offensive. An IS squad would use a house until it had been pinpointed by Iraqi government forces and was about to be destroyed by heavy weapons or US-led airstrikes. Before the counterattack came they would move on to another house. IS has traditionally favoured fluid tactics, with each squad or detachment acting independently and with limited top-down control. Adapted to an urban environment, this approach allows small groups of fighters to harass much larger forces, by swiftly retreating and then infiltrating captured neighbourhoods so they have to be retaken again and again.
The Iraqi and US governments had every reason to play down the fact that they had failed to take Mosul and had instead been sucked into the biggest battle fought in Iraq and Syria since the US invasion in 2003. It was only in the second week of January that Iraqi special forces reached the River Tigris after ferocious fighting: with the support of US planes, helicopters, artillery and intelligence they had finally taken control of Mosul University, which had served as an IS headquarters for the eastern part of the city, along with the area’s 450,000 inhabitants. But reaching the Tigris was far from being the end of the fight. On 13 January, IS blew up the five bridges spanning the river. The city’s western part is a much greater challenge: home to 750,000 people, many of whom are thought to be sympathetic to IS, it’s a larger, poorer and older area, with closely packed streets that are easy to defend. Only the aid agencies, coping with the heavy civilian casualties and the prospects of a fight to the death by IS, appreciated the scale of what was happening: on 11 January, the UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in Iraq, Lise Grande, said the city was ‘witnessing one of the largest urban military operations since the Second World War’. She warned that the intensity of the fighting was such that 47 per cent of those treated for gunshot wounds were civilians, far more than in other sieges of which the UN had experience. The nearest parallel to what is happening in Mosul would be the siege of Sarajevo between 1992 and 1995, in which 10,000 people were killed, or the siege of Grozny in 1994-95, in which an estimated 5500 civilians died. But the loss of life in Mosul could be much heavier than in either of those cities because it is defended by a movement which will not negotiate or surrender and kills anybody who shows any sign of wavering. IS believes death in battle is the supreme expression of Islamic faith, which fits in well with a doomed last stand.
Figures for wounded civilians in Mosul over the last three months may well exceed those for East Aleppo over the same period. This is partly because ten times as many people have been caught up in the fighting in Mosul, whose population according to the UN is 1.2 million; 116,000 civilians were evacuated from East Aleppo. Of that number, 2126 sick and war-wounded were evacuated to hospitals, according to the WHO. Casualties in the Mosul campaign are difficult to establish, partly because the Iraqi government and the US have been at pains to avoid giving figures. Officials in Baghdad angrily denounced the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq when it announced that 1959 Iraqi soldiers, police, Kurdish Peshmerga and their paramilitary allies had been killed in November alone. The UN was forced to agree not to release information about Iraq’s military casualties in future, but US officers confirmed that some units in the 10,000-strong Golden Division – a US-trained elite force within the Iraqi army whose soldiers get higher pay – had suffered 50 per cent casualties by the end of the year. The Iraqi government was equally silent about the number of civilian casualties and emphasised its own great restraint in the use of artillery and airpower. But the doctors in Iraqi Kurdistan treating injured people fleeing from Mosul were less reticent: they complained that they were being overwhelmed. On 30 December, the Kurdish health minister, Rekawt Hama Rasheed, said his hospitals had received 13,500 injured Iraqi troops and civilians and were running out of medicines. The extent of civilian losses hasn’t ebbed since: the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Iraq said that over two weeks at the turn of the year, some 1500 Iraqis from Mosul suffering from trauma injuries had reached Kurdish hospitals, mostly from frontline areas and ‘with most of these injuries occurring just after the fighting intensified at the end of December’. These numbers only give a rough idea of the real losses: they don’t include the dead, or the wounded in western Mosul who didn’t want to leave – or couldn’t, because they were being used as human shields by IS. The UN says that many people were shot by IS fighters as they tried to escape.

Fazel Hawramy (AL-MONITOR) adds:

Many in Mosul have lost everything, including their vehicles and homes in airstrikes, suicide car bombs or during the fighting. People who spoke to Al-Monitor said they hope the government will take responsibility for providing services and compensation so the residents can rebuild their lives. Mosul used to be the center for trade and industry in northern Iraq, and with its close proximity to Syria and Turkey, its economy could revive fast.
Peace in Mosul is crucial if Abadi wants to see stability in Iraq. Since the 2003 invasion, Mosul has been the strategic center of gravity for terrorist groups and it’s been in a state of rebellion. Until now, by and large the Iraqi security forces and in particular the CTS have treated the people in east Mosul with dignity and respect. However, in recent days, videos have surfaced on the internet that show individuals accused of collaboration with IS being killed on the spot. Other videos show children and adults accused of IS ties or membership being tortured and humiliated. Abadi has ordered a field investigation.
Mosul residents say that peace is possible in Mosul if the government continues its commitment to prevent sectarianism, provide services and increase transparency in a city where the government and corruption have gone hand in hand for years. But for now, while more than 750,000 people are under siege in west Mosul and await a bloody battle to be liberated, people in the east have different priorities. When asked about the three things the government can do for the residents right now, Abu Salim replied, "[Provide] water, electricity and kerosene."

Liberating Mosul was supposedly about helping the people of Mosul.

The city was taken by the Islamic State in June of 2017.

But the people of Mosul continue to be victimized.

RECOMMENDED: "Iraq snapshot"