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News & Current Events Discuss The Coming Fall of Mosul at the General Forum; The Coming Fall of Mosul Iraqi forces are on the verge of a mighty victory..... March 8, 2017 By Andrew ...

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Old 03-09-2017, 10:22 AM
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Default The Coming Fall of Mosul

The Coming Fall of Mosul

Iraqi forces are on the verge of a mighty victory.....

Quote:
March 8, 2017
By Andrew Exum


Photo: Susannah George/AP

Although there is much hard fighting to be done in Iraq, the fall of Mosul will effectively spell the end of the Islamic State’s eastern province. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria will then be the Islamic State of Syria. In Arabic, we’ll have to start calling Daesh—the acronym for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria—“Dish.” Last fall, I visited Iraq on two occasions with the then-secretary of defense. On our last visit, in December, the U.S. commander on the ground, Steve Townsend, told the secretary that he could sense the Islamic State’s defenses in eastern Mosul were about to collapse. He was right. Since our visit, Iraqi troops have seized the entirety of eastern Mosul. The campaign for Mosul in entering a new phrase, with Iraqi troops now pushing into the western half of the city. Mosul—and northern Iraq in general—is complicated human and physical terrain. Demographically, Mosul is a diverse city, ethnically and religiously, but its western half has always been more Sunni Arab than its eastern half. To the degree the Islamic State still has local support in Mosul, it is almost certainly greater in the western half of the city.

Physically, western Mosul is dense urban terrain emptying out into the western deserts of northern Iraq. If the Islamic State can be driven from the city, its fighters will present ripe targets for U.S. and allied air power. Getting them out of the city, though, will be difficult, and thus far, Islamic State fighters have chosen to stay and fight rather than flee. Iraqi forces will have to fight block by block and street by street against an enemy that has had ample time to prepare its defenses and has learned from previous battles in Manbij in Syria, Sirte in Libya, and Fallujah in Iraq. The fight for western Mosul will take time and will further stress Iraqi forces exhausted from a hard fight for eastern Mosul. Yet the Islamic State is essentially surrounded in Mosul—a condition that’s presaged its defeat in other cities as well. Why haven’t they fled before now? It’s anyone’s guess, but it’s worth remembering how we—the U.S. military and its partners—often assume the enemy understands his situation better than he actually does. Because we usually have good situational awareness, we assume the other guy does as well. But if we try to put ourselves in the shoes of the enemy amidst the fog of war, it’s very possible the Islamic State fighters simply failed to realize how cornered they were until it was almost too late.

A phenomenon whereby fighters fled a city while leaving a rump force behind has more or less repeated in places like Manbij, Sirte, and Fallujah until now. What makes 2017 different from last year is there are very few places to which the Islamic State fighters can still retreat. Aside from a few remaining strongholds in Iraq—most of them along the middle Euphrates River Valley—and a few towns in Syria such as Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, Islamic State fighters have few options for places to go. One option remains the desert caves west of Mosul, while another would be the remaining cities under Daesh control in central Syria along the Euphrates River. The Russians and Assad regime, in particular, fear the Islamic State will retreat to the latter, where a small regime garrison hangs on by its fingernails outside Deir Ezzor.

Throughout the fall of 2016, Russian generals with whom I was negotiating in Switzerland on the fate of Aleppo would anxiously inquire about our plans for Mosul and Raqqa. They had not been successful in convincing either Iran or Hezbollah to devote larger numbers of fighters to the defense of the besieged regime garrison. Indeed, they had not been successful in convincing any of their coalition partners—Iran, Hezbollah, the Assad regime—to focus on fighting the Islamic State, which is just one of many reasons why partnering with Russia in Syria remains folly. At the same time in which U.S.-allied forces were dealing the Islamic State defeat after defeat, Russian-backed forces repeatedly failed, with much embarrassment, to even defend the isolated desert town of Palmyra in central Syria just a few hours drive from Damascus. Ideally, of course, the Iraqis would be pressing the Islamic State in Mosul at the same time in which Russian-backed forces were doing the same in Deir Ezzor, and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces were doing the same in Raqqa. Simultaneous pressure against the Islamic State—pressure that creates dilemmas for where the Islamic State’s commanders devote their precious resources—won the gains of 2016.

The Trump administration, though, has decided to first conduct a review of the war effort in general before making a decision to arm the Kurds in Syria in a way that would surely anger Turkey. To be entirely fair, this is responsible governing: The Obama administration conducted its own review of the war in Afghanistan in 2009 prior to making any big decisions on troop commitments. What decisions the Trump administration makes in Syria or elsewhere with respect to the Islamic State will be interesting and fraught with consequence. In Iraq, however, the Islamic State’s days are truly numbered. Although Islamic State terror attacks will continue, and although Islamic State redoubts remain spread out throughout the country, Mosul is the decisive battle, and when the Iraqi flag flies once again over all of Mosul’s neighborhoods, the Iraqis will have won a mighty victory.

Related: What ISIS Will Do After Mosul Falls
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Old 03-09-2017, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: The Coming Fall of Mosul

At long last.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:28 AM
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Default Re: The Coming Fall of Mosul

Iraqi Forces Advance Deeper In Mosul, Commander Says

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March 12, 2017


Smoke rises after an air strike as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State militants in western Mosul earlier this week.
Photo: Zohra Bensemra/Reuters


Iraqi security forces have recaptured more than a third of west Mosul from the Islamic State (IS) militant group since launching a military operation in the area last month, an army general said on March 12. General Maan al-Saadi of the elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) was quoted by the AFP news agency as saying: "Around more than a third of [west Mosul] is under the control of our units." Saadi said CTS forces were battling IS inside the Mosul al-Jadida and Al-Aghawat areas in west Mosul on March 12. The general said he expected the fighting there to be completed in the coming hours.

Related: Mosul IS battle: Mass grave found at Badoush prison, Iraqi forces say
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Old 08-14-2017, 03:17 PM
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Cool Re: The Coming Fall of Mosul

How about if Arab countries that didn't contribute to the war adopt `em?...

Mosul's orphans facing unknown fate
Aug. 14, 2017 -- Abdallah, Mariam and Rahma are younger than 1 year old and their identities are unknown. They were rescued from the rubble as Iraqi forces battled to wrest control of Mosul's old city from Islamic State militants. The three toddlers were given names at the orphanage where tens of children left orphaned by the 9-month-long war to end IS's con*trol of Iraq's second-largest city are harbored.
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"Scores of children have lost their parents in the intense bombard*ment or in booby traps and suicide bombings perpetrated by ISIS. We have given them names to facilitate sorting them out until we can estab*lish their identity and trace their kin to hand them over," said Sukaina Mohamad Ali, the head of the Office of Women and Children in Nineveh province. Ali, who also runs the biggest or*phanage in Mosul, said the organi*zation received children found by Iraqi forces in the debris and near dead bodies. "Most of them had no ID, so we don't know who they are," she said. "They were in a very pre*carious state suffering from malnu*trition and thirst."

Among Mosul's orphans, many are the children of foreign and lo*cal IS fighters killed in battle. "We don't know their exact number be*cause they are dispersed in several refugee camps but there are at least 600 of them staying in Hammam al Alil camp," Ali said. "We received 20 boys who ISIS kidnapped from their families to recruit in their children's unit, the Fetiyen al Jinneh. They are aged 8-11 and we were able to iden*tify them and reunite them with their families." Some of the children at the or*phanage were Yazidis held by IS. Others were Chechen or from dif*ferent Arab nationalities and were taken to Baghdad. The orphanage is expecting 1,700 additional orphans in the next stage.


Iraqi displaced children from Mosul, who were forced to flee their homes due the fighting between Iraqi forces and Islamic state group, were living at the Hamam al-Alil camp on April 7. Many children have been orphaned in the conflict

In addition, some 1,500 women married to slain IS fighters, in*cluding 10 who are pregnant, shel*tered in al-Jadaa refugee camp, fear*ing reprisals from locals, Ali said. "The scale of social problems fac*ing Iraq in post-ISIS areas is over*whelming. Revenge acts can be ex*pected by families who suffered at the hands of the militants no matter how much the government tries to prevent such acts," she said. While there is no government plan to deal with the problem, at*tempts have been made to identify the children by posting photos on social media. "We used all possible means and we succeeded in iden*tifying many, especially those aged between 6 and 8," Ali said.

The children are sometimes har*bored in private homes by fami*lies, volunteer workers and individ*uals such as Iraqi soldier Mohamad Saleh. "While we were battling in the old city we discovered many children alone near the corpses of women. I took home a 3-year-old boy called Ahmad while his 1-year-old brother was transferred to a hospital in Er*bil," Saleh said. "I posted Ahmad's photo on so*cial media, which allowed his un*cles to identify him. They took him away after showing me papers prov*ing their relationship." The near total absence of psy*chological or psychiatric services that could treat the myriad traumas of war will make Iraq's children an even more vulnerable generation.

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Old 08-14-2017, 03:26 PM
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Default Re: The Coming Fall of Mosul

The spread of Islam is like an uncontained puddle of dog diarrhea slowly spreading.
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