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vendredi, 28 octobre 2016

Paper Tiger ISIS Digs Into Mosul


Paper Tiger ISIS Digs Into Mosul

Islamic State(IS), the defender of Mosul, is a paper tiger, blown out of all proportion by western media.  IS is, as this  writer has been saying for years, an armed mob made up of 20-something malcontents, religious fanatics, and modern-day anarchists.  At its top is a cadre of former Iraqi Army officers with military experience.

These former officers of Saddam Hussain are bent on revenge for the US destruction of their nation and the lynching of its late leader. But IS rank and file has no military training, little discipline, degraded communications, and ragged logistics.

In fact, today’s Islamic State is what the Ottoman Empire used to term, ‘bashi-bazouks,”  a collection of irregular cut-throats and scum of the gutter sent to punish and terrorize enemies by means of torture, rapine, looting, and arson. 

What has amazed me about the faux western war against ISIS is its leisurely nature, lack of élan, and hesitancy. In my view, ISIS was mostly created by the US and its allies as a weapon to be used against Syria’s government – just as the Afghan mujahadin were used by the US and the Saudis to overthrow the Soviet-backed Afghan government. Israel tried the same tactics by helping create Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon.  Both were cultivated to split the PLO.

ISIS is an ad hoc movement that wants to punish the West and the Saudis for the gross carnage they have inflicted on the Arab world.

Western and Kurdish auxiliary forces have been sitting 1.5 hours drive from Mosul and the IS town of Raqqa for over a year. Instead, western – mainly US – warplanes have been gingerly bombing around these targets in what may be an effort to convince breakaway ISIS to rejoin US-led forces fight the Damascus regime.


Note that ISIS does not appear to have ever attacked Israel though it is playing an important role in the destruction of Syria. Some reports say Israel is providing logistic and medical support for IS.

The siege of Mosul is being played up by western media as a heroic second Stalingrad. Don’t be fooled. IS has only 3-5,000 lightly armed fighters in Mosul and Raqqa,  maybe even less. The leaders of IS are likely long gone. IS has few heavy weapons, no air cover at all, and poor communications. Its rag-tag fighters will run out of ammunitions and explosives very quickly.

Encircling Mosul are at least 50,000 western-led soldiers, backed by heavy artillery, rocket batteries, tanks, armored vehicles and awesome air power

The western imperial forces are composed of tough Kurdish peshmerga fighters, Iraqi army and special forces, some Syrian Kurds, Iranian ‘volunteers’ irregular forces and at least 5,000 US combat troops called “advisors”, plus small numbers of French,  Canadian and British special forces. Hovering in the background are some thousands of Turkish troops, supported by armor and artillery ready to ‘liberate’ Iraq – which was once part of the Ottoman Empire.

For the US, current military operations in Syria and Iraq are the realization of an imperialist’s fondest dream: native troops led by white officers, the model of the old British Indian Raj. Washington arms, trained, equips and financed all its native auxiliaries.

The IS is caught in a dangerous dilemma. To be a political movement, it was delighted to control Iraq’s second largest city. But as a guerilla force, it should not have holed up in an urban area where it was highly vulnerable to concentrated air attack and being surrounded. This is what’s happening right now.

In the mostly flat Fertile Crescent with too few trees, ground forces are totally vulnerable to air power, as the recent 1967, 1973 Israel-Arab wars and 2003 Iraq wars have shown. Dispersion and guerilla tactics are the only hope for those that lack air cover.

IS forces would best advise to disperse across the region and continue their hit-and-run attacks. Otherwise, they risk being destroyed. But being mostly bloody-minded young fanatics, IS may not heed military logic and precedent in favor of making a last stand in the ruins of Mosul and Raqqa.

When this happens, western leaders will compete to claim authorship of the faux crusade against the paper tiger of ISIS.

mercredi, 26 octobre 2016

The Battle for Mosul and the Kurdish factor


The Battle for Mosul and the Kurdish factor

Ex: http://www.katehon.com

Over the course of last week, attention was focused on two key points in the Middle East. These points are Syrian Aleppo and Iraqi Mosul where operations are being carried out to liquidate terrorists. In the first case, Syrian and Russian forces are carrying out an operation, while in the second one, an international coalition headed by Iraqi forces and Peshmerga (in fact, the army of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan) is in charge. 

The situation with Aleppo is more or less clear. Aleppo is a key node located near the border with Turkey. Various terrorist groups, some of which are supported by the West, are concentrated in and around the city. 

The situation in Mosul is different.

Mosul is a strategically important point, which opens the road to the North of Iraq and then to Syria and Turkey, as well as to the south of the country. In addition, oil fields, which are the engine of the Iraqi economy, are situated in its immediate vicinity.

The United States’ intervention in Iraq in 2003 created uncontrollable chaos there.  Washington realized its mistake only much later, even after the appearance of ISIS, the core of which was made up by Al-Qaeda militants and the commanders of the Iraqi Special Republican Guard that were all held at the same place under arrest during US occupation. Now Washington is trying to rectify its mistake by rendering support to the Arab part of Iraq through Baghdad, as well as the Kurdish autonomous region directly through the capital, the city of Erbil.

The Centre for Joint Operations was established in Erbil on the basis of which the military forces of the US, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Canada conduct operations. The first violin belongs to Washington. In February 2015, the international airport in Erbil actually became a US Air Force base at which multipurpose and military transport helicopters, spy planes, and drones are based. 

US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter visited Erbil on October 23rd and proposed to improve the US’ strategy by purposefully assassinating ISIS leaders. The conventional efforts of American forces are obviously not enough to overwhelm ISIS. 

On Friday, an American instructor died when his car was blown up by a homemade explosive device which was placed by terrorists around Mosul. Moreover, ISIS members use unmanned aircraft packed with explosives to attack the vanguard of the anti-terrorist coalition. Snipers and suicide bombers, regularly undermining armor and troops, have become the norm in the battle for Mosul. Besides, ISIS has succeeded in creating improvised mortars, ammunition, and reconnaissance means. At the military base of Peshmerga, there are trophy “Black Tigers” captured from ISIS which show the ingenuity of the terrorists.  Taking into consideration the fact that among the ranks of ISIS there are citizens from the EU with technical education, it is clear that their knowledge serves the jihadists in their destructive purposes.

Together with the Western coalition, Kurdish Peshmerga, Iraqi forces, and also Shiite militias are actively participating in the operation. Last week, an unprecedented agreement was adopted between the Kurdish autonomy and official Baghdad. Peshmerga coordinated joint actions with Iraqi forces, as reported by Field General S. Barzani. The Kurds have given the Iraqi military a corridor to the north of Mosul to effectively encircle the city. There is no such agreement with the Shiite militia, as Peshmerga is nervous over the Shiite militias which are advancing from the south and could make problems in the Kurdish areas.

On Friday, October 21st, in trying to distract the main force of the assault on Mosul, ISIS terrorists attacked a power plant in Kirkuk and seized a hotel in the city. There was also an attempt to capture a school. Peshmerga, the local police, and Asayîş security forces tracked down a group of 70 people and destroyed the group’s active part. The ensuing firefight lasted until Sunday, October 23rd. The last terrorist blew himself up. Part of the terrorists, including the organizers of the attacks known as Abu Mustafa, Abu Mohamed, az Ezawi, Abu Ali, Abu Ghassan, Abu Yahya and several others, were arrested. Local Arabs were found to have helped terrorists during the attack. So-called “sleeping cells” were activated through which the terrorists managed to get into the city and carry out the attack. 


Moreover, it is important to note that today the city of Kirkuk is home to a mixed Arab-Kurdish population. Saddam Hussein began to carry out an assimilation policy in the area, but now Kirkuk is part of the Kurdish autonomy. The participation of the Arab population in the terrorist attack worsens their situation. The full resettlement of the city is the most drastic possible measure, although this issue will have to be negotiated with Baghdad.

The issue of internally displaced persons is not a new problem for the Kurds. About one million refugees are found across the territory of Iraqi Kurdistan, both from the regions of Iraq engulfed by the war as well as from neighboring Syria.

Rather, the real problem problem is the Turkish presence. Two weeks ago, the Turkish Armed Forces entered the territory of northern Iraq, justifying such by the need to combat ISIS. However, the main part of the force stopped at 20 km north-east of Mosul in the Ba'shiqah camp. Neither the US nor Kurdish Peshmerga gave approval for further advance. However, relations with the Turks may change. On Sunday, at the request of Peshmerga, Turkish forces supported the Kurds with tanks and artillery. Rumors about the geopolitical ambitions of Turkey concerning both Aleppo and Mosul have no real substantiation. Turkey is most likely trying to demonstrate its capabilities with minimal involvement in the conflict.

The capture and liberation of Mosul will probably take two months. The situation is seriously complicated by the fact that there are many civilians in the city.

Carpet bombings, which the Americans like to do, are unacceptable in the case of Mosul. Meanwhile, the US special operations forces in the ranks of the coalition do not have combat experience in Iraq. This is true for at least most of the American troops, as the author and former US career military intelligence officer, Michael Philip Pregent, officially confirmed during his visit to Erbil.

The US is situationally acting together with the Iraqi forces and Peshmerga, providing aid in the field of intelligence, training, and equipment. This lack of strategy, of course, will delay the success of the operation. ISIS will try to hit somewhere in the other direction, including within Europe. Moreover, even after the defeat of the terrorists, there is a high likelihood that they will merely reorganize. 

General S. Barzani, commenting on the start of the large-scale operation, said on Friday: “We are concerned about the emergence of ISIS 2.0 after the liberation of Mosul.”

lundi, 09 mars 2015

Etat islamique: Destruction d’«idoles» au musée de Mossoul


Gilles Munier*
Etat islamique: Destruction d’«idoles» au musée de Mossoul

Ex: http://www.toutsaufsarkozy.com

La vidéo mise en ligne par l’Etat islamique montrant des djihadistes détruisant des statues antiques et découpant un taureau ailé assyrien m’a accablée. J’ai visité le musée et les sites archéologiques de la région – Ninive, Hatra, Khorsabad, Nimrod - à plusieurs reprises à la fin des années 90. A l’époque, il était quasiment fermé. Pendant la Première guerre du Golfe, l’armée irakienne avait monté la garde autour du bâtiment pour le protéger des risques de pillage. De nombreuses pièces archéologiques avaient été mises en sécurité. Sur les sites de Hatra et de Nimrod, j’avais vu des statues et des coupoles de temples détériorées par des tirs de missiles ou des passages du mur du son à faible altitude.

Dans mon Guide de l’Irak, publié en 2000* (photos de Erick Bonnier), j’écrivais à propos du musée :

« … les statues monumentales et les collections d’objets présentées égalent celles des grands musées occidentaux parmi les statues des dieux, les plus intéressantes pour les passionnés d’histoire religieuse sont celles de Marân, Martân et Bar-Marîn », c’est-à-dire, en araméen ancien : « Notre-Seigneur, Notre-Dame et le Fils-de-nos-Deux-Seigneurs ».

shamash.jpgCes trois divinités du panthéon hatréen pourraient avoir inspiré la Trinité chrétienne. Leurs statues provenaient du temple de Shamash, le dieu soleil assyrien.

Du temps où le royaume arabe de Hatra resplendissait, des bédouins venaient de toute l’Arabie pour effectuer à l’intérieur du temple de Shamash des rites de circumambulation, comme le font aujourd’hui les musulmans autour de la Qaaba, à La Mecque.

Aujourd’hui, on ne voit pas en quoi l’existence d’anciennes « idoles » mésopotamiennes exposées dans des vitrines a de gênant. Les statues du musée de Mossoul ne menacent pas les musulmans. Il ne viendrait à l’idée de personne de les adorer. Leur destruction avait un sens à l’époque du Prophète Muhammad et de la conversion de populations païennes à l’islam, mais le fait qu’elles aient été adorées il y a 7000 ans, bien avant la Révélation du Coran, fait partie d’une histoire qui ne peut être gommée.

Quant au taureau ailé découpé à la scie mécanique, qui selon mes souvenirs se trouve sous le tombeau du prophète Jonas, et qui faisait partie d’une entrée du palais d’Asarhaddon (681-669 av. J-C), fils d’Assourbanipal, il suffisait de le recouvrir de terre pour le cacher à la vue de la population.

La directrice générale de l'Unesco a demandé jeudi dernier la convocation d’une réunion de crise du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies pour protéger le patrimoine archéologique irakien. C’est bien, mais un peu tard. Il eut mieux valu qu’elle s’en préoccupe sérieusement dès la Première guerre du Golfe… Depuis, il y a eu les pillages organisés du musée de Bagdad (avril 2003) et de nombreux sites laissés à l’abandon, ou occupés comme par hasard par les troupes américaines (Ur et Babylone, par exemple).

Outre les destructions imbéciles effectuées par l’Etat islamique : quid des dégâts provoqués sur certains sites par les bombardements actuels de la coalition américaine ? Il y a fort à parier que les opérations qui seront lancées pour reconquérir Mossoul, annoncées pour le printemps prochain, détruiront en grande partie la ville. L’Unesco va-t-elle demander aux Occidentaux et à leurs alliés de sauvegarder les édifices religieux anciens, ou les ruines de Ninive si des combats s’y déroulent ? J’en doute.

* « Guide de l’Irak », Jean Picollec Editeur (Paris)

* « Irak, an illustrated history », Interlink Group (Etats-Unis)