Tag Archives: Mosul

Pentagon: New Mosul Strike Destroyed More Cash, Killed ‘Acceptable’ Number of Civilians

by Jason Ditz

Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren has confirmed that on Monday, the US launched its second attack on an ISIS “cash collection point” in as many weeks, destroying another pile of unspecified cash in the middle of the large city of Mosul.

As with the previous incident, there were reports of civilian casualties in the attack, though Col. Warren insisted the Pentagon was willing to accept some civilian deaths in the attack, and that the initial estimates were that they only killed “in the single digits.”

Pentagon officials had similarly indicated that in the previous attack they were “comfortable” with civilian casualties in the scores, but that they believed they’d only killed between 7-9. Those deaths have not been formally confirmed by the Pentagon, however, who usually denies reports of civilian deaths as a matter of course.

Col. Warren termed the killings “tragic” but did not indicate that the Pentagon had any qualms about launching such attacks, but warned that ISIS was likely to keep its cash in smaller amounts spread around multiple locations in the future to keep it from getting blown up.

While the first such strike was believed to have destroyed a few million dollars in cash, this latest strike is conspicuous in its lack of details, with officials making no attempt to estimate what they actually destroyed, suggesting the figure will seem less impressive, and less worth the casualties inflicted on the civilian population.

Of course, launching strikes that they know will kill civilian bystanders is widely held to be illegal under international law, and officials made a big deal with the previous attack about launching the strike late at night to limit the number of people around the area. In this case, no such assurances were given.

At Least 12 Civilians Killed in US Coalition Airstrikes on Mosul

by Jason Ditz

Coalition airstrikes against the major ISIS-held Iraqi city of Mosul leveled homes in a residential neighborhood today, killing at least 20 people, including at least 12 civilians. The claim was that the homes were “used by ISIS.”

Witnesses said one of the houses belonged to the son of a local ISIS commander. Several other houses in the area were badly damaged by the attacks, and officials have conspicuously not commented on the incident so far.

US officials have generally not admitted to large civilian death tolls during airstrikes against ISIS territory, insisting the reports of eyewitnesses in those areas are “not credible” and refusing to investigate the claims more thoroughly.

Mosul is ISIS’ largest city, and has been held by ISIS since the summer of 2014. Though US and Iraqi officials have talked up an eventual counterattack, there is no timetable for trying to reclaim the city, which is still deeply entrenched in ISIS territory.

ISIS burns and destroys over 8,000 books in Mosul

Militant members of ISIS have reportedly broken their way into the Mosul public library, where they burned an estimated 8,000 books, some of which were rare and historical manuscripts.

A bearded militant, according to CBS DC, told residents living near the library, “These books promote infidelity and call for disobeying Allah. So they will be burned.”

Ghanim al-Ta’an, the director of the public library, said the militants used an improvised explosive devices against the library with the hopes of destroying it, but when these efforts failed, the militants looted the books instead.

According to the Fiscal Times, the library housed many historical items and texts such as manuscripts written in the eighteenth century, books from the Ottoman era, and books printed in the nineteenth century in the first Iraqi printing house.

Militants are known to regularly burn books and manuscripts and destroy tombs and shrines of the cities and areas they have claimed as part of their caliphate. The militants also destroyed the church of Mary the Virgin and the Mosul University Theater on the same day, according to Breitbart.

A history professor at the University of Mosul spoke with the Lebanon Daily Star and said militants had started to destroy other public libraries in the area last month. Archives in a Sunni Muslim library, a library belonging to a 265-year-old Latin Church and Monastery of the Dominican Fathers, and works in the Mosul Museum Library were destroyed. Some of the works which were destroyed dated back to 5,000 B.C.

Rayan al-Hadidi, an activist and blogger in Mosul said, after the burning of the books from the library in Mosul, “900 years ago, the books of the Arab philosopher Averroes were collected before his eyes…and burned. One of his students started crying while witnessing the burning. Averroes told him… the ideas have wings…but I cry today over our situation.”

Kurdish forces push back against ISIS, reclaim occupied territory

As the international response against ISIS grows and takes affect, Kurdish forces from the semi-autonomous state of Kurdistan fought the terrorist group in northern Iraq on Tuesday.

An area in northern Iraq known as the Rabia district was the center of the fighting as Kurdish Peshmerga forces fought their way into the district before sunrise Tuesday.  Fighting around the district continued throughout the day and resulted in Peshmerga forces claiming the occupied territory.

The Rabia district has been under ISIS control since June after the initial sweep of ISIS forces through the area.  Rabia is in a strategic location as it has served as a route for ISIS fighters to move between Iraq and Syria easily, officials said according to the New York Times.  With Peshmerga forces taking control of this region, this could stifle ISIS troop movement between the countries.

Kurdish and Iraqi forces also fought ISIS on two other fronts within Iraq.

Zumar was the location of more fighting in northern Iraq, and this town is only 40 miles away from the strategic Mosul dam and city of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq.

Heavy fighting was also reported from the Daquq district, south of Kirkuk.  This area is home to a key transport line between Baghdad and the oil-rich land around Kirkuk.

Other villages in the area were reclaimed throughout the day of fighting too.

Kurdish General Westa Rasul told the International Business Times, “They have liberated the villages of Saad and Khaled. The Peshmerga have taken full control of the area, following fierce fighting.”

General Rasul also said the Peshmerga were continuing their push towards Kirkuk, but first planned on recapturing the town of Al-Wahda, which is about 20 miles from Kirkuk.

Two Peshmerga were reportedly killed while 18 others were injured throughout the day, according to the Raw Story.

Ground troops might be needed to combat ISIS according to Pentagon official

After President Obama said the US would not send troops to fight ISIS in the Middle East, the top military official in the US has said if the current strategy were to fail, American ground troops would be needed to stop the growing threat of the Islamic State.

Army General Martin Dempsey gave testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee saying, according to ABC News, “To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president.”

Gen. Dempsey also said he believes the current strategy of forming an international coalition with nations from the West and Middle East is the appropriate response at this time.  If there was a direct threat to the US though, Gen. Dempsey said, according to the BBC, “I of course would go back to the president and make a recommendation that may include the use of US military ground forces.”

One instance where US ground troops may be required to help Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the area would be in the retaking of the second largest Iraqi city, Mosul.  “It could very well be part of that particular mission to provide close combat advising or accompanying for that mission,” said Gen. Dempsey.  “But for the day-to-day activities that I anticipate will evolve over time, I don’t see it to be necessary right now.”

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel also spoke to the committee saying the initial plan to keep current airstrikes focused in Iraq would expand to Syria, according to the LA Times.  Hagel said, “targeted actions against ISIL safe havens in Syria, including its command and control, logistics capabilities and infrastructure.”

As of now, the US has conducted over 160 airstrikes against ISIS and the Islamic State in order to help ally forces on the ground in Iraq.

ISIL tightens grip on Iraq

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the terrorist group disavowed by al-Qaeda and is responsible for the recent state of turmoil in the Middle East, has captured the city of Tal Afar and made claims of mass execution over the weekend.

The city of Tal Afar is close to the Iraqi city of Mosul, which was captured last week along with the arms depots within the city.  According to the NBC News, the same weapons captured in Mosul, mostly rocket launchers and machineguns, were used in the seizure of Tal Afar.

Capturing the city is a strategic move by ISIL who also have captured cities in Syria.  Tal Afar is only 93 miles from the Syrian border, making it an opportune route to connect ISIL forces and supplies across the northern parts of the two countries.

ISIL also released photos this past weekend of their members executing hundreds of captured Iraqi soldiers and civilians.  According to RT, the photos were posted to the Twitter account associated with ISIL, and a spokesman for the group claimed the pictures and killings took place just north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.

The group has had their sights set on attacking Baghdad, which has prompted the U.S. to strengthen the security of the embassy in the city.  About 150 U.S. Marines arrived at the embassy to protect U.S. citizens and diplomats.  The embassy itself though will stay open, said the U.S. State Department, but some of the staff will be relocated temporarily.

This comes a few days after planeloads of other American diplomats were evacuated from the Iraqi airbase of Balad, another city just north of Baghdad.

British officials in Baghdad said they have no intention to evacuate their staff from what is designated the “Green Zone” in the city, but they claimed to have witnessed large groups of individuals lining up at the main airport while many others withdrew money from local banks.

The U.S. is considering talks with Iran in the coming days to cooperate in combating ISIL in Iraq.  Iran has already sent their Revolutionary Guard to combat ISIL forces, while the U.S. government is considering sending drones and other air support to aid the Iranian fighters.

Iraq is slowly crumbling inwards

With Kurdish forces taking over various airbases and abandoned military facilities in northern Iraq, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continuing to move south towards Baghdad, Iraq is set to collapse in on itself.

Yesterday, the city of Kirkuk was seized by Kurdish forces in the north, which has long been sought as a potential capital for an autonomous Kurdish state, and for its rich oilfields.  The city is outside of what is considered the Kurdish autonomous region, but Kurds in the area claim it to be their historical capitol.

ISIL claimed the city of Mosul on June 6 after Iraqi military and policing forces abandoned the city, leaving behind military grade weaponry and tanks.

The group has begun to set the roots for what appears to be a Sharia law based region in the city as they put forth an 11-point charter with rules against drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes, while requiring people to pray five times a day and women to stay indoors unless of an emergency.

For ISIL, they now plan to move on Baghdad, which a spokesman for the group said, “we have an account to settle there.”  Similar threats to Baghdad, and the general danger spreading throughout the country, saw three planeloads of Americans evacuated from an air base just north of the capital.

President Obama responded to the recent unrest in Iraq saying he has not ruled anything out in terms of how to handle this delicate situation.  “What we’ve seen over last couple of days indicates degree to which Iraq is going to need more help,” the president said.

The central Iraqi government has been aware of the growing threat of insurgent groups for over a month now, and the New York Times has reported Iraqi officials have made various requests for military aid in the form of airstrikes across the region.

Spokeswoman for the US National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, told the Times, “We are not going to get into details of our diplomatic discussions, but the government of Iraq has made clear that they welcome our support.”

Russian Foreign Prime Minister Sergei Lavrov was quoted by Russian state news agencies as saying, “What is happening in Iraq is an illustration of the total failure of the adventure undertaken primarily by the U.S. and Britain and which they have let slip completely out of control.”

Al-Qaeda Seizes Northern Iraqi Oil Capital of Mosul

This article was written by guest contributor Jason Ditz.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq’s (AQI) offensive continues and they now control the vast majority of one of Iraq’s most important cities, the oil rich northern city of Mosul. The army has mostly fled the city, and AQI seems to be doing mop-up operations at this point.

In addition to the wealth of Mosul, AQI got a lot of weapons out of the deal, as troops dropped their arms and fled in the face of the much larger militant force, so many of Iraq’s US-bought arms are now in AQI’s hands.

Even vehicles came along with the deal, and the first US humvees have been reported in AQI’s Syrian territory, looted out of Mosul, which is now the largest city of al-Qaeda’s growing empire in the region.

Indeed, while the borders aren’t readily defined at this point because of constant fighting, AQI territory is arguably already a state of its own, straddling Iraq and Syria and comprising significant chunks of each.

Iraq had been fighting AQI in Anbar since January, when they seized Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. They’ve made little progress and now AQI seems to just be expanding into the Nineveh Province, where Mosul is, with considerable momentum.



This article is from Antiwar.com.  A friend in need is a friend indeed – and we need your help to fight this brazen state repression. We’re fighting to restore constitutional government in America – but we need your tax-deductible donation to do it. Please, make your contribution today!”

Iraqi Insurgents Storm Mosul, Reportedly Seizing US Weaponry

On Tuesday, insurgents representing a group which calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria stormed and captured Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. The armed rebel group had recently been disavowed by Al-Qaeda leaders, who disagreed with the extreme brutality of ISIS’ tactics. The Washington Post is reporting that, as ISIS fighters charged into the city from the west, many US-trained soldiers and police officers representing the Iraqi government dropped their weapons, stripped off their uniforms, and fled their guard posts, allowing ISIS to seize the entire city and several bases full of weapons, most of which were likely provided by the United States.

According to International Business Times, up to 500,000 residents of Mosul fled in advance of the attack. The city’s population prior to these evacuations was estimated at around 1.5 million people, making this a significant victory for the Sunni insurgency. ISIS also captured Fallujah in January. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki requested that Parliament declare a state of emergency and called on Iraqis to take up arms and fight back against the insurgents, which may have signaled to ISIS that the government lacks the manpower and resources to defend itself against the group’s advances.

Amid reports that the US is sending F-16s to Iraq, ISIS fighters seized a massive stockpile of weapons and vehicles, which likely included munitions supplied by the United States. The infamous Chechen jihadi fighter Omar al-Shishani was depicted in a photograph on Twitter examining a US-provided Humvee which may have been seized during the attack. The loss of US-supplied weapons to insurgents raises questions as to whether or not the Iraqi government has the ability to keep advanced American weaponry from falling into the wrong hands.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, also referred to as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, claims to be an independent state representing Iraq and Syria, but is unrecognized by international bodies and is considered a rebel group by the Iraqi government. ISIS now controls a significant portion of land in the region, encompassing sections of eastern Syria and western Iraq, and plans to capture the Levant region in the future. Prime Minister Maliki has announced that security forces will be mobilized to combat the invasion.

The sudden seizure of such a large city has shocked observers, causing experts to reassess the strength of ISIS’ fighters. Also, the fact that government forces fled in advance of the attack calls into question the loyalty of Maliki’s soldiers and police officers, some of whom might have had sympathies for the insurgents.