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30 March 2017

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Serge

Votel also parroted the Iraqi government claim that 284 soldiers have been killed in w.mosul operations. Anyone remember Iraqi government outrage in dec over the UN claiming 2000 Iraqi troops dead in November alone? Iraqis have long track record of pulling this tactic of obfuscating and lying about casualties,for propaganda. One of the biggest reasons IMO that Al Jazeera was kicked out last year was that they were virtually the only news organization to report on Iraqi armed forces casualties in fight against IS

Willybilly

Al-Jazeera IS to be considered as part and parcel of IS thugs and liver eaters from inception until today...

The Beaver

Patrick,

What happened in South Baghdad ( what is known as triangle of death) last night is a good example of how ISIL can be revived!

turcopolier

PB

Excellent, excellent work. I think you as well for notifying me of the death of my old French Army friend BG (ret.) Jacques Kolly. pl

Babak Makkinejad

Patrick Bahzad:

Thanks.

If one has a garden and a sitting area, one is often bothered by mosquitoes.

There are various concoctions that one can use to get rid of them.

These remedies do not kill those mosquitoes; rather, would be causing them to move to the neighbors' gardens and yards.

Which is an acceptable solution for most people.

Perhaps analogous such remedies might be adopted by SAR and the Iraqi governments.

The mosquitoes would

r whitman

PB
Who do you think will "own" the cities of Mosul and Raqqa after the conquest?


Patrick Bahzad

Pat,

You're welcome, altough I'm very sorry about the sad news.

Patrick Bahzad

Serge,

Indeed. NGO reports related to the whole of Iraq though, it has to be said. But it's true that the Iraqi government asked for those figures not to be published after that.
Same goes for civilian casualties, since about a week ago.

Babak Makkinejad

be some one else's problem; hopefully the Gulfies.

Patrick Bahzad

TB,

Yes, Baghdad is definitely within reach of IS terror acts, but not as an area where they could regroup.

Patrick Bahzad

RW,

I'm not sure about whether there will be anything resembling unified control over Mosul anytime soon. Security forces may be in control of a vast wasteland, void of most of its inhabitants. But in this kind of war, its control over the population that matters. So the question is, who will be in control of the refugee camps, the areas where IDPs live, the rural places along the Iranian border, etc.

Ramadi and Fallujah are small in comparison to Mosul and they still haven't recovered from their "liberation".

As far as Raqqa is concerned, I'm less pessimistic, first of all because the locals don't feel any sense of allegiance to IS and then because there are still tribal structures in place in the area that could take over some form of local control over the city once the fighting is done. Short term, it doesn't look as bad as Mosul. Long term depends of course on the settlement reached for the whole of Syria.

Fred

Patrick,

“The Caliphate with its bureaucracy and (poor) infrastructure might be lost, but not the idea it is feeding on.”

Every time the jihadis are successful in striking abroad – Nice, Paris, London; the West lights up the night time sky. Special lights on Big Ben, Tour Eiffel. It’s like a giant victory celebration. When was the last time France lit up the Eiffel Tower when her police were successful in stopping a terrorist attack? I sure don’t remember one. Let’s not forget Mr. Zuckerberg, he lights up the entire internet with special motifs on Facebook. This only reinforces the idea of victory amongst the potential martyrs. The West is, inadvertently or not, providing a powerful worldwide symbol of the terrorst’s victory in battle over the West which in the long term will become a part of their collective memory and be one more item in the recruitment toolshed of their ideology.

Farmer Don

This may be old news.

But I think it's good news.

Haley: U.S. no longer focused on removing Assad from power
By AIDAN QUIGLEY 03/30/17 02:43 PM EDT

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/nikki-haley-bassar-al-assad-syria-priority-236710

Priam's Crazy Daughter

So much to think about after reading the post and the comments. Thanks for taking the time to write the report and answer the questions.

Now I will go to give my thanks for my blessings. I will ad one: I was blessed not to be born in Iraq.

English Outsider


1. From above article, showing ineffectual policing of captured areas in Mosul leading to further tension:-

"Additionally, heavy handed policing in the Mosul neighbourhoods that have been retaken from IS only inflames things further. Masked gunmen parading as police take suspects into custody. There are rumours of arbitrary detentions and summary executions.."

2. From Lavrov interview, published 29th March 2017, on post-relief policing of East Aleppo:-

" ... some ground special military police helping keep law and order in the Sunni quarters of Aleppo and Damascus, the military police from Russia is largely composed of Russian Sunnis from the northern Caucasus—Chechens, Ingush and others."

One of the many contrasts between the re-taking of the two cities therefore lies in the policing of the re-taken areas. It was reported that after the relief of East Aleppo Russian military police restrained SAA units or local militias when those units were mistreating the local population. According to the above quotation from Lavrov, the Russians ensured that those military police units were from suitable groups. There's no one, it seems, to exercise a similar function in Mosul.


(Lavrov quotation taken from an interview mentioned in the Saker and printed here:-
http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2710445
)

Thank you for the article.

Peter AU

"This is probably the 3rd Iraqi army that the US have rebuilt over the past 15 years."

This is something I have looked at for some time. Non US trained PMU's seem to perform ok in Iraq, also Kurds.
When you look at both Syria and Iraq, it is only the US trained Iraq Military that do not perform well against ISIS.

I may not be right here, but looking at Syria, the Russians seem to be able to understand and then enhance what is already there rather than trying to completely rebuild in their own image.

b

I am less pessimistic on Mosul and the Iraqi army seems to go out of its way to avoid civilian casualties. They risk their own lives instead of just bombing the old city of Mosul to smithereens. Just compare the operation to when the U.S. destroyed Fallujah in a way more brutal operation.

The Saudiss shave already started to finance a new "Sunni movement". The think tanks are all out demanding that the U.S. uses some imaginary "Bedouin tribes" to steal parts of south east Syria and Anbar. Guess who pays them.

Fact is - Sunni Arabs are some 22% of Iraq. The have had, under Maliki(!), a higher percentage than that in budget and political positions. That continues to be the case. They have killed -under the ISIS label- thousands of their neighbors. I would understand very well if the Baghdad government would finally say "enough" and really crack down on the. Alas - it doesn't.

Fighting in a city is impossible without massive destruction. What are the Iraqis to do? Leave Mosul under ISIS? With a million people suppressed by it? Or rather clean it up as good as possible?

The security services are rounding up Sunni men leaving Mosul? Well - how else are going to stop ISIS fighters from leaving in disguise? They will sort them out. Surely, mistakes will be made in this. But is there any idea of how to prevent that?

VietnamVet

PB

Excellent. Hard to argue the facts.

The War on Terror is a quagmire of the West’s own making. In the past, wars ended; except for the Holy Wars. Proxy forces and military contractors hide the war until they don’t anymore. NATO cannot occupy Afghanistan, Ukraine, Iraq and Syria indefinitely with a volunteer army. The USA has been at war with the Sunni Arabs for a quarter century with no end is in sight.

Destroying governments willy-nilly and forcing millions to flee has already destabilized the West as shown by Donald Trump’s election and Brexit. To continue the wars and the looting an ancient evil scapegoat is required. That is Russia. If any nation survives into the 22nd century, it will need to have the high ground, fresh water, free education, healthcare, arable land, nuclear weapons, and a trained militia of able bodied citizens.

Jim MacMillan

PB:

Thanks for a first-rate analysis.

What is your opinion on hints that Iraqis will leave the old Mosul neighborhood until last because of its narrow streets and alleys? And also because some of that neighborhood is home turf to many of the Daeshis.

PS: do you still post on twitter?

ISL

PB,

Very nice analysis.

It seems to me that if you are rebuilding an army again and again and again, then, as for a broken bone, it gets weaker each time its rebuilt. How does one recruit? Come join the new new new Iraqi army to experience decimation and be part of (if you are not a casualty) its next glorious rebirth? Seems a lousy slogan.

Seriously, it seems a recipe for qualified recruits to go into a militia, and a further centrifugal force on the center.

Jim MacMillan

Or perhaps a more direct role in sending those mosquitoes to the Gulfies - such as the help that Lenin and 31 other Russian dissidents got in returning to Petrograd?

charly

If it is liberated by the Kurds it has the advantage of being liberated by "foreigners" that leave as i assume the Kurds will leave while the Iraqi state will stay

charly

I think you have it wrong. The US (and the West) didn't ally with there enemies but was their main enemy.

Patrick Bahzad

BM,

Maybe these mosquitoes are a new mutant/hybrid species that needs a specific ecological system to thrive on ? Would the Gulf States or KSA provide them with what they need to live and prosper ? Probably not.

Patrick Bahzad

I doubt the Kurds will be involved in the actual assault on Raqqa. More likely the will be in charge of controlling access to it from North and East, partly from West, but they will not be part of the main assault force. Arab units among the SDF may be though.

Also, keep in mind, Raqqa is much smaller than Mosul and doesn't have the same urban fabric as Mosul. One thing that can't be discounted is the the locals might be willing to provide much more assistance than in Mosul.

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