Saturday, February 04, 2017

Liberation in Mosul? Like in Falluja?

Look who's concerned.

In these days, it's worth remembering what happens if we don't hold our govt. to account. Iraq: A Deadly Deception

Everybody's favorite spook who didn't say "Boo!" for the last eight years about Iraq is suddenly concerned.

Now, she insists, we have to hold our leaders accountable.

Too bad the professional liar wasn't concerned about holding leaders accountable when Barack Obama was playing footsie with Nouri al-Maliki as Nouri terrorized the Iraqi people -- with a special focus on the Sunnis.

Too bad the professional liar wasn't concerned about holding leaders accountable when Barack appeased Iran by releasing the killers of US troops in 2009 (The League of Righteous).

But, hey, Val's back in town.

Maybe she can lead the 'resistance'?

She's certainly been trained by the government in deception and lies.

She never seems to have grasped an important point: Americans not liking that the Bully Boy Bush administration outed her is not the same as Americans actually liking her.

That's one of the main reasons FAIR GAME flopped so hugely ($9.5 million in ticket sales in North America -- off a $22 million shooting budget).

It's why her book flopped.

She's someone America doesn't care for and it's a shame she never grasped that fact.

If she had, she might have tried to do something useful since she made herself a celebrity.

Hundreds of Iraqis did useful things yesterday including the hundred who rallied in Baghdad's Tahrir Square.  ALSUMARIA reports they rallied to call for reforms in the government (corruption) and reforms in the election law and the Independent High Electoral Commission.  ALSUMARIA reports hundred also protested in Karbala with the same demands.

Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

Strikes in Iraq
Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted seven strikes in 18 engagements in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Huwayjah, a strike destroyed an improvised explosive device factory.

-- Near Irbil, a strike destroyed a front-end loader and a dump truck.

-- Near Mosul, five strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units; destroyed eight watercraft, three vehicle bombs, two barges, a vehicle and an artillery system; damaged three supply routes; and suppressed a mortar team.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

And The Mosul Slog continues.

110 days ago it began.

Mosul is still not liberated.

A pause -- or 'ban'? -- has recently taken place with the liberation or 'liberation' of eastern Mosul.

Mustafa Habib (NIQASH) reports:

The praise for the hard fighting that Iraq’s pro-government forces have done to free the eastern side of Mosul had hardly died down when it was announced that the military – and their enemy - was moving into position to begin the next stage of the battle. This will involve trying to push the extremist group known as the Islamic State, which has controlled the northern city since mid-2014, out of the western side of the city.
But before security forces even go any further – and by all accounts, there has been a high casualty rate among them as a result of the hard fighting in Mosul – the question of how to secure and stabilize the eastern side of the city remains. There is a need for urgent societal and political measures as well as state services and reliable security.
According to a member of the counter-terrorism forces, Saif al-Rubaie, the fighting in Mosul is different because of all the civilians who stayed in their homes during the battles. In other parts of the country, such as in Fallujah, Ramadi and Tikrit, most of the civilians left their homes and went to camps for displaced people. The majority only returned again once the fighting was finished and, al-Rubaie says, they were vetted before they were allowed to return.
“There are now patrols roaming the liberated neighbourhoods of Mosul and they are going house to house verifying IDs and searching for IS members who might be hiding among the civilians,” al-Rubaie told NIQASH. “We’ve been able to arrest a number of them and we have found weapons stores in abandoned houses too – the extremists would have used these later, to attack liberated neighbourhoods.”
Al-Rubaie’s unit was involved in the fighting to push the IS group out of the central Iraqi city of Fallujah and after this task was more or less completed they were sent to join the fighting in Mosul. But he and his colleagues have been upset with the news coming out of Fallujah, about the fact there are still bombings going on there; there have been seven car bombs in the city, with the latest attack on Saturday.

His unit’s biggest fear now is that after they cross the Tigris river to start fighting the IS group in western Mosul, the eastern side will be attacked again, and possibly they will have to fight a  rear guard action too. The counter-terrorism forces are trying to prevent this happening by ensuring that the eastern side is secure.

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.

What's life like for the refugees?  Human Rights Watch's Belkis Wille (ALJAZEERA) reports:

The people in these camps were terrorised by ISIL and have had to leave their lives behind. Some were separated from family members in the chaos in 2014, when ISIL took over the region.
Some were separated from family members by accident as they fled recently, and others were separated from the men and older boys in their family for security checks, to make certain they aren't ISIL fighters.
But none of the camps housing Mosul's displaced allow for free movement, a fundamental right, and only one is allowing family reunification at the moment, as far as I know.
At least two camps prohibit visitors and ban mobile phones, ostensibly for security reasons. Ghazi's was confiscated as he arrived at the camp's euphemistically named "reception centre", or screening facility. This makes the displaced significantly more vulnerable - those whose loved ones were detained for alleged affiliation with ISIL have no way of reaching out to contacts to help locate them.

It's very sad and totally predictable.  There was no planning to protect the people. No concern over them.

Just as there was no concern over the people of Falluja -- before or after 'liberation.'

The real estate business has been great in Fallujah since September 2016, when families started returning to their homes after the extremists were driven out, confirms Nabil Ibrahim al-Issawi, 50, owner of a real estate agency.
“People came back and made big decisions,” al-Issawi explains. “I keep getting calls from friends and customers asking me to sell their property, even though they are well aware they will only get half the value of the building if they sell now.”
“The cities that have been liberated have lost all of the things that made them attractive in the first place,” he continues. “Doctors don’t want to go back, schools have been destroyed and the infrastructure and state services are not back yet either.”


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