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Mosul Massacre killed THOUSANDS of INNOCENT people

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Oct 01, 2016 1:33 am

No Peshmerga or Shiite militias will enter Mosul city

During the upcoming operation to liberate Mosul from Islamic State (ISIS) militants neither the Kurdish Peshmerga nor the Shiite militia of Hashd al-Shaabi will enter the city throughout the course of the operation, the US Deputy Secretary of State has said.

“The core of the force that liberates Mosul will be the Iraqi security forces backed by the coalition with the support of the Peshmerga,” Antony Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday.

After the city is captured, Blinken added, the US hopes to have developed a 15,000-man Sunni Arab force to secure and stabilize the city after the militants are forced out.

“The tribal elements that are being trained, equipped, brought on board with the goal of getting 15,000 of them will predominantly be the holding force once the city is liberated,” he explained.

Meanwhile, US Air Force Colonel John Dorrian told reporters that while the Peshmerga will participate in the operation to retake Mosul “the details of their involvement are still being worked out.”

In early August the Peshmerga advanced closer to Mosul, seizing several villages from ISIS control. According to Peshmerga commander Sheikh Jaffar Mustafa Peshmerga forces are, in some areas, as close as 10 kilometers to the city of Mosul.

Iraqi forces are expected to assault Mosul from Qayyara airbase, which is 60 kilometers south of the city and was recaptured from ISIS back in July. Currently hundreds of US military advisors are helping the Iraqis establish Qayyara as a logistical hub ahead of their assault on Mosul, where they will play a supporting role in the operation.

http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/30092016
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Oct 01, 2016 2:01 am

Islamic State says over 7,000 fighters ‘ready to defend Mosul’
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg and Chalak Haji

The US-led coalition said that ISIS has some 3,000 to 4,500 fighters in Mosul, and that there are no signs that the radical is leaving its main bastion in northern Iraq.

“We think anywhere from 3,000 to 4,500 [ISIS] fighters are in Mosul, somewhere in that ball park. It’s a mixture of Iraqi and foreign fighters,” US-led coalition’s spokesman Air Force Col. John Dorrian said.

However, Saudi fighter of ISIS, Abu Azzam al-Muhajir, told ARA News they have at least 7,000 fighters in Mosul, the ISIS main bastion in northwestern Iraq.

“Over 7,000 fighters are ready to defend Mosul,” he said.

“Also, there are still 500,000 civilians living in Mosul, and they will not accept to return to the central government’s authority and be rule by the Shia,” al-Muhajir told ARA News.

The US-led coalition said it will continue to attack ISIS in Mosul. “They show no signs of really trying to leave Mosul at this point. Really, what they’ve done is they’ve continued to dig in, build elaborate defenses and so we’re really ready for a tough fight there,” Colonel Dorrian said.

“The Iraqi security forces have been well trained to do urban style warfare. That’s one of the things that we’ve done for refit. We are expecting [ISIS to have] a mixture of Iraqis and foreign fighters. They do continue to flow in and some of them are fixed in place there,” he added.

Another ISIS source told ARA News that group has cordoned all the roads to Nineveh and has completed almost 80 per cent of their project to build trenches around Mosul, which are filled with crude oil. Moreover, they have put concrete cement near the entrances of the city’s neighbourhoods.

The US-led coalition official said that at least 8 to 12 brigades of the Iraqi army will march on Mosul. “We also expect the Iraqi police to be involved, because they’re going to be a part of the effort to maintain security once areas have been liberated, to hold those areas so Daesh [ISIS] can’t re-infiltrate,” Dorrian said.

“We think it’s going to be a very large battle. We do expect the [Kurdish] Peshmerga to be involved, although the details of their involvement are still being worked out. And we also expect there to be tribal forces involved,” he concluded.

http://aranews.net/2016/10/islamic-stat ... end-mosul/
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Oct 01, 2016 2:29 am

"...there are still 500,000 civilians living in Mosul, and they will not accept to return to the central government’s authority and be rule by the Shia,”


We must never forget that the Sunni population of Mosul welcomed the Islamic State as their protectors - following the years of abuse they suffered at the hands of the Shia population

It is time to divide Iraq between Kurds, Sunni and Shia
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Oct 01, 2016 11:17 pm

Erdogan vows Turkey will play a role in Mosul battle

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that the Turkish army will play a role in the looming battle to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS) and that no party can prevent this from happening.

“We will play a role in the Mosul liberation operation and no one can prevent us from participating,” Erdogan said in parliament.

He claimed there are attempts to allow the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to participate in the Mosul fight, and vowed “we will never accept it.”

He also said that, apart from the fight to clear Mosul of ISIS, the strategic town of Tal Afar in northern Iraq also will be liberated of ISIS.

The president warned that Turkey will closely watch the battle in order to “prevent war crimes or genocide happening against the Turkmen people in (Iraq’s) Nineveh province.”

Erdogan had earlier revealed the timing for the battle to push ISIS out of its stronghold of Mosul as October 19.

Turkish armed forces are in Bashiqa, northern Mosul, providing training for Peshmerga and Iraqi Sunni forces.

Last December, Turkey boosted its troop numbers at the camp, sparking a diplomatic confrontation with Baghdad, which asserted that Turkish troops were in the country without Baghdad’s permission or knowledge. Turkey maintained that the troops were necessary to protect their training mission at the camp.

http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/turkey/011020161
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:36 am

Sunni militia to come under Peshmerga command for Mosul operation

Iraq’s Sunni militia has announced it will come under Peshmerga command for the expected operation to liberate Mosul from the Islamic State (ISIS).

“All the plans have been put in place, and there is a formal decision for the Hashd al-Watani militia to be mixed with the Peshmerga forces in the Mosul war,” Zuhair Hazin Jabouri, a spokespersons for the Sunni militia known as Hashd al-Watani, told Rudaw.

“The Hashd al-Watani is to receive its commands from the Peshmerga forces during the war,” Jabouri added.

Erbil, Baghdad, and Washington reached an accord concerning cooperation between the Peshmerga and the Iraqi army in the battle for Mosul during a tripartite meeting hosted by the Kurdish president in mid-September.

Jabouri said they have resolved some “technical problems” and political and sectarian tensions that existed in the past which resulted in a delay launching the offensive to liberate the Sunni-majority city.

The possible participation of Shiite militia has stirred debate in the country as Sunni officials fear an escalation of sectarian tensions between the two groups, particularly following reports of human rights violations committed against Sunni residents of Fallujah by the Shiite militia.

In discussions between leadership from Erbil, Baghdad, and the US-led international coalition, it was decided that only Iraqi forces will enter Mosul city in order to mitigate concerns of sectarian violence.

Speaking at a roundtable discussion on pre- and post-liberation planning for Mosul hosted by Erbil’s Middle East Research Institute (MERI) last week, Jabar Yawar, chief of staff and spokesperson for the Peshmerga ministry, said that, while Peshmerga and other forces will participate in the military operation, “It’s agreed on that just the Iraqi army and federal police and local police will enter the city of Mosul.”

Yousef al-Kilabi, a spokesperson for the Shiite militia, told Rudaw on Monday that the group would take part in the offensive despite concerns.

The Iraqi and Kurdish forces have virtually besieged Mosul, leaving only one escape route for the militants to leave the city for neighboring Syria, hoping many of the foreign fighters would choose the safety of ISIS-held areas in Syria over a bloody war in Mosul.

http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/041020163
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 05, 2016 2:40 am

Don’t decide on Mosul now; give it temporary international rule

The liberation for Mosul will start on October 19, so the Turkish president Erdogan told the world. Iraqis have been looking forward to the moment the second Iraqi city will be taken from the clutches of the Islamic group ISIS.

Tikrit, that was considered a stronghold of Saddam Hussein’s Baath-party whose members played a major role in the rise of ISIS, has been liberated over a year ago, with other towns in the Sunni heartland ISIS was feeding on following suit, yet the battle for Mosul has been delayed over and over again.

The reason given was mostly military: the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga troops were not ready for the big job, or they needed their back secured before moving on Mosul.

The large numbers of refugees that would result from the operation were another reason for delay, as nobody wanted to repeat the situation in Fallujah, where refugees poured out without refugee camps having been prepared for them.

For Mosul, that hurdle is being taken. The UN’s refugee organization, UNHCR, is working with both the Iraqi and the Kurdish governments to set up not only camps but also make arrangements for out-of-camp housing.

Already, thousands of inhabitants of villages and towns that were taken from ISIS have found refuge, with some even returning home again after the explosives ISIS left behind were cleared.

But Mosul is still waiting. And now another reason for delay is on the table: there is no political solution for after the liberation that is acceptable for all players involved.

And yet, the situation in the city is getting worse all the time.

The city has swelled due to all the refugees that fled from other cities ISIS lost, some of them because of their affiliation with the group, others because they were more scared of the Shiite militias involved in the military operation than of ISIS. Locals think there could be over two million inhabitants now.

Yet because of the loss of supply routes in combination with the way ISIS rules, many now suffer from a lack of food. Prices have gone up while ISIS still expects people to pay the taxes it imposed.

At the same time, there is no freedom. People hide in their houses to keep out of ISIS’s way, not to be picked up for some reason and be executed for some trumped up case.

People are suffering, are the reports from Mosul, and many just want one thing: to be rid of the force that is suppressing them, of the villagers that imposed their will on them.

They need the liberation sooner rather than later. But they show fear for the results, if political forces beforehand agree to divide their city.

Mosul Eye, a blogger still reporting from the city, made that clear this week, writing:

“We Do Not Want to Join Turkey. We Do Not Want to Join Kurdistan. We Do Not Want to Divide Our City. We Want to Stay an Iraqi Province Within Our Natural Borders Under International Protection. We Are Terrified of Any Genocides and Bloodbaths Might Occur After Liberation.”

The blogger gives a solution, both to the fears of the Mosul people, and the demands to have a solid political solution in place before chasing ISIS out.

He asks for an international trusteeship for Mosul, turning it into an international town, like for instance Berlin after the Second World War.

International rule would give the local parties time to agree on a solution that shows the desire of the Mosul people – which is rather more difficult when most of them are still under occupation.

Yet the will of the people should be the leading incentive, not the will of the liberators, or of politicians who claim they speak for those still under occupation.

At this stage, the Mosul people do not want to see their town and province divided. Getting the international community in for a temporary rule, would give them time to decide whether the perspective they formed under occupation indeed is the right one.

Mosul is important, for it is a possible breeding ground of new resistance and terrorism. Giving the city a rule it does not want, might ignite this.

A less well known example is the Moroccan town of Tanger, that about a century ago (1923-1956) was ruled by eight western countries in coordination with the Moroccan Sultan (later King), to solve disagreements between France, Spain and Britain about who would control it.

Although the situation is different because these countries were colonial powers, similarities stand out too, as Mosul also is not only part of a local power struggle, but also of a geopolitical one.

International rule brought Tanger prosperity and a situation where different ethnic groups were able to live in harmony.

Exactly that is needed for Mosul too. After having been looted and impoverished by radicals, its inhabitants desperately need a period of peace. Most probably only international rule can bring that.

http://rudaw.net/english/opinion/04102016
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:43 pm

Kurdish security chief calls for deal on post-ISIS administration of Mosul
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg

Masrour Barzani, the Chanchellor of the Kurdistan Region Security Council, said on Wednesday that it was better to reach a post-management deal on Mosul “before it’s too late”.

The Kurdish security chief, who met with the US Deputy Head of Mission in Baghdad Stephanie Williams on Wednesday to discuss Iraq’s challenges ahead of major offensives planned against ISIS in Hawija and Mosul, warned for future problems in Mosul.

“[We] must contextualize Iraq’s war as part of ethnic, religious and political differences, and address root-causes of problems to win the peace,” Barzani said.

“We believe problems will surface once Mosul’s liberated. It’s easier to reach a post-management deal now whilst the parties need each other,” he added.

Barzani’s statement indicates that although a military plan might be ready for Mosul, there is no concrete plan yet for the post-ISIS administration of the city.

Analysts and retired generals have warned that the biggest challenge would be the post-ISIS management of the city of Mosul–that has always been a refuge for Sunni insurgents.

US Retired Army Gen. David Petraeus in an op-ed for the Washington Post wrote that failure to stabilize Iraq after retaking Mosul could lead to Islamic State 3.0.

“There is no question that the Islamic State will be defeated in Mosul; the real question is what comes afterward. Can the post-Islamic State effort resolve the squabbling likely to arise over numerous issues and bring lasting stability to one of Iraq’s most diverse and challenging provinces?” he said.

According to a report by the Erbil-based think tank MERI on the future of Mosul, it is important that a political deal between the various local actors and the central government is reached ahead of the Mosul operation–expected to be launched in late October.

“This will ensure that there is a clear understanding of who will govern Nineveh [governorate] and how. There are currently too many political and military (including exogenous) factions within Nineveh and failure to reach a deal is likely to result in violent conflict,” the MERI report said.

“For the same reason, there must also be an agreement for the local armed groups to come together under one command within the wider Iraqi security apparatus,” the report added.

According Washington-based analyst Amberin Zaman writing for Al Monitor, escalating tensions between Turkey and Iraq over a Turkish troop presence near Mosul are threatening to further disrupt the long-awaited campaign against the Islamic State in Mosul.

The Iraqi parliament called on Turkish troops to leave Iraq, after the Turkish parliament extended the mandate of Turkish troops in both Iraq and Syria. Turkish officials suggested Shiite forces should not be involved in Mosul.

On Wednesday, the US vice president Joe thanked the Kurdish president Masoud Barzani for his leadership and cooperation with Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi.

“The leaders underscored the urgency of sustaining momentum for the liberation of Mosul and other ISIL-held territories,” the White House said in a statement.

Iraqi-Kurdish cooperation ahead of the Mosul operation is crucial since the Kurdish Peshmerga forces already surround Mosul from several directions, while the Iraqi troops are heading towards Mosul from Qayyarah.

http://aranews.net/2016/10/kurdish-secu ... ion-mosul/
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 05, 2016 10:05 pm

I still think that the inhabitants of Mosul should be the people to decide what happens to

THEIR CITY
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 06, 2016 3:20 am

Jihadists search homes as pet cats are banned in ISIS held Mosul

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Islamists in Iraq’s city of Mosul have issued a fatwa banning the city’s residents from keeping the felines at home claiming the new law supports jihadists’ “vision, ideology and beliefs”.

Keeping cats at home is no longer allowed for Mosul residents, the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISISL) said in the new decree. “Islamic State’s Central Fatwa Committee issued a fatwa against the breeding of cats inside houses in Mosul,” Iraqi’s Al Sumaria reported on Tuesday.

The outlet did not provide a clear explanation as to why ISIS had issued a ban on cat breeding only saying that the decree, along with other fatwas, “matches” jihadist “vision, ideology and beliefs”. Warning the city’s residents not to violate the new law, ISIS fighters began searching their houses for felines.

ISIS was not so averse to cats before, at least on the outside. Its propaganda accounts on social media have previously posted numerous pictures of kittens to lure in young recruits. In the photos, the cats were surrounded by guns and grenades or cuddled by ISIS fighters.

Without specifying whether it was because of the kittens, a 2014 UN report stated that as many as 15,000 fighters from abroad had joined ISIS ranks, arriving via 80 countries. The terror group is fully aware of the “the terror and recruitment value of multi-channel, multi-language social and other media messaging,” the report said.

A similar fatwa banning the breeding of pigeons was reportedly issued by ISIS in June. The group at the time claimed that “the sight of the birds' genitals as they fly overhead is offensive to Islam,” The Daily Mail reported.

A fatwa is an Islamic legal degree. In legitimate countries that adhere to Islamic law, like Saudi Arabia, it is issued by the respective country's top mufti. ISIS has a Central Fatwa Committee, comprised of senior clerics and figures from the terrorist group.

https://www.rt.com/viral/361719-isis-ban-cats-mosul/
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Thu Oct 06, 2016 10:37 pm

In upcoming offensive, will Mosul civilians stay or flee?

UN relief organizations are expecting a deluge of refugees fleeing Mosul in the wake of an anticipated offensive to liberate the city from the Islamic State (ISIS), but some observers believe that many residents will stay put inside the city during the battle.

Beriwan Khailany, an MP in the Iraqi parliament and member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), believes that most Mosul residents – or Moslawis -- will try their best not to abandon their homes.

“People from Mosul love their city. They think if they leave they mightn’t ever be able to return and resettle,” she told Rudaw English. “They would rather risk death than leave and lose their homes and livelihoods.”

“The concept of ‘home’ in Mosul goes beyond the mere house," Rasha al-Aqeedi, a fellow at the Al Mesbar Studies and Research Center in Dubai, who is a native of Mosul, told Rudaw English.

Al-Aqeedi is also doubtful that the majority of Moslawis will leave the city, reasoning that aside from the attachment they have to their homeland they would likely find it very difficult to cover the distance needed to escape that war zone.

"Most neighborhoods alongside Mosul’s west and east sides are significantly far from the closest KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) checkpoints," she explained. "It would take days to reach them on foot, all while being potential targets for either ISIS or the coalition."

"People in areas closest to Erbil or Duhok might attempt to leave, but those living in central Mosul will find it hard," she added. "If it were possible to leave, the numbers fleeing Mosul would be higher. The farthest I believe families will go is perhaps cross the bridges to whichever side of the city is being attacked less."

"It's frustrating to know the liberating army hasn't yet grasped the entire context after two years," she remarked.

Khailany also pointed out that if the local people do not flee ahead of the upcoming offensive they need to at least coordinate with it against ISIS.

“We need the help of local people to support the army; if they don’t, then it will be very difficult. In Anbar many people left their areas before they were recaptured, and were seen by the Iraqis as supporting their efforts to force out the militants,” she said.

“In Mosul, if they stay they might be seen as supporting Daesh (ISIS), even though they might be forced to stay by Daesh, who shoot people that try to leave. Iraqi aircraft are dropping flyers warning people to leave if possible. If they don’t, there will likely be more civilian casualties and much more damage done in this operation,” she reasoned.

Last month Iraqi aircraft dropped millions of flyers over Mosul, warning its residents of an imminent operation and warning them to avoid areas occupied by the militants and to cooperate with the incoming Iraqi Army.

Dylan O'Driscroll, a senior fellow at the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), believes that neither Iraq nor the coalition have made the sufficient preparations and planning needed to execute a swift and decisive operation.

"You can't have another situation like in Fallujah where people essentially tried to determine who was a member of ISIS with no proper criteria, you can't just ask, 'Whoever is a member of ISIS put up your hand,'" he told Rudaw English.

O'Driscoll explained that it is very hard to determine ahead of time how many people in Mosul will stay, stay and fight for ISIS or leave altogether if they can.

"I think some people will work with them, we've seen this already. It also depends when it happens. We have rough dates, estimated dates and dates that certain leaders tell us about. But we don't have exact dates so what are they going to do until then?" he said.

"It's important that you demonstrate that some structure is in place, I think. Some people will definitely work with the army, whether the people are against and how you differentiate whether they are working against the army or whether they were always part of ISIS," he added.

http://rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/061020163
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:11 pm

Attack on Isis stronghold Mosul may have troubled aftermath

A ground assault on Mosul, the last major Islamic State stronghold in Iraq, is due to be launched by the end of the month, with Iraqi troops moving into their final staging positions to the south of the city.

Officials in Baghdad expect the push to begin around 15 October, although US officials who have trained and advised Iraqi forces for the past two years are understood to be less focused on a fixed date and are making plans for the battle to start up to 10 days later.

But, while victory over the terror group appears very likely, gnawing doubts remain over what comes next.

While military moves are at an advanced stage, the questions of how to provide for up to 1.3 million refugees, or how to re-establish governance in a city brutalised by two years of tyranny is increasingly consuming aid agencies and regional officials, some of whom believe that whatever emerges from Mosul will determine the fate of Iraq.

Sectarian concerns have dominated pre-battle planning, with Shia militias and Kurdish peshmerga forces who have played vital roles in the war against Isis not slated to enter the largely Sunni Muslim city. The Iraqi military, which is largely made up of Shia soldiers and officers, will take the lead in the battle, with up to three divisions – roughly 45,000 men – advancing from positions near the Qaiyara airbase 30 miles south.

Isis is thought to have between 5,000 and 8,000 members prepared to defend their last redoubt in Iraq, where in June 2014 the leader of Isis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, used the city’s Nouri mosque to declare the establishment of a caliphate and himself as leader. Since then, Mosul has been central to the group’s ambitions to spread its ruthless interpretation of Islamic law throughout the Arab world and beyond.

Battle for Mosul, designed to end the Isis caliphate in Iraq, expected to begin as early as middle of this month

An Iraqi security source said: “When you have one million people you have to be precise with each attack; it requires really good intelligence that will slow things down. Anyone who says it is going to take two weeks or two months does not know. We will see early on when the process has started, but we do not want to end up like Ramadi with 80% of the city destroyed, and then mass unemployment, because that is a breeding ground for terrorism. You could just end up with a more brutal version of [Isis].”

Officials in Baghdad, Washington and Erbil expect a long and difficult fight, complicated by the deployment of mines and explosives on a much larger scale than seen in other cities that Isis seized and then lost, such as Tikrit, Ramadi and Falluja.

More pressing, though, is how to cater for what will potentially be the largest single refugee exodus at any point since mid-2014. Up to 500,000 residents are expected to move into Kurdish-controlled areas to the east, while at least 500,000 more could flee to areas controlled by the Iraqi military to the south or west.

Unicef says more than 213,000 people have fled Mosul since May this year, and more than 3.3 million people have been displaced across Iraq since early 2014.

“More than 700,000 people are likely to require shelter and other life-saving assistance,” said Unicef Middle East and North Africa spokesperson, Farah Dakhlallah. “Families are undertaking terrifying journeys through active conflict zones littered with unexploded ordnance and improvised explosive devices, often at night, sometimes walking up to 60km to escape to safety.”

Unicef says its aid efforts are $13m (£10.4m) underfunded. Other agencies report similar shortfalls. Kurdish officials have prepared 20 refugee camps near the town of Makhmour, south-east of Mosul.

Iraq’s counter-terrorism forces, which performed well in the four-week battle to retake Falluja in June, are expected to lead the fight. Peshmerga units are planning to take up blocking positions to the north and east, where they will also receive and screen refugees. The Popular Mobilisation Units, known in Iraq as Hashd al-Shabi, have been confined to a blocking role to the west of Mosul, over concerns their presence could amplify sectarian tensions that had remained high throughout the post-Saddam years.

The stakes are high, but a power struggle between the Iraqi army and the Kurdish Peshmerga is hampering the battle against Islamic State

Those tensions had peaked before Isis swept into the city in June 2014. As the terror group arrived, Iraqi forces who were mostly Shia and had alienated the local population, quickly surrendered the city. Restoring trust with Baghdad and re-establishing basic governance loom as the biggest challenge of the post-Isis period.

Iraq’s central government remains weak and has little influence in Sunni areas of the country. The US, which maintained a presence in Mosul until 2010, no longer has an occupying presence in Iraq. Barack Obama has made clear that the 6,000 troops his administration has re-deployed are there only to fight Isis and not to provide military muscle in support of a diplomatic push to hold the country together.

The Iraqi intelligence official said: “There is an agreement about the structure, and the order in which [forces] come in. This is the last battle in Iraq and everyone wants to be included. It was a wise move to let the Shia militia be involved but in designated areas, and under control. I don’t think after two years fighting Isis you can keep out the Shia in the last battle of Iraq.

“If we cannot reassure Sunnis they will fight to the death. There are small elements trying to assassinate [Isis], and trying to make them feel uncomfortable, but it largely depends on the tribes. We are trying to tell the Sunnis inside this is coming, and people reaching out to them and saying they have a second chance.”

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/ ... hold-mosul
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:15 am

Sectarian Disputes Plague Planning for Long-Awaited Battle of Mosul

With the long-awaited military assault on Mosul possibly just days away, U.S. officials are scrambling to resolve flaring disputes between allies in the coalition to liberate Iraq’s second largest city, the Islamic State’s last major urban stronghold in Iraq.

For weeks, the assault has been expected and had appeared imminent with coalition radio broadcasts and leaflets warning civilians in Mosul and identifying exit routes they can use to flee. But simmering disagreements between coalition allies appear to be worsening, especially over how the greater Mosul region of Nineveh will be governed after liberation and who should be involved in the fight to eject ISIS.

Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani warned Sunday of future problems unless there is an agreement with Baghdad on how to share power in Nineveh. “We should not forget that the case of Mosul is more political than military,” Barzani told at an economic conference in Irbil.

“All the political and religious components should have deserved roles in the political process and determination of the future of the region and how they want to be governed,” he added. Nineveh contains territory that has long been disputed between the Kurds and Arabs.

Barzani acknowledged military preparations are in place for the offensive to begin on Mosul, echoing remarks Friday in Washington by Brett McGurk, the State Department’s envoy to the anti-IS coalition, who said “all the pieces” had been prepared for the assault. McGurk said he expected military operations are “rapidly approaching.”

Arab-Kurdish disputes have flared and then receded for months now. In August, McGurk engaged in shuttle diplomacy between Irbil and Baghdad to defuse tensions and mediate an oil revenue-sharing deal between the Kurds and Arabs, who had been quarreling for months over Kurdistan’s export revenues.

That deal advanced negotiations between the Kurds and Baghdad on the composition of forces for the offensive on Mosul. U.S. officials say the Kurds agreed not to enter the Sunni-Arab city during the assault and to allow the Iraqi Security Forces to use territory now controlled by the peshmerga to the east and north of the city.

But since that deal was struck, sectarian disputes have continued to plague pre-battle planning, concede U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

They say they have been frustrated by a series of public comments in the past week by Kurdish leaders that appeared designed to offend the Shi’ite-dominated government in Baghdad. Thursday, Iraqis were infuriated when the Kurdistan Regional Government’s top security official told Britain’s Sky News the peshmerga will keep any land they seize from the terror group and will consider captured territory part of Kurdistan.

And the KRG has been lobbying Sunni tribal chiefs in Nineveh to express their support for an independent Kurdish state and to say they want their towns included in the Kurdistan region.

Sheikh Ali Rekan, a leader of an al-Shammar tribal clan in the town of Rabia, west of Mosul, told Kurdish television Friday, “We have decided to be part of the Kurdistan Region, and we support Kurdish independence. We will never compromise on our decision.” He added, “Thousands of peshmerga soldiers have sacrificed their lives in freeing our areas. Therefore, we must be sincere to them.”

KRG officials say they will go ahead with a planned referendum on independence by the end of the year :ymparty:

None of the maneuvering is helping U.S. officials to keep the political parts in place for the assault on Mosul. McGurk remarked Friday that “if we try to resolve everything before Mosul, Daesh (ISIS) will never get out of Mosul.” Other U.S. officials, though, argue more work needs to be done to resolve disputes between allies.

There also are questions how local Sunni Arabs will react to the Iraqi Security Forces, which are dominated by Shi’ites. Iraqi officials have agreed that irregular Shi’ite militias known as the Popular Mobilization will not enter the city or if they do, they won’t stay long. Turkey sees any involvement by the Iran-influenced militias as boosting Tehran’s clout in northern Iraq, a red line as far as Ankara and Saudi Arabia are concerned.

Ankara has repeatedly rejected Baghdad's demands it withdraw its forces from the Bashiqa military camp in northern Iraq and has warned against the irregular Shi’ite militias playing any role. It insists that nearly 3,000 Sunni fighters it has trained at the camp 25 kilometers northeast of Mosul must play a major part in the coming campaign.

Abdelaziz Hasan, a prominent Iraqi lawmaker and member of the parliament defense committee, said Saturday the offensive to retake Mosul won’t begin while Turkish troops remain on Iraqi soil.

“I think that as long as these Turkish troops remain around Mosul, the operation to control the city will not start, or there must be a new agreement for the Turkish force not to take part in the offensive,” he said.

He warned a sectarian war between Shi’ite and Sunni militias in Nineveh was in the offing if Turkey involved itself in the Mosul offensive. Turkey has waxed and waned about whether it will participate. Turkey has deployed about 2,000 “military advisers” at the camp to help train local Sunni fighters in a militia called Hashd al-Watani.

An Ankara official told Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper Sunday talks about Turkey’s role in the Mosul campaign are ongoing. In an interview earlier this month with Rotana TV, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said, “I want to make it clear that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Western coalition will not allow sectarian domination (of Mosul). But there is a major question, who will then control the city? Of course, Sunni Arabs, Sunni Turkmen and Sunni Kurds.”

http://www.voanews.com/a/sectarian-disp ... 43140.html
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:20 am

Ankara... insists that nearly 3,000 Sunni fighters it has trained at the camp 25 kilometers northeast of Mosul must play a major part in the coming campaign.


Ankara trained Sunnis :shock:

Which side will they be fighting against :-?
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 11, 2016 11:20 am

Syrian tribal force switching to politics wants role in Mosul offensive

Bandar Al-Himedi Daham is a member of al-Shammar, one of the biggest Arab tribes in Syria and he is now the commander of Al-Sanadid Force, an unofficial army of 4,500 fighters, combating the Islamic State (ISIS). In this interview with Rudaw, Al-Himedi says the goal of his force was initially to defend their territory against ISIS without any political agenda. But now the situation has changed and their leaders pursue political goals.

Al-Himedi’s force has partnered with the Kurdish YPG on several occasions to fight ISIS militants, including in the Hasakah province. Despite his good ties with the Kurds, Al-Himedi rejects federalism for Syria if it leads to the country’s partition. Al-Himedi reveals that he has asked the international coalition and Iraqi government to allow his force to join the Mosul offensive in order to help defeat ISIS and protect members of the Shmmar tribe who live on the other side of the border.

Rudaw: What is the political agenda of Sanadid, and your objectives?

Bandar Al-Himedi: Sanadid is a force that was created out of the need for self-defense. Our tribe members resorted to arms in order to protect this region from the danger of ISIS. That is why we did not have any political objectives or any political agenda initially. But in light of the recent events, the success this force has achieved, and the changing dynamics in the situations on the ground, the political leadership is going to determine what our objectives are. I am a military person. What I know is that we have taken up arms for self-defense purposes.

Did the Kurds support you in forming the Sanadid Force?

The history of our relationship with the Kurds will further strengthen mutual trust. This even reflects on the war fronts. Our faith in Kurds is rooted in our historic relations and our past alliance. We have had an alliance with the Kurds in every crisis. ISIS attacked our region where Kurds, Arabs and Assyrians live. It is because of this and the danger of terrorism that we had to form an alliance with all the parties of the region. But our alliance with the Kurds is a different thing. We formed an alliance with the Kurds right at the beginning of the formation of the Sanadid Force, and this alliance was directly against ISIS. Before the advent of ISIS, there were small terrorist groups in the region, and we were able to repel their danger in light combat. Hence, we did not have an official alliance. But our alliance with the Kurds became official, only with the advent of ISIS.

Will political disagreements affect your alliance with the Kurds?

We are a defensive force. We are not doing politics, which is why political disagreements will have no effect on our alliance, which is an alliance on the war fronts, not a political alliance. Political events will not be influencing us in a way to change or withdraw from our alliance with the Kurds or other parties.

ISIS has been weakened and on the defensive. How do you see the post-ISIS phase?

I am sure that the destruction of ISIS is approaching. I think the end of 2016 will be the end of ISIS. I believe the film is nearing its end. Regarding the post-ISIS phase and the changes that will ensue, this is a political subject. I only talk about military matters.

Will the Sanadid Force remain or join another force after ISIS?

I do not think we will join another force. We were initially a defensive force, but the situations have now changed. We have become more influential on the ground, have our own experience, and are protecting a large area. We have had a role in weakening ISIS, and thank God, we have been successful. If we compare our operations with those in the rest of Syria, we have been most successful, and the areas where we have been operating have seen the least damage. In other words, we have asserted our presence, and will be waiting for political changes so that our politicians can make the necessary decisions.

Observers think that there will be new problems and old issues will resurface after the demise of ISIS. How would you confront these issues?

I think there will be problems after the demise of ISIS, and these problems will become bigger in Iraq and Syria. I hope these problems will not cause any change in our alliances, as we have been partners in the war against ISIS so far.

There is news of some kind of negotiation with the Kurds in Syria, claiming that the Autonomous Administration and the government of Damascus will be negotiating under Russia’s supervision. What information do you have about this?

I do not have much information about this. But Sheikh Al-Himedi Daham has tried internal and external reconciliations. He asked the opposition groups to rely on him so he can reconcile them with the Syrian government, for Syria cannot endure further destruction. Sheikh supports negotiations in every way. This is our biggest hope. We are tired of the internal struggles that we have in Syria.

Do you have relations with the Americans?

We did not have relations in the beginning, but when I became a member of the administration for the Democratic Syrian Forces, I met with the international coalition about three or four times. I asked them for some special support to the Sanadid Force. I told them about the military experience of the force. We as the Shammar Force were on the front lines of the war at the time. But the Americans distanced themselves from here after the conditions of the war changed.

What were those changes? Can you discuss them?

I do not wish to talk about those reasons [changes]. But we initially met with the forces from the international coalition. They are now away from our region. Once I met with them, I told them that if they wished to besiege ISIS, they had to support the Sanadid Forces. The Americans are closely aware of our military capacity, our experience, and our foreign relations. They know what we are capable of. “We are soldiers. We cannot make decisions,” said the Americans when we asked them for support. But they promised us that they would let Washington know about our demands. After this, the events changed. The Americans were engaged with Turkey, and the Minbaj war. I felt that they were busy doing other things.

Have you received any parts of the support which the US gave to the Democratic Syrian Forces?

We have not received support from the US in any way, shape or form. The US has only provided ammunition to the Democratic Syrian Forces, and the ammunition was only being provided at the start of the war, which was insufficient. And we received only a small part of this military support.

Do you have relations with the Russian force that is in Syria?

We do not have any such relations.

A war broke out in Hasaka between the Kurdish forces and the Syrian Regime’s forces a while ago. What was your position on this?

We neither directly nor indirectly interfered in this matter. We tried to deescalate the situation, as our region is more stable than anywhere else in Syria, especially as Qamishlo and Hasaka have not seen devastation. That is why we are determined to keep wars away from these cities, so that their stability is not shaken.

There is the question of declaring a federal system for the north of Syria. How do you look at this issue? Do you support it?

Even if we directly support a federal system, the support would be to the real meaning of federalism, and as far as we understand the concept of federalism, it is not about dividing Syria. But if federalism were to take other directions or forms, we would be against it.

We understand that federalism is an extension of an autonomous system, which has been successful in our region, solving some problems and protecting the region from devastation. We saw that it was a successful project, and what we know is that federalism is a development of an autonomous system.

The Shammaris have had relations with Saudi Arabia throughout history. How is your relationship with Saudi Arabia?

We have not had any relations with Saudi Arabia ever since ISIS emerged.

Your forces are tribal and you have a tribal system, but the Autonomous Administration, in which the PYD is the main force, is a secular organization. You have two different world views, how can you fit in together?

As I said before, what initially brought us together was confronting terrorism and warding off the danger on our region. We did not think of our different philosophies. The idea of an alliance came up when we realized that the Shammari youth were fighting ISIS with PYD guns. We saw that our brothers from PYD were armed and had the idea of protecting the region; the situations imposed this alliance without us thinking of our different political philosophies. The situations have now changed. Now we have political authorities led by Sheikh Al-Himedi Daham.

Do you have any plans to take part in Mosul offensive?

We have officially asked that we take part in Mosul offensive, as you all know that our tribe members live in Mosul. We have asked the international coalition, and have also sent a letter to the Iraqi government, asking them that we be allowed to participate in Mosul offensive with 1,500 fighters. We have stressed our participation in the offensive. After all, Mosul is relevant to us, as the bulk of ISIS is there. In other words, the end of Mosul war is the end of ISIS. We think that the liberation of Mosul will mark the demise of ISIS. That is why Mosul is important to us in all aspects, and we should take part in its offensive, but they have not replied to us yet.

http://rudaw.net/english/interview/11102016
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Re: Updates on Pending Mosul Massacre

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Oct 12, 2016 8:53 pm

Peshmerga oversee building of new camps for Mosul refugees

Two camps for Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are nearly completed in Khazir, northeast of Mosul, in preparation for an estimated 300,000 people expected to flee Mosul during the long anticipated offensive against the Islamic State (ISIS).

In these camps, resources are limited. Each family receives one tent no bigger than a couple square meters. Outside each group of tents, there is a row of showers and toilet stalls, all limited in protection from the elements, such as dust storms and rain.

These camps are built by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

The UN is building similar camps along the Kurdistan Region borders to house 1 million people expected to be displaced by the Mosul battle.

http://rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/12102016
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