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Tag Archives: Iraq

After the liberation of Mosul, an orgy of killing

One hot and sticky evening in July, in the dying days of the battle for Mosul, a group of Iraqi army officers sat for dinner in a requisitioned civilian house not far from the ruins of the mosque where, three years earlier, the leader of Islamic State had announced the creation of a new caliphate.

At the head of the table sat the commander, large and burly, flanked by his two majors. The rest of the officers were seated according to rank, with the youngest officers placed at the far end. The commander, who was trying to lose weight, had banned his cook from serving meat at mealtimes, but tonight was a special occasion. The day before, his unit had liberated another block of streets in the Old City without suffering any casualties. In celebration, a feast of bread soaked in okra stew, and roasted meat shredded over heaps of rice flavoured with nuts and raisins, was laid out on a white plastic table.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/21/after-the-liberation-of-mosul-an-orgy-of-killing

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Posted by on December 15, 2017 in Middle East

 

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There’s no such thing as precise air strikes in modern warfare – just look at the civilian casualties in Iraq and Syria

The final elimination of Isis in Iraq and Syria is close, but welcome though the defeat of these monstrous movements may be, it has only been achieved at the cost of great destruction and loss of life. This is the new face of war which governments try to conceal: a limited number of combat troops on the ground call in devastating air strikes from planes, missiles and drones, be they American or Russian, to clear the way for their advance.

Governments pretend that air wars today are very different from Vietnam half a century ago when towns were notoriously “destroyed in order to save them”. These days air forces – be it the Americans in Iraq, the Russians in Syria or the Saudis in Yemen – say that this mass destruction no longer happens thanks to the greater accuracy of their weapons: using a single sniper, a room in a house can supposedly be hit without harming a family crouching in terror in the room next door.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iraq-syria-theres-no-such-thing-as-precise-air-strikes-in-modern-warfare-a8087286.html?amp

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2017 in Middle East

 

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The greatest dangers in the Middle East today are Jared Kushner and Mohamed bin Salman

I was in my room in the Baghdad Hotel on al-Sadoun street last Sunday evening, writing about the chances for stability in Iraq taking hold, when the walls and floor began to shake. They jerked sideways and up and down several times as if my room was the cabin of boat in a rough sea.

My first confused thought was – this being Baghdad – that there must have been some huge bomb explosion, which would explain the rocking motion of everything around me. But almost simultaneously, I realised that I had not heard the sound of an explosion, so a better explanation was that there was an earthquake, though I had never thought of Baghdad as being in an earthquake zone.

The jerking movements of the walls and floor of my room were so spectacular that I wondered if the building was going to collapse. I looked under the desk where I was sitting, but the space was too small for me to crouch in. I got down on my hands and knees and started to crawl towards the bathroom which is meant to be the safest place in the event of a bomb explosion, and I supposed the same must be true of earthquakes.

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/middle-east-saudi-arabia-us-iraq-israel-iran-jared-kushner-bin-salman-greatest-dangers-a8060886.html?amp

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Live from Baghdad: the Secret of Iraq’s Renaissance

Baghdad

On a sandstorm-swept morning in Baghdad earlier last week, Abu Mahdi al-Mohandes, the legendary deputy leader of Hashd al-Shaabi, a.k.a. People Mobilization Units (PMUs) and the actual mastermind of numerous ground battles against ISIS/Daesh, met a small number of independent foreign journalists and analysts.

This was a game-changing moment in more ways than one. It was the first detailed interview granted by Mohandes since the fatwa issued by Grand Ayatollah Sistani – the immensely respected marja (source of emulation) and top clerical authority in Iraq – in June 2014, when Daesh stormed across the border from Syria. The fatwa, loosely translated, reads, “It is upon every Iraqi capable of carrying guns to volunteer with the Iraqi Armed Forces to defend the sanctities of the nation.”

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/16/live-from-baghdad-the-secret-of-iraqs-renaissance/

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Iraqi spies have infiltrated Isis ‘sleeper cells’ to prevent future terror attacks, says minister

Violence in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003, as Isis loses its base areas and its bombing attacks are thwarted by informers and double agents. A senior Iraqi security official says that intelligence about potential Isis attacks has improved to the point that government forces can monitor a bomb from construction to detonation, allowing it to explode after evacuating civilians so Isis does not know that its bomb-making networks have been penetrated.

“We have people who work with Isis who agree to work with us,” said Interior Minister Qasim al-Araji in an interview with The Independent in Baghdad. “Isis does not know this and we make sure our informant is not exposed.” Sometimes security forces even pay for the car that transports a bomb to Baghdad and allow it blow up in a place which Isis has targeted. “We ask people to move and make an official statement with a false number of casualties,” he says.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-isis-terrorism-sleeper-cells-baghdad-bombing-arbaeen-interior-minister-araji-a8058926.html

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Tikrit and Najaf: Agony and Ecstasy in Iraq

Nothing, absolutely nothing prepares you to revive, on the spot, the memory of what will go down in history as ISIS/Daesh’s most horrid killing field in Iraq or Syria since the death cult stormed across the border in the summer of 2014; the Speicher massacre of June 12, 2014 – when almost 2,000 Iraqi army recruits were assassinated in and nearby a former Saddam Hussein palace on the banks of the Tigris near Tikrit.

As Dylan would sing it, “ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re trying to be so quiet”. In 2003, a few days after Shock and Awe and the fall of Baghdad, I took the road to Tikrit for Asia Times to survey Uday Hussein’s bombed palace as well as his father’s birthplace, only to return 14 years later to one of those palaces turned into a house of horror.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/13/tikrit-and-najaf-agony-and-ecstasy-in-iraq/

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Arbaeen: Millions of Shia Muslims take part in world’s greatest pilgrimage as Isis is finally defeated

Millions of black-clad Shia pilgrims are converging on the holy city of Kerbala for the Arbaeen religious commemoration, the largest annual gathering of people anywhere on earth. Walking in long columns stretching back unbroken for as much as 50 miles, sleeping and eating in tents erected by supporters beside the road, the event has become an overwhelmingly powerful display of Shia belief and solidarity.

The Arbaeen coincides this year with the final defeat of Isis, the movement that slaughtered Shia in their tens of thousands and aimed to overthrow the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad. The Syrian army announced today that it has captured the last Isis-held town in Syria, Albu Kamal, its victory coming a few days after Isis was driven from western Iraq.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/arbaeen-pilgrimage-kerbala-shia-isis-defeat-muslims-thousands-killed-middle-east-iraq-najaf-a8046621.html

 
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Posted by on November 10, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Watch “VICE on HBO Season 5 Finale | After ISIS & Cubs of The Caliphate (Trailer)” su YouTube

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Camp Speicher massacre: Retracing the steps of Isis’s worst-ever atrocity

It is one of the most shocking of many sadistic videos shot and publicised by Isis in which its gunmen are seen executing their victims. It shows scenes from the Camp Speicher massacre on 12 June 2014 when Isis murdered 1,700 army recruits in a former palace compound of Saddam Hussein on the banks of the Tigris river near Tikrit.

Columns of terrified young men are filmed being driven at gunpoint by masked Isis gunmen dressed in black towards mass graves which the victims can see are already filled with bodies. Others are beaten as they stumble down stone steps onto a small dock under a bridge on the Tigris. As each one is dragged forward by a guard, he is shot in the head by a man with a pistol so he falls into the water. The ground where the killings are taking place is covered in blood.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/camp-speicher-massacre-isis-islamic-state-tikrit-air-academy-iraq-a8040576.html

 

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2017 in Middle East

 

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Scorned and stateless: children of Isis fighters face an uncertain future

In a corner of a teeming refugee camp, 40 miles north of Raqqa, a small group of women and children are kept alone. They mill together at the back of a blue building; blond and brown haired children darting in between blankets that their mothers have hung as doors across small, dank rooms. Others in the Ain Issa camp call them “the Daeshis”, meaning Islamic State families. No one wants to know them.

The women are widows of dead Isis fighters. All are foreigners, with futures more bleak than the 12,000 or so newly displaced of Syria and Iraq in the camp, or the many millions more victims of war and insurgency now living in tents across the Middle East.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/07/children-isis-fighters-syria-raqqa-orphans-uncertain-future

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in Middle East

 

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