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Mosul Liberated, ISIS Continues to Fight

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in Mosul today to declare liberation of the city.

But the end of the Islamic State’s hold on Mosul does not mean peace is at hand. Other cities and towns in Iraq remain under the militants’ control, and Iraqis expect an increase in terrorist attacks in urban centers, especially in the capital, Baghdad, as the group reverts to its insurgent roots.

There are still ISIS pockets fighting. That didn't stop the Prime Minister who tweeted out victory this morning. [More...]

The same NY Times article reports:

Even as Mr. Abadi arrived here outfitted in the black uniform of Iraq’s elite Counterterrorism Service, Iraqi forces were pressing to erase a pocket of Islamic State resistance by the Tigris River. Speaking from his base in the old city, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, a senior commander in that service, said that the militants’ enclave was about 200 yards long and 50 yards wide and that he expected it to be taken later in the day or on Monday.

ISIS's news channel posted this today [English translation]:

"With success from Allah, several Khilafah soldiers assaulted positions where Rafidi Army personnel are entrenched on the surroundings of Maydan area in Mosul. Clashes took place with automatic weapons that led to many murtaddin being killed and wounded in addition to variety of weapons and ammunition being taken as ghanimah. The soldiers of the Khilafah are still writing down their epic battles with their own blood until seizing one of the two best honors, victory
or shahadah, and all praise is due to Allah."

The cost of re-taking Mosul is enormous. So many deaths. According to the Times article linked above:

Deaths among Iraqi security forces in the Mosul battle had reached 774 by the end of March, according to American officers, which suggests the toll is more than a thousand now.

Even more civilians are estimated to have been killed, many at the hands of the Islamic State and some inadvertently by American airstrikes.

What happens to the ISIS fighters who weren't killed?

And there is the fear that many Islamic State fighters who were not captured or killed had simply put down their guns and blended in with the civilian population, to live to fight another day.

The wives of Islamic State fighters also pose a risk. In the last week, a woman holding a baby and wearing a long-sleeved robe that disguised a hand-held detonator tried to blow herself up as she approached an Iraqi soldier, said Second Lt. Muntather Laft, a media officer with the Counterterrorism Service.

“Do you know that most of the ISIS fighters have shaved their beards and took off their clothes, and now they are free?” said Zuhair Hazim al-Jibouri, a member of Mosul’s local council. [My emphasis.)

There has been no agreement between the Shi'as and Sunnis in Iraq. That's a problem.

Of course, ISIS will regroup. It will never be gone. Especially while the U.S. continues to impose its presence in the Middle East. According to a member of the Mosul city council:

There is no such thing as the phase ‘after ISIS.ISIS is a mentality, and this mentality will not end with guns alone.”

Even the Pentagon agrees:

“Mosul and Raqqa is not the end of it by any stretch of the imagination,” said Brig. Gen. Andrew A. Croft, a senior Air Force officer with the American-led task force that is fighting the Islamic State.

What's next for ISIS? According to the Washington Post:

After Mosul, the focus is expected to shift to Tal Afar to the west, which has been encircled by state-sanctioned and mainly Shiite militias that control its airport.

IS still holds the town of Hawija, just 150 miles (240 kilometers) north of Baghdad, which is also encircled, as well as a string of towns and villages along the Euphrates River Valley leading to the Syrian border. On the Syrian side, they hold most of Deir el-Zour, a provincial capital, as well as al-Mayadeen and Boukamal, and much of the vast and arid region along the border.

This war will last for decades. There's another generation of child fighters trained and ready to act.

My view: We never should have started the airstrikes or trained the so-called rebels. From a post I wrote two years ago:

ISIS is not our responsibility. ISIS didn't urge attacks on the U.S. until we began our airstrikes. Instead of sending trainers and equipment, we should just get out. We are spending billions of dollars that could be better spent at home. Unfortunately, it's unlikely to happen with a presidential election on the horizon and Republicans so eager to blame Obama they claim war is the answer.

There are few tangible results of U.S.-led coalition in Iraq or Syria, other than killing thousands of militants and leaders who promptly get replaced. There are no "moderate Syrian rebels." The borders to Syria have not been closed to foreign fighters.

...The net effect of war is loss of life --from the civilians who get bombed to the military personnel who get killed. Why is the U.S. so threatened by the prospect of this bizarre Caliphate state? And why does it let the Iranian-backed Shi'a militias and Al Qaida-backed al Nusra get a free pass? Both groups are just as brutal as ISIS. Al Nusra today summarily executed 30 people. Al Nusra wants sharia law and a Caliph -- they just don't want it to be Baghdadi.

ISIS is still fighting in Yemen, Indonesia, and Afghanistan, to name a few. It is still inspiring attacks in Europe. The Caliphate with al-Baghdadi may have failed, along with his plans for ISIS to be a governing force and a state, but the ideology continues. As do all the other jihadist groups that hate the West like al Qaida. Until the West gets out of the Middle East, there will never be peace.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Excellent information... (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by fishcamp on Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 03:10:41 PM EST
    You seem to be able to gather information from everywhere and put it together for us.  Thanks.  

    Jeralyn, are you convinced (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by oculus on Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 04:45:29 PM EST
    ISIS-inspired terrorism will cease if the U.S. and its allies cease all military action, including suppoting local troops and using airstrikes?  

    I Hate to Say This (none / 0) (#1)
    by RickyJim on Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 02:00:59 PM EST
    But only Donald Trump, among recent presidents, or even presidential candidates, would dare throw in the towel and get out.

    Pffffft! (none / 0) (#4)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 05:14:47 PM EST
    He loves Generals. Surrounds himself with them. Obviously you didn't watch war machine :) Once a General decides a certain strategy is the winning strategy, he must then prove that :)

    Neither Mattis or McMaster has a plan that involves leaving ISIS or the Middle East alone.

    Parent

    Are you kidding? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jul 10, 2017 at 06:03:04 PM EST
    That wouldn't be winning and I don't think he's ever advocated pulling out. Of course, you can't rely on what he says.

    Parent