Al Raqqa in Syria is not exactly Berlin circa 1945. That was when the Soviet (Russian) armies were about to enter Berlin, while Dwight Eisenhower’s forces were speeding to join them. It was almost like a race, which the Russians won.
Al Raqqa is the chosen temporary capital of ISIS (DAESH), pending the capture of Damascus or Baghdad. But Al Raqqa faces a similar situation that Berlin faced in early 1945. At least two armies are racing towards it. The most substantial one is the alliance that supports the Syrian regime (Syrian Army, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, etc). Then there is an alliance that is armed and supported by the United States, dominated by Syrian Kurds in the north.
Then there are the Iraqi military and their Iranian and local militia allies moving steadily if slowly towards Mosul. If Mosul falls, the Iraqis could find themselves tempted to join the race towards Al Raqqa as well.
The Saudis and their putative Turkish allies have been reduced to repeated futile threats by Adel al Jubeir, the Saudi Foreign Minister, that Al Assad must go. Al Jubeir adds: by peaceful or by military means. He must be waiting for Hillary Clinton to save his bosses nuts from the Syria fire.
This is how it stands now. Mosul and Al Raqqa might well fall this year. At the latest they will fall no later than 2017.
My Fatwa (humble but almost certainly accurate) on the violent gruesome brief reign of the Wahhabis of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ( or the Levant).
M Haider Ghuloum
“And hostilities with Shia Arabs are growing increasingly dangerous. Even though ISIS, the so-called Islamic State, is practically on the city’s doorstep, Masoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan, has opposed arming the city’s Arab and Turkmen population since Kurdish forces took control of the region from the Iraqi government last summer. The Kurdish advance came after ISIS took the city of Tikrit, which lies to the south between Kirkuk and Baghdad. In a recent interview with the London-based Arabic daily newspaper Al Hayat, Barzani said that “We will not allow any forces to enter Kirkuk,” in a message clearly directed at Iranian-backed Shia militias…………..”
The media makes it sound like a choice between Iranian-backed Shi’a militias and Wahhabi-backed Jihadists.
They always ignore the opportunistic former Baathists who have gone religious and are now part of this silly murderous Caliphate. The Baathist officers who would not defend Baghdad in 2003, changed into civilian attire and vanished as American forces closed in on Baghdad, long before Paul Bremer arrived in the city. Not a single shot fired to defend their capital. But they have Mosul, historically their most favorable city in Iraq, for now. That is where Uday and Qusay Saddam Hussein made their last stand in 2003. That is where the last of the Iraqi Baathists will probably make their stand.
American media are also reporting now that “certain Arab allies” have raised objections to possible details of the expected counter-attack to free Mosul from the ISIS Wahhabis now controlling it. These “certain Arab allies“, no doubt Saudi Arabia or its other sidekick on the Persian Gulf, have expressed concern that most the forces on the good side in the expected battle will be Shi’as (either Iraqi soldiers or militias). Odd, given that there is no practical way around Iraqi participation. Maybe the Saudis are willing to lend some of their own valiant forces for the battle? Or they could hire the usual Asian mercenaries.
Other ‘allies’ are also apparently doing their best to hamper any campaign to roll back the Jihadists, be that in Iraq or Syria. The Turks, whose government has an open door policy that allows Jihadists, their female groupies, and weapons to flow freely across the border into the war zone. The Turks are worried that not only the Kurds in Syria are being empowered but that the Assad regime is already gaining back territory as ISIS focuses on consolidating and holding its gains in the northern and border regions.
Such is the backdrop to the haggling going on before the expected battle for Mosul. As for Kirkuk, it is the one issue all other Iraqis (Shi’a, Sunni, Wahhabi, etc) and other Arabs agree on. But the Kurds have it now and I doubt they will give it up again. So, the battle for Kirkuk is over before it ever started……
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Jihadists targeting minorities are “worse than Saddam”, a Kurdish commander says, standing near a sand barrier at a front line in north Iraq, the militants’ black flag fluttering in the distance…………..”
This is true: of course these Wahhabi cutthroats are worse than Saddam. Saddam was methodical: he targeted anyone who opposed his rule, but he did not care about their religion. He did not seek to convert anyone to whatever faith he believed in (if any). His beef with his opponents was political, not religious.
Ironically, many current officers of ISIS (ISIL? WTF?) reportedly served under Saddam in the military and security services. Outgoing prime minister Al Maliki even hinted that some of his own officers who had been formerly with the Baathist army has helped the fall of Mosul by abandoning their units. But then Al Maliki may have been trying to exonerate his government from the mess.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
Wikileaks 2008: “AQI/ISI insurgents will probably continue to target convoys and patrols in Mosul on the basis of their ability to effectively carry out these attacks. Insurgents may also be selectively targeting high-profile MRAP vehicles with SVBIEDs both for propaganda purposes and for their ability to defeat these heavily armored Coalition vehicles.AQI/ISI is the predominant insurgent group operating in Mosul and is affiliated with a majority of SVBIED attacks in the city. There were multiple Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces offensive operations in Mosul during 2008 that have degraded AQI/ISI’s ability to carry out attacks. However, the latest series of SVBIED attacks show that AQI/ISI still has a residual capacity to conduct high-profile attacks in Mosul…………….”
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Christians were fleeing Iraq’s jihadist-held city of Mosul en masse Friday after mosques relayed an ultimatum giving them a few hours to leave, the country’s Chaldean patriarch and witnesses said. “Christian families are on their way to Dohuk and Arbil,” in the neighbouring autonomous region of Kurdistan, Patriarch Louis Sako told AFP. “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.” Witnesses said messages telling Christians to leave the city by Saturday were blared through loudspeakers from the city’s mosques Friday……….The patriarch, who is one of the most senior Christian clerics in Iraq, and residents contacted by AFP said Islamic State militants had in recent days been tagging Christian houses with the letter N for “Nassarah”, the term by which the Koran refers to Christians………”
Arab supporters of the terrorist marauders in Iraq, including Salafis and Wahhabi liberals are claiming that Mosul and other towns were liberated by ‘revolutionary’ Iraqis seeking justice. Yet the same ‘liberators’ of Mosul and other Al-Anbar towns have issued Nazi-like warnings for ‘others’, especially Christians, to convert or leave town, forfeiting their property, or die. The Shi’as who did not leave were massacred and ended up in mass graves, as we saw in photos and films distributed by the Terrorists.
In recent week some Arab media had been minimizing the role of ISIS a (ISIL) in the war in Iraq and stressing the role of ‘angry’ Sunni tribes. Part of the regional strategy of the petroleum princes. Some went so far as to suggest that the ISIS Wahhabis are leaving Mosul to be run by the Iraqi Sunnis. I was skeptic of that claim, nay I was sure it was not true. It was not true.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum
“Militants stormed the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on Wednesday and kidnapped 48 people including the head of the diplomatic mission, a Turkish government official said. “48 Turks including the consul, staff members, guards and three children were abducted,” the official told Agence France Presse, speaking on condition of anonymity. “All are doing well,” the official said. The kidnappings came a day after the Mosul consulate said fighters from the powerful jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized 28 Turkish truck drivers. In a spectacular blow to the Shiite-led government in Iraq, jihadists spearheaded by ISIL on Tuesday seized Mosul, its surrounding region of Nineveh and areas of Kirkuk and Salaheddin province…………Militants also took control of the Iraqi city of Tikrit and freed hundreds of prisoners, police said, the second provincial capital to fall in two days………”
The Jihadists have got some more oil fields under their control now. Let’s us see if the Turks will buy their oil. They have also apparently taken Tikrit, hometown and graveyard of the late non-lamented president Saddam Hussein. He has been freed, for the time being. Now if Iraqis settle back on reelecting the incompetent Al Maliki again as prime minister, they are in for a miserable year or two, and they would probably mostly deserve it.
Even if, as I know, this Jihadist blitzkrieg and its gains are not sustainable. Eventually they will be rolled back, but eventually also sounds ominous.
Come to think of it, Blitzkrieg is supposed to be un-Islamic, a heathen style of war only reserved for non-Muslims. Only Germans and Israelis are supposed to wage such heathen war: they have proven that they know how to use the panzers and tanks, we only know how to use microphones and television studios (and Twitter). Blitzkrieg is supposed to be kosher for them but definitely not halal for us. After all it sounds both German and Yiddish, hence it is haram.
Multidisciplinary: Middle East, North Africa, Gulf, GCC, World, Cosmos…..