Iraq. Militants take back Mosul, Tikrit and march on Baghdad

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by 2/51, Jun 12, 2014.

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  1. Islamic State militants capture Iraqi police colonel, 8 officers in west Mosul - official
    Ooops! Iraqi Police Colonel and 8 other officers captured by IS:
  2. An air strike in Mosul appears to have resulted in large numbers of civilian casualties. U.S. coalition investigating reports of deadly Mosul airstrike
    The air strike took place in the Mosul Jidideh neighbourhood where large numbers of civilians had taken refuge from previous attacks. These previous attacks were described as "missiles" so it's not entirely clear what their nature was.
    AP reporters saw at least 50 bodies being recovered.
    The western coalition has opened what they call a "credibility assessment" on what they are currently referring to as an "allegation".
    Civilian casualties are expected to sharply increase as government forces and western allies push deeper into the city.
    The US has acknowledged 220 civilian deaths from western air strikes in Iraq and Syria since 2014. Various independent "monitor groups" put the number as being more than an order of magnitude higher.
    I believe I have pointed out in the Syria thread, with respect to numbers of civilian casualties, official western sources tend to underestimate civilian casualties by demanding very high standards of proof while the various activist groups tend to overestimate them by accepting vague reports and so possibly counting either rumours or the same actual death multiple times.

    In this case however, AP reporters claim have seen at least 50 bodies so far. The question will be what exactly took place and whether the party responsible will be publicly identified. Several possibilities are potentially open aside from a western air strike, although the latter seems to be the working assumption in the press at the moment.
  3. The following story has more information on what has been reported as large numbers of civilian casualties in Mosul caused by an air strike. U.S. military confirms airstrike on Mosul area 'corresponding' to reports of civilian casualties

    Current estimates of civilian casualties in this one specific incident have risen into the 100 to 200 range.
    This apparently hasn't been the only such air strike causing civilian casualties.
    Large numbers of people - roughly 600 thousand - are packed into a very dense urban area. There is no running water, food aid, or electricity.

    The UN has stated that civilians in Mosul were at extreme risk, and that all sides were obligated to do their utmost avoid such casualties.
    An Iraqi army statement in a newspaper said that troops trained in urban combat will be carrying out future operations there. Presumably we may therefore be seeing the sort of armour and infantry operations that have been used in the Damascus area in a similar environment.
  4. Some more on the investigation and tactical pause. Initial reports talked about Iraqi forces coming under sniper fire, called for air support and whilst this dealt with the snipers it may have contributed to the collapse of the building in which civilians were located. Standard IS and other MENA groups and regimes tactics such as Saddam of using human shields.

    Reports are that the building collapsed but not by the air strike. VBIEDs found in the area. One of the bigger takeaways is that the coalition unlike Russia and the Syrian govt actually investigate and theirs a pause in this case.

    Trying to not alienate the population whilst freeing them from IS is not easy. Damned if you do, damned if you don't:
    Iraqi military says 61 bodies found in collapsed Mosul building
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2017
  5. I saw an early report that said it was a secondary from a strike on a lorry VBIED which then detonated.
    That may have been superseded,but it is still likely that many buildings are holding significant amounts of ordnance that may be vulnerable to deliberate or accidental demolition whether they have civilians inside or not.
  6. There's a lot of theories on what happened in this particular instance, but according to press reports this isn't the first air strike in the city to cause civilian casualties. This one is notable in that the independent press has been able to report on it directly.

    The Iraqi army has been advancing through the periphery of Mosul up until now. They have now apparently reached the older, more densely populated part of the city. Conducting any air strikes there has a very high likelihood of causing civilian casualties.

    There are reportedly 600,000 people in the besieged zone, living without water, food, electricity, food, or humanitarian aid in general getting to them. If the advance bogs down, as often happens in this environment, that humanitarian crisis grows by the day.

    On the other hand, if IS has the manpower and they have the determination to fight, it could turn into a real meat grinder for the Iraqi government forces. They will have the incentive to use whatever fire power they have at their disposal to deal with it, and according to previous press reports their past record on avoiding civilian casualties has not been good.

    Unless something truly unforeseen happens, Mosul will fall to government forces. When that happens, we should expect to see mass arrests of the innocent along with the guilty, reprisals by anyone with a grudge, and a general settling of scores. Loads of civilians will die after the fighting is over, and that doesn't even get into the long running terrorism and insurgency which are expected to follow the open fighting.

    Given the above, the civilian casualties reported recently are far from the first and are very unlikely to be the last. Civil war is rarely pretty and there's no reason for this one to be an exception.
  7. Sounds par for the course in war.

    And if that sounds unfeeling it is definitely not meant that way, simply the reality and consequences of violent conflict amongst a historically violent area of the world, and nations that are not generally known for their humanitarian attitudes.
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  8. Iraqi forces make new push in Mosul Old City - federal police
    Some more on coalition air strikes, processes etc.and possibly a new front in taking the old city. Not easy and I'm watching Sky News at the moment which are doing a special on the battle.

    Iraqi sources are talking about a suspension of strikes if more civilian casualties occur. New ways of asking for and getting strikes.

    It should also be remembered that the Iraqi Air Force are using heli's in the battle. At least we can see some positive efforts to reduce civilian casualties unlike other forces in the Levant:
    Sky news on Mosul. IS drones, Iraqi police and troops trying to reassure the population. Detention centres. UNHCR seem to be rather late in setting up their camps:
    The Battle for Mosul: Sky News on the frontline

    One of the alleged IS mass graves:
    Mosul sinkhole could be Iraq's biggest mass grave
  9. U.S. sees probable role in Mosul blast, probe under way
    US admitting it may have been a contributory factor on the Mosul bombing. Investigation is still ongoing but unlike other forces in the Levant they are investigating the allegations. Amongst possible other explanations are IS rigging the buildings with explosives and keeping people there, shooting those who run away. Secondary explosion from an IED placed there is still a good possibility.

    Clearly IS will go to any lengths, you only need to watch the numerous videos out there inc the ones with kids using live targets. Still, at least the US is recognising it has a part, investigating and doing something about it:
  10. More background on civilian casualties in Mosul. The story includes a video of some of the damage. The area looks pretty flattened, not just the one building. The background damage is likely not all from the one bomb however. 'Very large bombs were used': Coalition condemned for not doing enough to protect civilians in Mosul

    Residents say that more than 200 bodies have been recovered from buildings in the neighbourhood.
    Rather interestingly, a CBC news crew who was in Mosule earlier in the month said that as well as Western jets, Iraqi helicopters were launching "missiles". I'm putting "missiles" in quotes, because I suspect they could just as easily be unguided rockets.
    Amnesty International, who have been on site in the area have accused the "coalition" and Iraq of not taking all the precautions necessary to protect civilians.
    Amnesty International has interviewed Mosul residents who said that disproportionate force was being used to dislodge IS soldiers. They said that instead of using precision guided missiles to target the IS personnel on the roof of a building, air strikes would drop very large bombs which would flatten the entire building and kill all the civilians inside as well.
    Iraqi authorities have been dropping leaflets on areas where fighting is going on, telling residents to remain in their houses.
    The following is a story about atrocities committed by IS as they place civilians in danger. It also contains more background on civilian casualties.
    Hundreds of civilians dead in Mosul after being used as human shields, UN says

    IS have been herding civilians into booby-trapped buildings, and firing on those who try to leave.
    As for civilian casualties caused by air strikes, there are multiple theories as to who did what and what happened, and there don't appear to be any definitive answers at this time.

    Amnesty International however is saying that since the Iraqi authorities have been telling residents to remain in their homes, the "coalition" and the Iraqi government should have known that conducting air strikes would be likely to cause a significant number of civilian casualties. Amnesty have been conducting field investigations in Mosul.
  11. Pentagon responds to criticism over civilian deaths in Mosul blast
    Apparently a video is to be released showing IS herding civilians into the building and then opening fire on Iraqi troops who then call in the response. Suicide Civilian Hostage operation?

    Obviously this is all hindsight and how you deal with such tactics needs to be considered. We can also expect such tactics in Raqqa later this year. Not easy and hindsight is wonderful:
  12. A couple of years ago, I thought that the recapture of Mosul was going to be conducted via the medium of TOS-1 barrages. Deploying into urban areas rather plays to IS's strengths. Either way, I don't think there is much love lost between the rest of Iraq and Mosul.
  13. IS Mosul's latest release was about an hour long and focused on their VBIED operations mainly alongside making a point that senior gentlemen had a part to play. Martyrdom operations are usually a young mans game but it appears they're running low on manpower. I also found it interesting that they have standardised VBIEDs for the fight in Mosul's rat runs.

    There is also footage of their "Special Force" doing some close quarters stuff but apart from trying to look ally I'm not sure they're actually doing much at all.


    One of the men who carried out a martyrdom operation was old and disabled. He was strapped to the car seat. The set up for his moment is honestly heartbreaking as they show an extended scene with him and his kids. Gutted they have to grow up in this lunacy.

  14. Mosul offensive gains fresh momentum as army attacks IS from northwest
    More on Mosul. Lieutenant General Qassem al-Maliki, commander of the 9th Armoured Division and U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel James Browning a battalion commander from the 82nd Airborne Division, have conversations:

    "An armored division should not be going into narrow alleyways and streets but we will," Maliki
    "There are sometimes troop shortages or orders that require us to do so and we will do our duty," Maliki
    "Everything I am trying to do is try to shape the battlefield for him," Browning
    "I am looking at trying to strike right in front of him as well as deep, even into Old Mosul." Browning
    "What are you seeing on the screen? Do you see civilians?" Maliki
    "And sometimes I say 'yes' and he (Maliki) says 'don't strike'. I go through that process every time. We scan, we take a look, we make sure," Browning