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. This is a copy of the Russian announcement on their Facebook page. This seems to be what the early press reports were based on. According to the post, al-Baghdadi, if he was indeed there, wasn't the target of the air strike. Rather, the Russians say they received a rumour after the fact that he had attended the meeting and his death was a bonus casualty.

    This news source: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of ISIL, may have been killed by Russian airstrike in Syria says that the Russian foreign ministry does not have confirmation of al-Baghdadi's death.

    If we would wish to speculate on this, I would not be surprised if the rumour of al-Baghdadi's death was a news "hook" intended to ensure the story got widespread publicity. Note that the story was based on a Facebook post, not a news release from the Defence Ministry’s official site. That particular Facebook post stands out due to being in English while the other surrounding stories were in Russian. As Marshall McLuhan once said "the medium is the message".

    Now why would the Russians do this? The real intention may have been to plant the provocation that IS was planning to leg it from Raqqa - "the purpose of the meeting was planning the routes for the exit of militants from Raqqa". This may have been intended to demoralise IS supporters and cause them to think they were being abandoned by their leaders.

    This follows what I understand to be classic Russian tactics, to bury the "real" message in a larger story. The death of al-Baghdadi may be disputed, but the part about IS's leaders were planning to withdraw would in all likelihood go unchallenged. Of course IS may indeed plan on withdrawing from Raqqa, but that doesn't mean that the rank and file know this or that the Russians don't want that point brought home to them.

    Hence, there may indeed be something odd about this report, but the intended audience isn't necessarily us so our reaction may be unimportant.

    This by the way isn't the first time that al-Baghdadi has been declared dead or injured and near death. He has supposedly been killed or severely injured:
    • three or four times by the US
    • once by the Iraqis
    • once by persons unknown
    • now once by the Russians
    I'm not sure that he's any deader now than he was before, but as I have pointed out above, that may be beside the point.
     
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  2. Me neighbour thought he'd killed Baghdadi the other week, driving back from a concert.

    Turns out it was a badger though.
     
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  3. Islamic State 'bureaucrats' fleeing stronghold in Syria - Pentagon
    The Pentagon have been saying IS leadership have been leaving Raqqa since at least February. That's four months for the 'ground troops' to realise:
    Most subsequent reports from 'open source' since then believe he is around Deir al-Zor and/or near the Iraq border in the region:
    Russia's military says it may have killed IS leader; West, Iraq skeptical
    Iraqi sources and SOHR believe he is (or was, who knows) near Deir al-Zor:
    If al-Baghdadi has been killed (with or without 30 headshed and 300 troops) by the Russians well done. However, the 'chatter' whilst subdued would in all probability confirm the strike. That Int does not seem to be corroborated in other open sources. I assume that there will be confirmation or denial in the future but he seems to remain almost as elusive as Osama.

    Russia claims it killed two more IS commanders in Syria - Ifax
    Doubts have also been expressed about the other two IS Comdrs allegedly killed:
    Bottom line, no independent proof and this may be Russia trying to say are actually targeting IS now that the 'safe enclaves' in Syria are in place. Some people will believe what Russia says no matter what the evidence to the contrary is.
     
  4. Iraqi forces launch final assault on Islamic State-held Mosul Old City
    Final assault on Mosul old city beginning. 300 IS left and 100,000 civilians believed left in the old city which begs an obvious question:
    IRC (obviously) concerned about civilians. Iraqi forces trying to reduce them by sticking to the use of light and medium weapons:
    Street fighting or F/OBUA aka FISH & CHIPS:
     
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  5. Ouch - most important night of Ramadan apparently as well. Daesh are blaming the US.

     
  6. French special forces not specifically targeting jihadis: chief
    Short article about French SF in Mosul. Not specifically targeting French Jihadi's but 'to ensure they did not return to their homeland to carry out attacks.'
     
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  7. I care not one whit what nationality Jihadis they're targeting, so long as it's a large number & with a high success rate.
     
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  8. Russians doubling down on their claim to have got Baghdadi. My bold. Since the Russian Defence ministry is also the home of the sub orbital Frogfoot that can shoot down airliners, and the source of a vast body of other blatant falsehood, Mr Ozerov is either 1) delusional 2) Naïve or 3) a liar.
    Baghdadi death near 100 percent certain: Interfax quotes Russian senator

    The likelihood that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed is close to 100 percent, Interfax news agency quoted the head of the defence committee in Russia's upper parliamentary house as saying on Friday.

    Russia's defence ministry said a week ago it believed it may have killed Baghdadi when one of its air strikes hit a gathering of senior Islamic State commanders on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa.

    But armed groups fighting in the region and U.S. officials say they have no evidence that Baghdadi was killed, and many regional officials have said they are sceptical about the information from Moscow.

    Committee head Viktor Ozerov was quoted as saying the defence ministry would not have released information about Baghdadi's death if it believed it could be later proved incorrect.
     
  9. How much do you know about the structure of the Russian government and the political make-up? I don't know much, and can't say whether or not being head of the Russian senate defence committee may be comparatively meaningless in terms of having inside information. In fact if we look at this guy's exact words it suggests that he doesn't know anything more about the subject than what he reads in the papers. The paraphrase that you highlighted also suggests that he's speculating. Personally, I've never heard of this guy or his position before.
    There was another thread on ARRSE recently based on a news story about a report issued by the Canadian senate defence committee. I had to point out that the Canadian senate defence committee has about as much influence on Canadian defence policy as we do when we post on ARRSE. It could be the same with this guy as well.

    Perhaps some Russian ( @KGB_resident ) could enlighten us as to whether statements from this guy mean anything. Barring evidence of that, I suggest we take it much less seriously than press releases which come from official sources when judging what Russian official policy and positions are.
     
  10. In Russia the Council of Federation is not a decision making center. In fact it is place in Moscow that provide comfortable chairs and status of federal legislator to prominent local officials after their retirement. It is something like the House of the Lords.
    Mr.Ozerov is a retired officer, later local MP, speaker of local Council in big region on the Far East. He is typical (McCain style) hardliner and patriot with (apparently) good relations with the MoD.
    [​IMG]
    As I understand Russian MoD can only make allegations that Baghdadi was killed. Mr.Ozerov's statement means that high ranked officials in the MoD privately told him that probability of the killing is almost 100%.
     
  11. So he may possibly have some information due to having unofficial connections with people who are in the know, but he does not have any direct lines of information of his own due to his position.

    I think we can probably take his statements as personal opinion rather than as anything official.
     
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  12. Thanks, I found that interesting. Worth reading just for an insight and (despite the ideology), they have some very useful people in their ranks. It gives an idea why they are a hard nut to crack.

    Also interesting is their belief that using white vehicles makes them easier to camouflage.
     
  13. Iraqi forces free hundreds of civilians in Mosul Old City battles
    More civilians managing to get out. 100,000 still believed to be left in the 2km square part of the old city IS still hold:
     
  14. That's an excellent article, and well worth everyone's time reading it in full.

    It's too long to summarise, but some of the interesting points revolve around the evidence for IS training to use chemical weapons fired from mortars, the Iraqi forces' use of double agents operating for long periods of time inside IS, and the amount of intelligence that was derived from Iraqi forces scooping up documents and SIM cards found with dead IS fighters. The latter two probably play no small role in determining targeting for air strikes.

    Other interesting bits include the recruiting and indoctrinating of young teenagers, and IS replacing (and sometime executing) existing imams in mosques with their own people to use them as propaganda outlets.

    The article offers very good insight into how IS operates.
     
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