Friday, November 24, 2017

Better Late Than Never?

Mosul resident paid a price for the ISIL occupation. Is there a silver lining to this dark cloud of death that passed through the city?

The price for Mosul was heavy:

The Iraqi government, the coalition, the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and several human rights groups have tried to keep accurate casualty figures for the campaign. The UN reports are issued on a monthly basis. Last week the blog "Musings In Iraq" summarized UN and media figures. Since the Iraqi offensive's official start date in October 2016, 21,224 have been killed and 30,996 wounded in Ninewa province. Of the dead, 17,404 were killed in devastated Mosul and 24,580 were wounded in the city fight. How many of the dead were executed by ISIS? The estimate is 5,325.

This isn't the last word on casualties. Investigators will find more graves.

And don't forget that execution isn't the extent of ISIL responsibility for deaths. Fighting behind civilian "shields" is a war crime and makes ISIL responsible for deaths inflicted by Iraqi or coalition bombs or shells.

In 2003, no American offensive was launched from Turkey during Operation Iraqi Freedom because the Turkish parliament refused to allow it. The invasion came from the south through the Shia region only.

So the shock of losing the war wasn't accompanied by the sight of armies rolling over Saddam's army and smashing it, making defeat something felt in the bones.

Some said that the rapid collapse of Saddam's regime which left the west and east untouched by the battles to overthrow Saddam contributed to Sunni Arab resistance that followed. Did the bloody battles for Mosul and the rest of ISIL's conquests in the north correct that invasion flaw?

Could finally being a battlefield of a liberation--and many of Saddam's boys helped make ISIL a proto-state rather than a mere collection of killers, remember--help solidify Iraqi authority in the north?

It would be helpful if Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, and Sunni Kurds could now unite post-ISIL behind the difficult task of rejecting Iranian influence and expelling Iran's agents:

Some problems are particularly difficult to deal with. The Iraqi Kurds still control the northern provinces they have held since the early 1990s and are threatening civil (and guerilla) war if the federal government does not control (preferably expel) the growing number of Iranians (mainly Quds Force personnel) and curb the power of the Iran backed Shia militias. It’s not just the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs who fear the Iranian influence. Most Iraqis do, including most Shia Arabs.

If the Shia government would do that rather than focus on punishing Sunni Arabs for centuries of abuse and rather than carrying on the Sunni Arab equally long history of punishing Kurds, there might be real peace and a chance at a better future not being oppressed by Arab tyrants or jihadis of the Sunni Arab variety or the Shia Persian kind.