The intention for a “final” attack on Mosul was announced weeks ago. Why?
The excuse for giving the warning was, of course, to “give civilians the chance to prepare”. How, exactly? To dig their own graves?
There are, according to media reports, something over one million civilians in Mosul, all living under brutal ISIS rule since June 2014. To enforce that rule, ISIS has in the region of 12,000 - 15,000 “militants” at their disposal.
Yesterday Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, wondered why the city has not been surrounded. “As far as I know, the city has not been encircled completely,” he said. “I don’t know the reason for this, but I hope they were just unable to do so rather than unwilling.”
This is a fair point. Over the past week British media, especially the BBC, have been actively promoting the idea that a million people will be on the move as a result of the offensive. On Monday, Priti Patel, said that the “protection and wellbeing” of civilians is Britain’s top priority.
Patel’s statement serves two purposes, of course. The first is to score points agains Russia, who western politicians and media accuse of decimating the civilian population of Aleppo in order to defeat ISIS there. But what of the second?
Patel said on Monday:
Retaking Mosul will be an important step towards defeating Daesh in Iraq and ending its tyranny over the civilian population in the city. However, with up to one and half million people still living in the city, it is clear that their protection and wellbeing must be a paramount concern.
This could be the reason for creating a “corridor” as Lavrov put it; to allow civilians to leave. But if you drive over a million people through that corridor, how to you identify the one percent who are ISIS? Will they wear special hats? Perhaps they will have their passports checked?
Lavrov continued yesterday:
At least, the remaining corridor creates the risks that ISIS will leave Mosul and Iraq for Syria. If this happens and additional ISIS contingents turn up in Syria, where our forces have been operating at the request of the legitimate government, we will assess the situation and adopt political and military decisions. I hope that the U.S.-led coalition, which is actively involved in the operation to seize Mosul, will focus on this, too.
And that, of course, is the intention: to resupply (our) ISIS forces in Syria with fresh blood following Russia’s success in supporting Assad.