From Inside Mosul
Sunday, 23 October in Bashiqa, Turkish military forces supported Peshmerga Kurdish forces with artillery fire directed against Islamic State occupiers of the renowned city of Bashiqa with its Mosques and Catholic Churches once side by side.
On a nearby mountainside the Turks have been helping men from the city of Mosul for the past two years to form a militia for the purpose of rescuing their families and homes in Mosul. They are led by their former governor.
Baghdad has issued a warrant for the detention of the former Governor of Nineveh (Mosul) Atheel al-Nujaifi who by most accounts is the ultimate hero of Mosul.
This seems to be all about Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi’s contempt for Americans and Turks as well as Kurds. al-Nujaifi has won favour from all. Abadi, who sounds more and more like a paranoid says however that Turkey and the Kurds plan to steal Mosul away from Iraq. That was a bad suggestion for al-Abadi to make because everyone in the Mosul area liked it. Mosul was part of Turkey before Britain and France’s imperialistic romps in the region shortly into the 19th century resulted in some torn borders. France, Britain and the USA all know about the eventual price of meddling in this region. Handing Mosul back to Turkey is a brilliant idea that would help resolve many issues.
The borderless nearly-failed state of Iraq (which was perhaps a bad idea right from the start) could reconstitute itself on its Shiite borders while Kurdistan continued to blossom as a free state and Mosul returned to its Turkish heritage where it belongs. (President Recep Erdogan, the misogynistic Islamist who deeply hates the concept of gender equality and continues to take Turkey backwards in time, can only last so long. Awful leaders come and go but the country of Turkey is full of potentially good people. -ed)
Baghdad’s High-Court arrest warrant for the former Nineveh governor smacks of a political ‘dirty-trick’ to nail down the one man who could probably tell the whole story of Baghdad’s persecution of the Sunni Muslims in Mosul going back to the time of the poorly-conceived American withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. Baghdad says that al-Nujaifi is a traitor because he invited Turkey into Iraq but it was in fact the Kurdish Regional Government plus the former PM of Iraq who brought the Turks into Kurdstan. Our research and memories seem to indicate that Abadi was in favour of the Turks helping those we have come to know as “The Mosul Freedom Fighters”.
al-Abadi has swore verses of the Q’ran (figuratively) that he would not be bringing Iranian-controlled Shia Militia to the 2016 battle of Mosul (because of their propensity to slaughter the civilians). He lied. His entire military is coached band supplied by the Iranians and the USA. Iran told him that Shia fighters would go to Mosul and that is exactly what you will find center south of Mosul in the outskirts of the city– an estimated 2-3000 Shia fighters, probably Iranians who have moved in from Sulaymaniyah along with or mingled with Asaib Ahl Haq and the Badr militias. Add those thousands to the 8-15000 members of the Hashd al Shabi circling around Mosul to the North. al-Nujaifi’s ever-present connections in the region are briefing him on this.
The Shia-presence would not be so bad if these were skilled soldiers armed and aimed at saving civilians from the evil (Sunni) Daesh but in fact there seems to be a contest among these religious fighters (who may well be the Shia brutal counterpart to the Sunni Daesh) that involves posting to social media smart-phone video of their torture of escaping Moslawis–and the Mosul people are escaping in the many thousands (a story worth telling at a later time).
Atheel al-Nujaifi during his time as a leader of the Mosul region complained about mistreatment of Moslawis by the Shia-Iraqi Army and many other abuses and corruption within the Iraqi military; became familiar with the centuries-old cultural and business relationships between Turks in Turkey and the Turkmen of Mosul; and maintained a good relationship with the leadership and governorates of the Kurdish Region of Iraq (KRI) which for most purposes is an autonomous region belonging to the Kurdish people and a possible precursor for the state of Kurdistan.
In 2014 after the Islamic State invasion of Mosul and the ouster from Mosul of Atheel al-Nujaifi as well as the municipal government, al-Nujaifi set out to recruit police officers and soldiers who had been routed from Mosul, to form a militia of sorts to assist in the liberation of Mosul.
This was a popular move among Moslawis and many men from Mosul who were otherwise out of work, joined the group Atheel al-Nujaifi was forming and began to train in a campground near Bashiqa 15km to the north east of Mosul. They received some sporadic pay but not much to speak of. At some point the group may have reached as high as 7,000 keen supporters and members.
Atheel al-Nujaifi – Courtesy of ‘Kurdistan 24‘ TV
Atheel al-Nujaifi was not so wealthy he could arm and train these men on his own so he sought help from the traditional patron of Mosul, Turkey.
Until around 1922, Mosul had been part of what is today Turkey for many centuries. Mosul’s joining the mixed bag of mismatched elements that became Iraq was the brainchild of two men of history, Lester B. Pearson who would in later years become a Prime Minister of Canada and Winston Churchill who later became PM of Great Britain. These two men worked for the ‘League of Nations’ a precursor to what is today the United Nations, in a diplomatic section struggling to sort out the messes of WWI.
Post June-2014 Atheel al-Nujaifi showed considerable wisdom (and dedication to Nineveh governorate) and with the blessing of the Kurdish government of the region, the KRG in Erbil, he asked the PM of Turkey for help. Help came in spades.
The top-drawer professional NATO-aligned troops of Turkey came to the training fields at the Bashiqa mountain at the invitation of the Kurdish Regional Government and made a substantial contribution to both the military aspects of this militia as well as the humanitarian aspects. (The volunteers were not much more than refugees in a material way but their hearts were in Mosul.)
The Turks helped many people in Mosul and were often helpful guardians on some dark nights when the smuggling of ill people from Mosul or otherwise helpless Moslawis into the safety of Turkey needed a good Samaritan.
Events like that are never forgotten.
NATO cannot be well if it is not backing the goodwill of this Turkish exercise. And there is no lack of NATO members in the region, expending bombs and bullets to help diminish the receding tyranny of the ghouls of the Islamic State.
Baghdad is openly swearing at the friendly Turks and muttering about disrespect for Iraq’s sovereignty. But in the meantime, it doesn’t take much of a glance at a map to see that the Turks are located in a region of Iraq deigned to the Kurds as the Kurdish Region of Iraq which is self-governed. By all accounts the Turks are helping the Moslawis who have formed what was originally called Hashd al–Watani, at a crude base in the Kurdish Region of Iraq where at the same time other members of NATO including Canada and the United States are helping train militias of the Kurdish Region. There is little or no difference except that the people of Mosul have a story to tell that Bahgdad prefer was never heard.
If you find this confusing you are barely at the threshold of learning the whole story.
The Iraqi Prime Minister presides over the most raucious and laughable parliament on Earth, maybe more slapstick than a Punch and Judy puppet show. Outside the doors of the Iraqi parliament are none other than the dark shadows of Iran seeking to call the shots and hoping to rein into its fold a connecting Shia-friendly path from Iran to Syria. Haider al-Abadi may be the quintessential Trojan Horse of Iran’s dream.
What’s important to us is that all of the defenders of Moslawis who must be given a safe corridor for evacuation from Mosul, are being thrashed in one way or another by al-Abadi’s fractioned and diminishing Iraq. (Two major provinces of Iraq in the south are done with Baghdad and want autonomy as well.)
Turkey continues to offer assistance to the people of Mosul and is currently being discreet in its significant unofficial humanitarian assistance to Moslawis.
Several hundred thousand civilians in Mosul are at risk of being slaughtered by a militia assortment claiming to have 100,000 fighters armed by France, Britain, America, Russia and Iran on a mission to kill what may number around 2700 remaining Daesh fighters in Mosul–if that many. It is unlikely that there are 100,000 Coalition fighters but if you take away the male jingoistic exaggeration and add the collection of other ‘technicals’ (pickup trucks and machine guns salted with American and Russian tanks) to Iraq’s 24,000 you might just fall short of 45,000.
The Shia fighters claim that all the people of Mosul (a city of at least a million people) are Daesh.
But the people of Turkey whose families have been intermingled with the people of Mosul for dozens of centuries, know differently.
Iraq fears that the Kurdish Region of Iraq may seek to break away from Iraq altogether with as much real estate as it can muster in the ‘Wake of The Black Parade‘ and would enlist the support of its northern neighbour, Turkey.
Haider al-Abadi fears losing his job and maybe even his neck if he is not able to deliver the demands of his Iranian backers.
Turks fear the slaughter of Moslawis by Iraqi Shia Muslims. Turkey has no other interest in the region other than protecting its borders and its own people.
American fighters are valiantly struggling to make right a horrible mess created by faulty American foreign policy under horrendously bad stewardship but nevertheless must follow orders of a stuffed-suit Commander-in-Chief who manipulates events to have a favourable result at the pending US electoral polls.
Canada has no idea what it is doing in Iraq under the former Prime Minister Harper and was once bombing the food supplies of Mosul, inadvertently killing civilians and trying to starve-out the Islamic State salafi Jihadists by removing the food supplies for everyone. Canada’s recent PM Trudeau, likely the most respected leader in all of the conflagration, ordered the end of his country’s bombing missions and sent a field hospital instead. He did not however reduce the effort being done to train the probable breakaways in the next civil war of Iraq. Choosing to train and arm the Kurdish militia instead of the Iraqi Army, may suggest that Canada, under Harper, was setting out to support the formation of Kurdistan. In any case, all of the men intervening in Iraq are now inevitable players in the next set of wars, as has always been the case for anyone setting more than a foot in the Middle East.
Britain has maybe the longest history in the region; the greatest chance for understanding the complexities; and struggles to fix generations of unavoidable mishaps, none the least of which is the long-forecasted threat to world peace and stability of religious fundamentalism.
France has done its best to support the people of Mosul to which it may have a certain kinship in misery. France has lost so many innocent civilians to Islamist psychopaths it has maybe an esprit de corps with Mosul–feelings of loyalty, enthusiastic support, and devotion to a group among truly good people who have felt the evil incarnate of Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi.
If the world truly knew what has been happening in Mosul, Iraq, it would want most of the leaders involved in this mess from former Iraqi PM Nouri al-Maliki, George Bush, Haider al-Badi and Barrack Obama sent to prison for the slaughter of maybe a million Iraqis plus the recent total destruction of half a dozen large cities with over 70,000 heavy bombs that indiscriminately kill everyone nearby.
These men who posture for power need to put one thought first and foremost into their minds today. The world is fed up with corrupt men who believe in nothing but their own power. The job at hand is to rescue the people of Mosul. Not one more shot should be fired until all the citizens of Mosul are given free and safe passage in guarded corridors, to freedom, out of danger.