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    18.10.2016: US supported troops begin attacking MOSUL

    Seven Things You Should Know About Mosul (Video)
    Posted on Oct 18, 2016

    By Juan Cole / Informed Comment

    The Iraqi government has announced that the campaign to take the large northern city of Mosul back from Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) has begun in earnest. The Iraqi Army, the Peshmerga (Kurdistan Regional Government national guard), Sunni Arab tribal levies, and Shiite militiamen from the south are all likely involved in this push, which may take weeks. It is being spearheaded by the Iraqi Army 9th Division.


    So what is the significance of Mosul as a city?

    1. It is a large city in Middle Eastern terms. Before Daesh took it over, its metropolitan population was probably about 2 million, compared to Baghdad’s 6 million and Basra’s 2 million or so. Since Daesh took over, hundreds of thousands of residents have fled, so I figure likely the population has fallen to between 1 million and 1.5 million. That’s still a fair city. Only 4 American cities have 2 million or more population, and the fifth is Philadelphia with 1.5 million. So Mosul under Daesh has gone from being Houston to being something between Austin and Philly in population size.

    2. Mosul is the later successor to the ancient city of Ninevah, which was in the same area. It was first settled around 8000 years ago, and by 5000 years ago (3000 BCE) was an important urban center. Ancient Iraq was a font of civilization, with writing, art, sciences like astronomy, and bureaucracy. In the 700s BCE Ninevah became the capital of the rising Assyrian Empire under Sennacherib (d. 681 BCE), which invaded Babylon and Palestine. It became a magnificent metropolis in that century. It was to Ninevah that the biblical prophet Jonah was sent, to denounce its big city sins (he at first thought that this was a very bad idea and tried to sail to Tarshish, in the opposite direction, to get away from this divinely commanded task, hence his encounter with the whale). Ninevah was conquered by the Neo-Babylonians and Iranians in in 612 BCE, and was reduced in importance thereafter in the ancient world.

    sarakkad Sargon of Akkad, 3rd millennium BCE

    3. Mosul was incorporated into the early Muslim empire from the 600s CE, and was ruled by the Umayyads and Abbasids. It was a center for Arabic music, with the compositions of one of its famous performers, Zaryab, being a favorite all over the Arab world as far as Muslim Spain. The muwashahat form of bilingual lyrics was influenced by Syriac Christian church music. (Christians formed a significant population in Muslim-ruled Mosul). Mosul was a power base for the eleventh and twelfth centuries, CE, medieval state of the Atabegs, founded by Nur al-Din Zangi. It fought with the Crusaders but couldn’t take back Palestine (that was left to the Ayyubid Salahuddin). I pointed out after the fall of Mosul to Daesh in summer of 2014 that the Daesh ‘caliphate’ had an interesting geographical resemblance to the Zangid state, which also held both Mosul and Aleppo but not Damascus.


    4. Mosul was on a major world trade artery from the Indian Ocean up the Persian Gulf and the Tigris river valley to Syria’s Aleppo and thence the Mediterranean at Lebanon’s Tripoli or at Alexandretta. Historian Peter Sluglett says that in the second half of the 1500s when the Portuguese came to control the Indian Ocean, overland trade routes from India via Afghanistan and Iran revived. Caravans would come down to Safavid Baghdad via Kermanshah and then wend their way north to Ottoman Mosul and then Aleppo. The caravans carried pepper, Yazdi and Indian cotton cloth, and Iranian silk. Gallnuts were used for dyeing cloth, and Mosul sent 12,000 camel loads of gallnuts to Aleppo and thence to Europe every year in the early 1600s.


    5. After World War I, it wasn’t clear which of the countries emerging out of the collapsed Ottoman Empire would get Mosul. At that time it had some petroleum, which spurred the competition. But it also had a mixed population, with some Turkmen and Kurds along with the majority Sunni Arabs. Independent, republican Turkey would have liked to have Mosul. The French, who conquered Syria, wanted it. And the British wanted to append it to Iraq. The League of Nations even did a survey about Moslawi identity and found the city diverse and multilingual and cosmopolitan. Britain managed to convince the French to give it to London’s new colony, Iraq, and succeeded in making an argument to the League of Nations that Baghdad needed Mosul economically to be viable.

    6. In 1939, Iraq’s King Ghazi died in an auto accident. Whether it was actually an accident or whether it was an assassination remains controversial. At that time, Iraqi crowds believed that British secret agents had arranged the accident. When the British consul in Mosul, Consul, George Monck-Mason, came out to try to explain that his country was not responsible, the crowd turned ugly and an assassin killed the consul. Mosul was a hotbed of Arab nationalism, and this incident was not an isolated one. Not only had Britain ruled Iraq, and Mosul, in a brutal colonial manner, depending in part on massive and routine bombing raids, it was involved in giving away the Mandate of Palestine with its over 1 million Palestinians to Jewish settlers. Many Palestinian teachers who could not or would not work in British Palestine went to Mosul to get jobs in the schools, and influenced their students. The consul’s death thus was a symptom of popular anger about British hegemony in Iraq and the region. 19 years later, in 1958, a popular revolution in conjunction with a young officers’ coup ended British influence in Iraq, with the British-installed prime minister killed and dragged through the streets.

    7. In recent decades, Mosul residents went from Baath Party rule (1968-2003) under an Arab nationalist, secular, socialist one-party state dominated by Sunni Arabs to American occupation (2003-2011) to rule by the Shiite-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad. Then in 2014 the far right fundamentalists of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) took over. These changes would make anyone’s head spend. Recent rulers of Ninewah Province, of which Mosul is the capital include:

    1979-2003: Appointees of Saddam Hussein of the Baath Party.

    2003-2004: Gen. David Petraeus (w/ Ghanim Sultan al-Basso).

    2004: Osama Kashmoula

    2004-2009: Duraid Kashmoula

    2009: Atheel al-Nujaifi (Sunni Arab nationalist)

    2014 –: “Caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of ISIL (Dr. Ibrahim al-Samarra’i) – hard line Muslim fundamentalist

    18.10.2016: CHINA getting involved alongside RUSSIA & SYRIA

    China will be helping out the Syrian government in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) by sending “military advisers,” media reports have claimed.

    “More Chinese troops will be arriving in the coming weeks,” a Syrian army official told the Lebanon-based news website Al-Masdar Al-‘Arabi. The report claims that a Chinese naval vessel is on its way to Syria with dozens of “military advisers” on board. They will reportedly be followed by troops. The ship is said to have passed the Suez Canal in Egypt and be making its way through the Mediterranean Sea.

    China Aircraft Carrier

    According to the website, the advisers will be joining Russian troops in the Latakia area. Meanwhile, an Israeli military news website, DEBKAfile, has cited military sources as saying that a Chinese aircraft carrier, the Liaoning-CV-16, has already been spotted at the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean coast. It was said to be accompanied by a guided missile cruiser.

    The news comes after Russia, Iran, Iraq and Syria agreed to establish a joint information center in Baghdad to coordinate their operations against Islamic State militants, according to sources. “The main goal of the center will be gathering, processing and analyzing current information about the situation in the Middle East – primarily for fighting IS,” a military-diplomatic source told Russian news agencies on Saturday.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin was recently asked about Russia’s presence in Syria, to which he replied that Russia’s activities are limited to supplying weapons to the Syrian government, training personnel and providing humanitarian aid for the Syrian people. “We act based on the United Nations Charter, i.e. the fundamental principles of modern international law, according to which this or that type of aid, including military assistance, can and must be provided exclusively to the legitimate government of one country or another, upon its consent or request, or upon the decision of the United Nations Security Council,” Putin told CBS’s ‘60 Minutes’ show.

    Putin reiterated his support for Syria’s regular army – the army of President Bashar Assad. “He [Assad] is confronted with what some of our international partners interpret as an opposition. In reality, Assad’s army is fighting against terrorist organizations,” Putin said.


    Conflict PARTY perspective by Jürgen Todenhöfer „Inside IS“

    ANNE WILL – reflecting ALEPPO
    Veröffentlicht am 09.10.2016

    Wladimir M. Grinin, Botschafter in Deutschland
    Norbert Röttgen (CDU)
    John Kornblum, Früherer US-Botschafter
    Katharina Ebel, Koordinatorin
    Harald Kujat, General a.D.
    Komplette Sendung von Sonntag, 09. Oktober 2016 in HD

    Context Literacy

    Kosovo’s independence: Febuary 17th 2008



    (b)Anti-Independence perspective


    (d) „This declaration of independence is illegal“:

    Georgia August 2008
    (a) BBC Version:

    (b) RT Version:

    Libya 2011 ongoing


    (a) Ukraine: Crimea annexation

    On Syria

    A russian perspective:



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