The mainstream media appears to be celebrating ISIS’ recent defeat in Mosul, albeit with some reservations. The media is largely using the word “liberation,” which indicates the people of Mosul have been freed from a monstrous force by a friendly, benevolent one.
In reality, the “liberation” of Mosul paints a dark, horrifying picture of America’s foreign policy when one realizes how ISIS took hold of Mosul in the first place. As Anti-Media in summarized in September of last year, the U.S. allowed ISIS to gain control of Mosul quite deliberately:
“In June 2014, ISIS crossed the Syrian border into Iraq, effortlessly taking the strategic oil-rich cities of Mosul and Baiji and almost making it as far as Baghdad. Amid the terror group’s frightening victory, they uploaded images and footage of drive-by-shootings, large-scale death marches, and mass graves (following the mass executions of Iraqi soldiers).
“ISIS militants claimed massive quantities of American military equipment, including entire truckloads of humvees, helicopters, tanks, and artillery as their own. This was no secret to Washington, or even the world, as the militants photographed and recorded themselves and publicly flaunted their activity on social media.”
Was there a good reason the American military sat on its hands despite knowing full well that this was going on? As Anti-Media explained further:
“What did the U.S. do in response? Nothing. In spite of all the American bases in Iraq and the government’s ability to perform all manner of illicit activity — including assassinating Muammar Gaddafi in Libya using a drone that was flown out of Sicily by a pilot who operated the vehicle from a naval base in Nevada‚ the U.S. couldn’t do anything to stop ISIS rapid advancements. Was there a problem preventing the U.S. military from conducting air strikes? Clearly not, as the U.S. had been launching drone strikes in Pakistan at around the same time ISIS advanced.”
The U.S. allowed ISIS to gain this significant portion of territory before moving into Iraq with an air war that was designed to pave the way for a segued operation into Syrian territory. The U.S. couldn’t justify an intervention into Syria without going into Iraq first, and this was quite clearly the underlying intention of this operation the whole time, as evidenced by the U.S.’ obsession with the Syrian conflict throughout both the Obama and Trump administrations.
Since the U.S. moved back into Iraq in 2014, the U.S. has dropped 84,000 bombs in Iraq and Syria up until the end of May 2017. As Counterpunch explains, this is nearly three times the number of bombs and missiles dropped on Iraq during George W. Bush’s “Shock and Awe” campaign in 2003.
Monitoring group Airwars’ currently estimates that the minimum number of civilians killed by the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign in Iraq and Syria has reached roughly 4,354 since the operation began in 2014. The number is likely higher, but we will never know the exact total because up until a month ago, the U.S. only had two personnel investigating casualties in Iraq and Syria full time.
Under President Trump, the number of bombs being dropped increased rapidly after Trump gave complete control to the military generals on the ground to call in airstrikes with little oversight. One such air raid in Mosul saw close to 300 civilians die, and the fact that the strike had been called in by Iraqi forces on the ground demonstrates the immense amount of scope that Trump has delegated to call in airstrikes with little regard to international law and the principle of proportionality.
The battle for Mosul also drew in Iran-backed Shia militias, who have been known to terrorize Iraq’s Sunni population (including torturing civilians). No one doubts that ISIS is a brutal and abhorrent group, but the people who are supposedly “liberating” the local population — whether it’s the U.S. military, the Iraqi armed forces, or the various militia on the ground — appear to be no better.
Now that these Iran-backed militias have firmly planted themselves in Iraq, the U.S. is left with an ultimate dilemma of how to kick them out and counter Iran’s expanding influence. In all seriousness, the battle for Mosul is only paving the way for further occupation and laying the groundwork for America to pursue its regional ambitions in its never-ending quest to confront Iran.
According to the U.N., more than 742,000 Iraqis have fled the battle in Mosul, with approximately 10,000 new civilians fleeing every day. For a country that hates refugees, the U.S. certainly plays a significant role in creating an endless supply of them.
And for those civilians still trapped in the city, their lives will never be the same. As Airwars explains:
“According to city officials, as much as 80 percent of West Mosul has been completely destroyed. Civilians still emerging from the battlefield are often bloodied and starving – traumatized by Iraqi and Coalition bombardments; and by atrocities committed [sic] by ISIS.
“According to reporters accompanying Iraqi forces, the stench of death is everywhere in the Old City – with civil defense officials reporting that as many as 4,000 bodies still remain unrecovered in the rubble. It is likely to be many months before the full death toll is known.”
That is quite the liberation. Even if Mosul really has been “liberated” by the U.S.-backed coalition, no one seems to be talking about the fact that ISIS was only able to conquer strategic areas like Mosul under the safety of the Obama administration’s policies. Leaked audio of former Secretary of State John Kerry when he was a senator confirmed the U.S. was watching ISIS grow, and in turn, the hoped this would bring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the negotiating table (you can listen to the full audio here).
You can’t target a group as an enemy in one location and view it as a useful proxy army in another. Indeed, ISIS was always a useful proxy force for the anti-Assad coalition, as Kerry admitted.
Essentially, the U.S. allowed ISIS to gain control of large swaths of Iraq and Syria so they could justify interventions in these war-ravaged nations.
As far as the people of Iraq are concerned, there is only one winner here: the military-industrial complex, which secured massive years-long contracts to make, supply, and drop over 84,000 bombs on a territory that never should have been in the hands of ISIS in the first place.