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Thread: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

  1. #126
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Iraq has announced (or initiated stage one of) the operation to recapture Mosul.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-islamic-state

    Iraq’s military has launched an offensive that it claims is the first stage of an operation to push Islamic State out of Mosul, the largest city under its control.

    The assault was launched on Thursday from the Makhmour area of Nineveh province, where thousands of Iraqi troops have been deployed in recent weeks, setting up bases alongside Kurdish and US forces.

    Backed by air power from the US-led coalition and by Kurdish peshmerga forces, Iraqi troops advanced westwards, recapturing several villages from Isis, according to multiple military sources.

    “The first phase of the Fatah [Conquest] operation has been launched at dawn to liberate Nineveh, raising the Iraqi flag in several villages,” said a military statement cited by state TV.

    Iraqi officials say they will retake Mosul this year but, in private, many question whether the army, which partially collapsed when Isis overran a third of the country in June 2014, will be ready in time.
    So, yes, feasibility is an issue.



    The Syrian army is advancing against Da'esh around Palmyra, buttressed by Russia for the most part.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-says-state-tv

    Islamic State fighters have laid mines and booby traps throughout the ancient ruins of Palmyra to counter the most concerted push yet by Syrian forces to retake the area it lost 10 months ago in one of the most emblematic moments of the war.

    Syrian officials confirmed tanks and soldiers had advanced to within 500 metres of the centre of Tadmur City, adjoining the world-renowned archeological site, which became one of the terror group’s most-prized captures after a one-week siege last May.

    The push is being heavily backed by Russian jets, which have launched more than 140 airstrikes in the area over the past week, as well as Russian special forces on the ground. Iran-backed troops are also understood to be playing a role, although in smaller numbers than on other frontlines.


    And here is an interview with L. Paul Bremer III, the man often blamed for disbanding the Iraqi army.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine...5hK/story.html

    AS SOON AS I ARRIVE AT HIS HOME, a well-kept but slightly dated fieldstone Colonial in Chevy Chase, Maryland, he ushers me down a staircase into the basement, past one bookcase packed with white binders and another stacked with board games. We end up in a dimly lit corner where a desk, a couch, and a treadmill all jockey for space. “This is basically my office,” L. Paul Bremer tells me, adding almost apologetically, “and our exercise area.”

    For a man who once commanded the world’s attention, working out of a palace and wielding expansive powers over 25 million people while serving as America’s viceroy in postwar Iraq, these quarters seem modest. But the reminders of a more influential time are all around. Each of those white binders is labeled “CPA Archives,” as in the Coalition Provisional Authority that President George W. Bush appointed Bremer to run one month after US troops had cruised into Baghdad. (At one point during his reign, Bremer is said to have waved off a British general’s concerns about the legality of a certain security measure with the quip “I am the law.”) Along the white-paneled walls hang framed photos of Bremer with the biggest stars in the firmament of Republican administrations over the last half century: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bushes 41 and 43, as well as Kissinger, Haig, Rumsfeld, and Cheney.

  2. #127
    To vex the world rather than divert it. Villerar's Avatar
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The Syrian government, helped by Russia, conquered Palmyra from Da'esh.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...myra-from-isis

    The Syrian and Russian governments have hailed their recapture of the ancient oasis city of Palmyra from Islamic State, ending a 10-month ordeal that saw the destruction of some of the historic site’s most famed monuments.

    The battle for the city is the latest in a string of defeats for Isis, now in retreat across Syria and Iraq, where it once controlled vast tracts of territory: nearly half of Syria and the desert plains of Nineveh and most of Anbar in Iraq.

    Palmyra’s reclamation by Assad’s army, after weeks of intense combat, was aided by some of the heaviest Russian airstrikes since Moscow launched its military intervention last autumn. It is also a significant morale boost for the embattled Syrian strongman as well as the Kremlin.


    The United States announced they killed another second in command of Da'esh. This explains why killing those is easier than the big bad and why them dying may not matter much strategically.

    http://www.vox.com/2016/3/26/11309708/abu-alaa-al-afri

    On Friday morning, a US air strike killed Abu Alaa al-Afri, a senior leader in ISIS, whom the US says it considers the organization's second-ranked leader.

    This isn't the first time that al-Afri has been reported dead — though the US government has allegedly verified his death.

    But if (as seems likely) al-Afri is dead, this will be yet another instance in which ISIS's number two official has been killed. In August of last year, for example, a US airstrike killed Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, then identified as the group's number two.

    This continues a trend that news consumers may recognize from counterterrorism efforts against al-Qaeda, in which the group seemed to lose one third-in-command (after Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri) after another.

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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    France has dropped the dismal plan to revoke the citizenship of French-born fighters with dual nationality.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...nal-terrorists

    The French president, François Hollande, has scrapped plans to strip convicted terrorists with dual nationality of their French passports and deport them.

    The controversial proposal, announced after last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, was to be enshrined in France’s constitution but had profoundly split his own Socialist government and was opposed by the centre-right opposition.

    Hollande was accused of betraying the principles of the republic with kneejerk politics more suited to the far right than a Socialist leader.

    It also led to the December resignation of the justice minister, Christiane Taubira, who tweeted afterwards: “Sometimes to resist is to stay. Sometimes to resist is to leave.”

    The climbdown is deeply damaging for Hollande, who is looking increasingly isolated, unpopular and beleaguered a year away from a presidential election.

  4. #129
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The US claims that Da'esh's fighting strength is back to levels last seen in 2014.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...14-us-official

    The Islamic State group’s ranks have been pared back by international and local military action in Iraq and Syria to their lowest level since Washington began monitoring the group, a senior US official said Tuesday.

    The comments from deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken came one day before Barack Obama was due to convene his national security team at CIA headquarters to take stock of the anti-Isis fight.

    “Working by, with and through local partners, we have taken back 40% of the territory that Daesh controlled a year ago in Iraq and 10% in Syria,” Blinken told US lawmakers in prepared testimony.

  5. #130
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The semantics of "no ground troops" are getting stretched like a firmament.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...es-troops-iraq

    American officials say the US will send 200 more troops and a number of Apache helicopters to Iraq to assist in the fight against the Islamic State group.

    “We are going to bring in additional forces,” said the defense secretary, Ash Carter. He said the new forces would largely be used to advise Iraqi forces “closer to the action”.

    The announcement comes during a push to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and the largest held by Isis in Iraq. The decision reflects weeks of discussions with commanders and Iraqi leaders, and a decision by Barack Obama to increase the authorised troop level in Iraq by 217 or to 4,087 from 3,870.


    Da'esh has taken severe territory, population and revenue losses over the past year.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...rinks-tax-base

    Islamic State’s revenues have dropped about 30% since mid-2015, forcing the group to introduce a range of new taxes, a research group has said.

    “In mid-2015, the Islamic State’s overall monthly revenue was around $80m,” said Ludovico Carlino, senior analyst at IHS, which issues regular reports on Isis-controlled territory.

    “As of March 2016, the Islamic State’s monthly revenue dropped to $56m,” Carlino said.

    An IHS report also said oil production in areas controlled by Isis jihadists was 21,000 barrels a day, down from 33,000 barrels a day.

    This was due largely to airstrikes by the US-led coalition and Russia, although IHS warned the decline was only an “interruption of production” because jihadists were able to repair infrastructure quickly.

    The report said about 50% of Isis revenues come from taxation and confiscation of businesses and property, with 43% coming from oil.

    The remainder is made up of drug smuggling, the sale of electricity and donations, the report said.


    Palestinian refugees are caught between Jabhat an-Nusra and Da'esh.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...es-in-damascus

    Thousands of civilians are trapped in “desperate” humanitarian conditions in a Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus where fighting has been raging for days between Islamic State fighters and other extremists, the UN has warned.

    UNRWA, the UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees, said at the weekend that up to 10,000 residents of the Yarmouk camp in the south of the Syrian capital have gone without food or water for more than a week.

    “Civilians in Yarmouk are facing starvation and dehydration alongside the heightened risks of serious injury and death from the armed conflict,” said Christopher Gunness, a UNRWA spokesman. People are trapped in their homes, hunkered down to avoid being hit by bullets and shrapnel, he added.

  6. #131
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The Syrian government bombed the ceasefire to shreds. It has destroyed a MSF hospital, likely deliberately.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...strikes-aleppo

    Airstrikes on rebel-held areas of Aleppo and shelling of government-held areas of Syria’s largest city resumed after a brief lull on Friday as the US and Russia consulted to shore up a collapsing truce after a week of violence.

    At least one child died and five people were injured in airstrikes on rebel areas, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported, while dozens of Syrian and international NGOs appealed to Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin to halt “atrocities happening on your watch”.

    The US said it was talking urgently to Russia about reducing fighting in the Aleppo area. It said it had agreed a separate “general recommitment” to the cessation of hostilities in Latakia and Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus, where there had been “persistent violations”. But this was not a new set of local ceasefires.

    Russian state media said a “regime of calm” agreement sponsored by Moscow and Washington would apply for 24 hours in the capital and surrounding area and 72 hours in Latakia. The Syrian army said the partial truce went into effect at 1am on Saturday morning. The US asked Russia to include Aleppo but Russia declined, the AFP news agency reported.

  7. #132
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Al-Abadi announced that an offensive to conquer Fallujah will soon begin, amidst upheavals in the capital and attacks on protesters associated with Muqtada as-Sadr.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...ujah-from-isis

    Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, announced the beginning of military operations to retake the Islamic State-held held city of Fallujah, west of Baghdad, in a televised address late on Sunday night.

    Iraqi forces were “approaching a moment of great victory” against Isis , said al-Abadi, who was surrounded by top military commanders from the ministry of defence and the country’s elite counter-terrorism forces. Fallujah is about 40 miles west of Baghdad and has been under the control of Isis for more than two years.

    The announcement comes at a time of deepening political and social unrest in Baghdad. Clashes between protesters and Iraqi security forces inside Baghdad’s highly fortified green zone compound left four people dead after security forces fired tear gas, water cannon and live ammunition in an attempt to disperse the crowds. More than 100 people were wounded, said hospital and police officials. They spoke anonymously as they were not authorised to brief the press. The green zone houses most Iraqi government ministries and foreign embassies.

  8. #133
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Despite the bombast and bombings of the Russian intervention in Syria, highly wasteful in human lives, it looks like the Assad regime is close to losing all of several months of territorial gains in only a couple of months. This weakens his options at the negotiating table, if only that still mattered now.

    https://theconversation.com/islamic-...aknesses-59854

    Months after Russia spectacularly entered the Syrian conflict, Islamic State (IS) is still thumbing its nose at both Moscow and the Assad regime in murderous fashion. On May 23, the group detonated between seven and nine car and suicide bombs in the coastal cities of Jableh and Tartous, killing about 150 people and wounding more than 225. The targets included bus stations, electricity stations, and a national hospital.

    The co-ordinated attacks, the first of their kind in Assad’s heartland provinces on the Mediterranean, conveyed a deadly message: despite the loss of Palmyra in central Syria in late March, despite the offensive threatening the IS-held city of Fallujah in Iraq, IS can still strike at the core of the Assad regime.

  9. #134
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    Iraqi forces have entered Fallujah. There are still many thousands of civilians in the city and starvation is a real risk. Da'esh may also end up using them as human shields.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...-islamic-state

    Iraqi army-led units have started an operation to storm the Isis-held city of Falluja, the latest phase in the week-long operation to capture the militant’s stronghold near Baghdad.

    Tens of thousands of civilians are believed trapped in the city with few able to escape.

    A spokesman for Iraq’s elite counter-terrorisn service said troops entered the city from three directions. Explosions and gunfire could be heard in the southern Naimiya district as a military unit advanced.

    As Iraqi forces advanced, a suicide car bombing in a Shia district of Baghdad, which bore all the hallmarks of attacks claimed by Isis in recent weeks, killed at least eight people.

    If the advance on Falluja succeeds, it will effectively pen Isis back towards its de facto Iraqi capital, Mosul, with limited chances of it echoing breaking out to seize more Iraqi territory.

  10. #135
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    And there are already reports that they do, as the pace of gaining ground has slowed down considerably.

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/201...s-leaving-city

    Islamic State militants in central Falluja are believed to have prevented at least 20,000 residents from leaving the city and are offering fierce resistance to advancing Iraqi forces.

    A string of cautious early engagements, which are believed to have killed scores of Isis members and a smaller number of Iraqi troops, have set the scene for a protracted and difficult fight for Iraq’s fourth city that will likely expose large numbers of trapped civilians, whom the group is using as human shields.

    Almost three days after Iraqi officers declared that troops had breached the outskirts of Falluja, they have stopped at three points near the city’s dense urban centre, which is thought to hold as many as 1,000 Isis members. Many are hiding in a fortified tunnel and bunker network built over the past two-and-a-half years.

  11. #136
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    An Iraqi army commander has declared that Iraq has retaken Falluja.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ated-from-isis

    Islamic State has been entirely routed from Falluja, one of the jihadi group’s two major Iraqi strongholds, a senior Iraqi commander has declared, marking the end of a month-long operation during which tens of thousands of people fled the city.

    Lieutenant General Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi, the head of the counter-terrorism forces in the operation, said on Sunday that Iraqi troops had entered the north-western Golan neighbourhood, the last area of Falluja to remain under Isis control.

    Saadi said the operation, which was launched in late May by the Iraqi army backed by US-led coalition airstrikes and paramilitary troops, mostly Shia militias, was over and that the city was “fully liberated”.

    He said 1,800 Iraqi fighters had been killed and as much as 30% of the city destroyed in the bloody battle to retake the city, which fell to Isis in January 2014.
    Last edited by Villerar; June 26th, 2016 at 02:22 PM.

  12. #137
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    Re: Military Actions against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

    The by now very familiar type of coalition of the Iraqi army, Peshmerga, Shiite and Sunni militias has begun the offensive for Mosul. It is widely expected to be a protracted battle.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...ronghold-mosul

    A long-awaited offensive to seize back Mosul after two years of Isis control has begun with columns of armour and military starting to move on the northern Iraqi city.

    The start of the offensive, which has been months in the planning, was announced in an address on state television by Iraq’s prime minister in the early hours of Monday morning.

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