Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF)
The Fall of Mosul and ISIS’ final defeat (supposedly) is just days away. Leaflets are being dropped in the city, advising families to stay indoors, for women to remain calm and to tell their children that the noise is thunder before rain. President Obama’s “JV” team (He must regret that so much) has held onto significant portions of territory for years now, collecting weapons, oil revenues, inspiring terrorists globally, and commanding Varsity level respect. Still, their last major stronghold, the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, is currently surrounded by Kurdish Peshmerga, Turkish backed militias, Iraqi military, and Shia militias. Invasion is just days away.
What is Mosul?
Mosul is a city in northern Iraq in the Nineveh province. Yes, it’s the same Nineveh that you’ve read about in the Bible. Mosul is also the burial place of Jonah. It’s an ancient city of over 2 million inhabitants, many of whom come from Jewish, Kurdish, Turkish, Persian, Assyrian, Arab, Yazidi, Armenian, and Babylonian backgrounds. Since 2,000 BC, it’s been conquered and over-conquered countless times. With each conquering people group leaving it’s mark in the city. Christianity can trace back its roots in Mosul as far back as the 1st century, with the oldest church in the city being built in the 6th century. It’s been ruled by numerous Islamic dynasties and regional powers until the Ottoman Empire took it over. The Turks ruled Mosul for 400 years! Pretty incredible to think of. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the League of Nations started partitioning off the Middle East. Turkey and Iraq both laying claim, with Turkey giving up it’s claim in a deal with the British. Oil was discovered in the 1920s and the city flourished. Under Saddam Hussein, Mosul continued to flourish. Saddam was known throughout the Arab world to promote Arab minorities, especially Christians, to positions of power within the government’s ranks. Many of those minorities came from the Mosul area. Once the US took over Iraq, the security situation in Mosul began to deteriorate. In 2008, thousands of Christians fled Mosul after dozens were murdered because they refused to convert to Islam. In June of 2014, ISIS assumed control of the city and holds it as of October 16, 2016.
ISIS with American supplies
ISIS, ISIL, IS, or DAESH? What’s the difference?
ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria or Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham. Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is probably the one you hear the most, although the al Sham one is used frequently by Arabic speakers. Al Sham is Arabic for the Greater Syria region. It’s been called that for hundreds of years, gaining popularity after the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. When referring to Iraq and Syria in ISIS, it limits ISIS rule to those countries. Al Sham means a greater reach since it’s Greater Syria. Traditionally, Greater Syria is really what we call the Levant.
ISIL stands for Islamic State in Syria and the Levant. ISIL is the same thing except it replaces al Sham with the Levant. The Levant is the English word for the Greater Syria region. President Obama takes heat for using the term, “ISIL” when referring to this group. Honestly, there’s no good reason to be upset about this. It doesn’t matter if you use the term ISIS or ISIL. Either way, you’re using English acronyms to describe a group that uses Arabic to currently describe themselves as the “Islamic State” (but in Arabic) and whose opponents currently describe as “DAESH” (but in Arabic). It’s as silly as English speaking Christians getting upset at Arabic speaking Christians for using the word, Allah. It’s an Arabic translation, not a description. What makes it silly is that the word God has pagan roots. So don’t use the word Allah while we use a pagan word to describe an indescribable God. Sorry, I’m getting off topic.
IS stands for Islamic State. This is ISIS’ preferred name for themselves and the one you probably see the least. Muslim groups and the media will purposefully not refer to ISIS as IS because they feel that legitimizes them as an Islamic State and since there’s no country or region it it’s name, it means the entirety of the Islamic State covering the world.
DAESH stands for “al Dawla al Islamiya fil Iraq wa al Sham”. You’ve probably seen this around here and there. This literally means the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria. But, ISIS doesn’t like to be referred to by the acronym DAESH and has threatened to cut the tongue out of anyone that calls them this. It’s very close to another Arabic word that means, “to tread underfoot”. For what it’s worth, most of the time I hear Arabs referring to ISIS, they use the word DAESH.
Iraqi Special Operations Forces (ISOF)
Why should you even care?
Mosul has presented significant challenges for US forces and allies since the US invasion. Right now, we could be on the brink of one of the worst man made humanitarian disasters in decades. US forces have started shelling Mosul in anticipation of an upcoming ground invasion. The Iraqi Army has stated that it will invade alone and will not accept direct combat support from Turkish backed groups, the Turkish military, Shia militas, and Kurdish militias. There are still an estimated 5,000 ISIS fighters in the city, they’ve dug tunnels all around, are entrenched among the population, and have Mustard and Chlorine gas capabilities. The Iraqi Army is preparing to clear the entire city, street by street. I just don’t see a way that other groups don’t get involved in this. Everyone wants in on the action. Russia has warned the US about not targeting civilians in airstrikes, Turkish leaders have warned that they may have to aggressively intervene to keep regional security, Iran has warned that threats against it’s backed militias won’t be taken lightly, while the American backed Iraqi Army plays the principle role.
The United Nations has stated that the world should prepare for over one million refugees that could possibly be displaced from Mosul. ISIS fighters, seeing impending failure could gas civilians before hiding among them, or gas civilians without bothering to hide at all. This would force many of these militias surround Mosul to not be able to assist, since they’re not prepared to deal against chemical weapons nor provide care to those who have been attacked with chemical weapons. ISIS fighters have supposedly started smuggling their families out of Mosul, to Syria. they’ve also started executing those who attempt to escape the city.
Victory is imminent. ISIS will be defeated, then what?