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Questioning the Narrative
Iraqi PM declares Isis will be 'terminated' in 2016 (Guardian, Tuesday 29 December, Kareem Shaheen, Istanbul)
So there we have it. The writing seems well and truly on the wall for ISIL as Iraqi forces storm into Ramadi and route the bastards with a panache rarely seen since ISIL themselves waltzed into several major population centres in Mesopotamia and sent government forces fleeing for their lives. In 2016 ISIL will be 'terminated' in a 'big and final victory' destroying their presence in Iraq, according to Iraqi PM al-Abadi. Obama praised the 'courage and determination' of the Iraqi armed forces. The US Defense Secretary even got in on the act with some choice words for ISIL.
Of course, European leaders put their tuppence worth in. Fortunately for us, the British played a key role in the glorious offensive, aiding the attack with sky-bombs. However, the attack was led by Irag's 'elite counter-terrorism unit' who are presumably as elite, if not even more so, than Saddam's old elite republican guard.
The narrative neatly turned to the northern city of Mosul which Iraq wants back from the terrorists by the end of the year. It is there that British sky-bombs supported the Kurds in their valiant efforts and no doubt will play a significant part in the year to come.
Ramadi was the latest in a recent 'series of defeats' for ISIL. Sinjar, homeland of the Yazidis, was another key loss. Meanwhile, across the border, more Kurdish paramilitaries are lapping up ex-ISIL territory in the north of Syria. 'Human shields' screams the last paragraph... in case it was all too much and we had forgotten in our tiny brains that ISIL are indeed BAD GUYS.
Now for the questions. First of all, numerous sources of power across the world, not least the local bully boy Sunni states Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are anxious about the Shia power grab that is the Iraqi government and its associated armed forces. So considering it is well accepted that the Iraqi army is a de facto Shia army and the majority of Iraq's Sunni tribes and Kurds are not involved... and considering the Iraqi army is backed and supported by Iran and Shia militias... and considering the fact that Ramadi is/was a Sunni town, indeed a key town in the 'Sunni heartland' of Iraq... and considering the Sunni make-up of ISIL which of course grew out of the Sunni group Al-Qaeda in Iraq... and considering the ongoing attempts to stir sectarian violence by ISIL, other terror groups and even (whisper it) state players, both in Iraq and the wider middle-east... what exactly does the Sunni heartland population in Ramadi and other local areas think of a Shia-state army, backed by Shia militias and supported by Iran, 'liberating' the town on the back of tanks and armoured vehicles? What is going to happen to Ramadi now? What will the ethnic make-up of the town be a year from now? Will the Sunni Dulaim tribe, known for their support for extremists and being utterly antithetical to the Shia government, appreciate the Shia forces populating the town? Will Ramadi exist in the future and why was it worth the lives lost? Take a look at the photos of the troops celebrating in Ramadi. They aren't exactly surrounded by a joyous local population. In fact, the buildings have been effectively turned to rubble. Simply put, I don't believe Ramadi is important as a population centre for local Sunnis to live in and I don't believe that is the reason for its liberation.
Next, why is Iraq pushing so hard against ISIL now and why decide that they need to take Mosul by the end of next year? They ran away from Mosul without a fight and gifted one of the largest cities in Iraq to ISIL just a year and a half ago. Mosul isn't close to being a Shia city or a threat to Baghdad. It is however, near to where Turkish troops illegally entered Iraq in recent weeks in a move that in most parts of the world would have been condemned as an act of territorial aggression and quite possibly war. In the quagmire of Iraq and Syria it is merely another strategic power grab by a world or regional power. Iraq is fragmenting into different areas along ethnic and sectarian lines. In respect of the Mosul situation it is clear that Turkey are making attempts to shore up their territorial integrity against a possibly future Kurdish state. Both the US and Shia Iraq do not appreciate this posturing and plan to ensure that Turkey doesn't become the dominant power in northern Iraq.
Finally, with European, British and American politicians spouting their bull# in the occupied media it is clear that the content is sanctioned. This means that the sky-bombs will rain. And rain. And rain. Make no mistake, Mosul is a huge city with a population still of probably well over a million. Destroying ISIL's last major rule in Iraq and returning the city to Iraqi/Kurdish/Turkish/American (delete as appropriate) hands is likely to be long drawn-out and perilous. The scramble to own Iraq's northern oilfields that has been in full play for a long while is set to heat up. Ramadi meanwhile is a key strategic location in Anbar province where ISIL control has meant a difficult security situation since the West started exploiting recently discovered treasure troves of both oil and gas. Removing the ISIL threat from western Iraq and getting the Sunni tribes onside is a win-win situation for the US et al and for the Iraqi Shia government.
What this is ultimately about is control of the resources of what used to be Iraq. The foreboding clouds are gathering over Mosul and ISIL's days in control of that city are soon numbered. There are too many interests vying for control. My vague prediction at this stage is that Iraq will be redrawn, if not officially into different countries, certainly into autonomous regions. It will soon be time to welcome a Sunni tribal Western Iraq, a Shia Southern Iraq and a consolidation of Iraqi Kurdistan. I believe the West thinks that will be easier to manage and manipulate. We'll see about that.
Hence, I think we all need to question the narrative that is put forward. Not just in isolation with regard to specific events but in the overall sense that every small piece of propaganda is one piece in a huge jigsaw.