If it's modern ME in general a good book to start with might be James Gelvin's The Modern Middle East; A History
Last edited by MillerEP; 11-16-2016 at 10:07 AM.
A lot going on today:
ISIS has begun shelling the Tahrir neighborhood in the NE of Mosul now that the Iraqis claimed it over the weekend, and reports are they killed a family of 12 so far, and causing a lot of damage and other civilian casulties. Meanwhile the Iraqi Special forces are moving in the Aden area of East Mosul to clear it, and there are reports of heavy fighting there. This map gives you a general idea of the scope of the operation and the scale of the city:
In the West, the Tel Afar operation is still ongoing, with the Iraqi militias claiming the city of mireesha last night (our night), and are now right outside the airport. Reports from today (our day) are that they claimed the village of Tal Ramh aka al-Remeh (South of the air base), the village of Tal Suban (East of the air base) and the strategic Shiyan hill (overlooking the airbase). They are currently trying to encircle the air base, and have reportedly cut it off from the city of Tal Afar in the North of the airbase (still haven't cut it off from the west yet). Here is a map of the air base and city to give you a brief idea of distance:
So the expectation is the air base will fall in the near future. They need it to bring in supplies to help with the assaulting of the city itself.
Meanwhile some video footage was posted on how ISIS controls the media message to the residents in it's area. These photos are from Mosul. They have public tv locations and they hand out USB Thumbsticks with their videos on it at information kiosks and at checkpoints. I find this interesting, when I was in Iraq the insurgents there would do something similar, they would burn their propaganda unto CD/DVDs and hand them out to people in the market and waiting in line at gas stations (usually 1 gas station per medium sized towns, so there were always lines). Funny to see they "graduated" to actual kiosks and thumbdrives.
Last edited by MillerEP; 11-16-2016 at 10:39 AM.
Just looking to learn about the basic factors influencing the current ME mess. Rise of Mohammed. Split between Sunni and Shia. Ethnic or cultural differences in the region on how they view themselves: arabic, turks, kurds, mamluks, bedouins, Christian based groups adopted into their military establishments (janisseries/gholums). All of the background factors that come into play in the modern ME. Plus definitely some material in the current political landscape, particularly post WWI and the arbitrary map reworks implented by the West. Thanks, I will check out the Gelvin book.
Oh, man that is depressing.
Yeah, absolutely brutal.
Cannot wait for us to wipe these clowns from existence... But we all know that process will simply birth another batch of extremists.
ME gonna ME
Highlights from today:
In Mosul, there are continuing clashes going on in the neighborhoods of Aden, Bakir, Khadra and Dahabiya. The Iraqis claim to have cleared a third of Eastern Mosul.
In Tal Afar, the PMUs claim to have captured the Tal Afar Airport, and six surrounding villages.
Around Sinjar, Yazidi's have joined their Kurdish counterparts in allowing women to serve in uniform for the first time (Peshmerga have allowed it for years), nice to see the Yazidi's stand up for themselves. Remember these were the minorities who were explicitly being sold into sex slavery to ISIS fighters:
Damn ... bottom right... I'll be her sex slave
I have the most awesome freedom boner right now.
How big, relative to let's say any city in Texas, is Mosul? I kinda put it to scale on google maps but didn't have much time to actually look at it
Highlights from today:
In the south, the Iraqi army claimed Umarkan and Tell Wa'i villages, and are still working their way towards Mosul's airport. The Federal Police are conducting clearing ops in the village of Athbah.
In Mosul fierce fighting is being conducted in the Tahrir and Aden neighborhoods while bad weather limits air support which slows the crawling advance even more:
In the West, clearing operations are still being conducted on the Tal Afar Airbase, while being harassed by ISIS. Iraqi PMU's reportedly fired on a Turkish jet circling the area, and began shelling al-Zurayqi & Khidr Ilyas villages south-west of Tell Afar in preparation to storm it. Meanwhile, they are inching closer to the city itself from the south:
Last edited by MillerEP; 11-18-2016 at 11:12 AM.
Some highlights over the weekend:
In the far West (even further west than Tal Afar), The US conducted operations around the town of Baaj arresting some ISIS leaders. The city is an important stop over for anyone traveling from Mosul to Syria.
In the west around Tal Afar, the militias have begun entering into the Southern portion of the city, while continuing shelling the city to prepare it for further invasion (both on the ground and air as the US is assisting with airstrikes).
In the East, the Iraqis are still pushing west, with reports being they are about 5 miles now from the center of the city. Over the weekend they claimed 3 more neighborhoods, with some fighting around the Zahra neighborhood.
In the South of Mosul, forces are moving into the Salmat Disctict.
Meanwhile, The Iraqi Foreign Minister reports that 650 car bombs and 1700 ISIS fighters have all been destroyed.
Might be stupid questions but here goes:
Where is ISIS getting it's supplies from? I realize that black market arms are easily obtained for those who really want them but at some point, doesn't the supply stream (especially for items like artillery rounds) kind of dry up? How easy is it for ISIS, particularly if they are almost completed cut off in the Mosul area, to be resupplied?
Doesn't Iraq have total air and armor superiority? I also realize that we're seeing urban warfare for the most part where these are negated to a degree by structures and lack of open space but it shouldn't the Iraqi's (and "allies") have a decided schematic advantage here?
And if there is almost total air superiority, wouldn't that be the place to cut off resupply? It's not like ISIS can just have some guy run down to the local market an pick up 10,000 rounds of ammo. Supply trains are always vulnerable to interdiction in the open. It's not like they're using the Ho Chi Minh Trail.
ISIS got most of it's supplies for mainly three sources. The first was from former US military equipment which was abandoned by the Iraqi military as they were fleeing the advance of ISIS two years ago. The second source was from the huge stockpiles in the old ASPs of the Saddam Regime, and the third source was from Syria. In Syria they either obtained them from fleeing Syrian military/rebel groups, or were handed over in some cases by rebel groups formerly backed by Western countries as they integrated into each other.
For those inside Mosul, they are cut off from any supplies, this is why they build underground tunnels and bunkers, so they can stockpile and in some cases try to smuggle troops in and out without being seen.
Yes Iraq has total air and armor superiority. Both as being used in this offensive. You're right too that there should be an advantage, the problem is right before the invasion kicked off, the Iraqi's cleared Fallujah and Ramadi, which were both cities, but smaller than Mosul. In those offensives they told all the civilians to get out of the city, anybody left after a certain time would be considered hostile. It really simplified the battlefield. For Mosul, they did the opposite. They were afraid their fragile infrastructure couldn't support the massive amount of people in the city (meaning they couldn't support such huge refugee numbers), so rather than asking them to leave the city to refugee camps, they instructed everybody to stay in their homes until the Iraqi government told them it was safe. So a massive amount of civilians are still in the city, which really restricts what options they have.
They have effectively cut off Mosul from resupply from Syria on the main roadways, but there is a lot of open desert up there, so they can easily spot and target suspicious convoys coming and going, but wouldn't be able to stop smaller groups, at least not until they can cordon from the West.
Resupply is coming from Saudi and Qatar through Jordan, the same as the Syrian resistance. Capturing Tal Afar should cut off supplies to Mosul, now that Shia militias control the other supply routs to the west, except for small groups that slip through as Miller said.
They were being supplied through Turkey, but once Euphrates shield started 3 moths ago, those routes probably became tougher. On the other hand Erdogan may be doing that to protect his son's smuggling operations. It is impossible to tell from here.
Shouldn't ISIS be running into manpower shortages by now? They're being attacked on all fronts, and I can't imagine recruiting is going well.
Yes, their recruitment has been curtailed considerably. All that's left now if the die hards, foreign fighters stuck there, and some kids and others they can conscript from the cities they still control.
Some highlights from today:
In the NE of Mosul, the Iraqis are claiming to have captured the villages of Al-Salam, Al-Abbasiyah, Orta Khrab, while also moving into the north-eastern neighborhood of al-Zuhour neighborhood.
In the East, the iraqi army is moving into the Salmyat district, and celebrating their complete capture of Bashiqa from earlier.
In the South the Iraqis are encountering resistance as they approach the village Abu Sayyaf, just south of the Mosul Airport (their target). The Iraqi 9th and 16th divisions are also reporting the recapture of the villages of Orta Xrap, Salamiyah,Hamirah and Abbasiyah Mosul.
In the West the Iraqi PMU captured Ain Hisan Al-Janubyia, Kharabat al-Jaehash, and Al-Sharia villages west Tal Afar. They also reached Sinjar-Tal Afar road, which is important for cutting off the border to Syria. The main reports now are that the PMU have paused to wait for permission from the Prime Minister before going into Tal Afar, while the ISIS fighters in the area fled to the center of the city to await the assault.
Infographic of the Iraqi gains so far:
Last edited by MillerEP; 11-22-2016 at 08:43 AM.
Highlights from today:
Inside Mosul, the ISIS media minister was reportedly killed today in an airstrike while fighting has continued in the Eastern neighborhoods.
South of Mosul, the Iraqis are claiming to have captured some hills (high ground) nearby Tilal Albu Saif.
In the West, the PMU militias have linked up with the Peshmerga forces there, closing off Tal Afar and Mosul from Syria. The PMU also now only 2km from Tal Afar in the south, while claiming they recaptured the village of Qaratapa.
Meanwhile, the Iraqis are claiming 68,000 Iraqi civilian refugees have been displaced:
All those barracks... I don't see a command post, war factory, not even a power plant...
Highlights from today:
A lot of meetings going on around Tal Afar and Sinjar as the Prime Minister visits the newly captured airbase (and then later showed up at the front lines in Mosul), and the Peshmerga and Shia'a militias meet up. Meanwhile a Turkomen oficial is threatening sectarian violence if the Shia'a militias enter Tal Afar, which is going to be problematic if true, because that's the bulk of that force there.
Meanwhile in Mosul, the Iraq's special forces have reportedly captured the Khadhra apartment blocks in eastern Mosul, and the fighting is continuing in the Intisar district.
Also, here is a new infographic showing the gains yesterday to seal off the border:
In the West, the PMU captured Turkmeniyah al-Shamali, Turkmeniyah al-Janoubi &a al-Salam villages near Tal Afar. Meanwhile the Shia'a militias were told by the Prime Minister that they wouldn't be allowed to enter Tal Afar due to Turkomen fears for sectarian violence. Also over the weekend the Iraqi militiamen did the mannequin challenge on the front lines, just to show you how globally connected the world has become (well at least stupid memes travel fast).
In the South, ISIS has launched some attacks around Hamam Ali, while the Iraqis took the village of Geliokhan.
In the East, the Iraqis have declared the total capture of the Ninewa plains region, and still citing 12 neighborhoods inside Mosul reclaimed. The military is also trying to get full control of the Mosul-Kirkuk highway.
Meanwhile deep in the Kurdish territory ISIS attacked a KDP building in the village of Chamchamal, west of Sulaymaniyah (and West of Kirkuk).
Last edited by MillerEP; 11-28-2016 at 10:53 AM.
Highlights from today:
In the West, the PMU are fighting around the town of Shari'a village outside of Tal Afar. They are reporting they killed 31 ISIS insurgents. Also far south of Tal Afar, they PMU has captured Turkumaniyah al Janubiyah village.
In the South, Iraqi forces alongside some Sunni militias have opened up a new front against ISIS, attacking the village of Kan'us, as they drive southwards towards Sharqat.
Around Mosul, the PMUs have captured some strategic high ground (4 hills) to to South and Southwest of Mosul, as they are preparing to assault the Mosul airport. Along the eastern front, the Iraqi army has began entering al-Sukar and al-Ta'amin neighborhoods while fighting is still strong in the Intisar and Aden neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the UN is reporting that ISIS is killing civilians for refusing to install rocket launchers and snipers on roof of their houses in Mosul.
This is what did it for me today. Kids going back to school and singing kid songs. That's what's going to stop all this, eventually.
Can't get the vid to embed, but you get the drift.
The slow march westward in Mosul continues as the Iraqis are now almost to the Tigris river (which cuts the city in half). The Iraqis retook the three neighborhoods of Qadisiya2, Mahrouq and Abbadi. The UN is claiming there is an alarming number of residents without water in the city, while ISIS is trying to do their own "Operation Fortitude" by trying to trick warplanes with fake wooden vehicles:
Late to this thread. What a great read, in the informative sense, from beginning to end. Thank you MillerEP for your contributions to this thread, and more so, to our country. Like a lot of you on here I've had a fascination with the ME ever sense the US got heavily involved over there. I've read a handful of books, but threads like these are incredible for getting up to speed on the nitty gritty. It also makes it even more infuriating when you hear your friends/family's solution of "just bomb the $#@! out of them", as if it were that easy.
South of Mosul, the Iraqi federal police has reached the outskirts of Camp Ghazlani, while the Rapid Response Division announced they are 100% ready to storm Albu Saif village and Mosul international airport.
Meanwhile, in the West, some clashes are being reported near Tal Afar.
Highlights of today:
ISIS is reporting they retook the border crossing West of Tal Afar and reopened the Highway between Mosul and Raqqa in Syria. Also, the oil wells and mines they set fire to weeks ago near Qaiyara has set fire to the surrounding landscape. Here are some firefighters trying to fight the blaze:
In Mosul, there are reports of heavy fighting around the Hay al-Zuhur and the Meshraq neighborhood's, with the Iraqis reporting they now control the al-Zuhur neighborhood. Meanwhile, The Iraqi SWAT forces inside Mosul are asking for more reinforcements after suffering some heavy losses and Mosul is being blanketed with another sandstorm:
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