Sunday 23 July 2017

"40,000 civilians died in Mosul"

40,000 civilians died in Mosul, either bombed or killed in house to house fighting, according to a Kurdish commander quoted by Patrick Cockburn. Note the difference between press accounts of the fall of Mosul and East Aleppo.

There’s been no emergency debate in the House of Commons and the Eiffel Tower hasn’t
dimmed its lights "in a gesture of support for the people under bombardment". 

It's true that ISIS are singularly cruel, but the Al Qaeda fighters in Eastern Aleppo were unlikely heroes. The Assad government is very cruel indeed, but I wonder how benign the Iraqi forces are. 

We do not know. But I fear that fighting in Iraq will continue unless the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces are exceptionally careful with the Sunni population and, cynically, I doubt that they will be. Many of the ISIS fighters have been killed in hot or cold blood, perhaps many were massacred though there is not much evidence of this in the press, but ISIS dispersed is much more dangerous to Europe than ISIS besieged.

There were few hard facts about civilian casualties or war crimes in the press accounts of either victory, partly because reliable information was hard to find. There is no reason in theory why the press should not find out what has happened in Mosul. One friend of mine, who approves, says the idea was always to kill the ISIS fighters, not to take them prisoners. I don't know on what authority he bases that - he seems well informed in a mysterious way about many obscure things. How many prisoners were taken? Hundreds apparently have been crammed into a tiny gaol. I wonder if many more were shot.

My intention in writing this is simply to assert that, up to now at least, we have not been given full and objective facts by the media about either Mosul or Aleppo. The coverage of Aleppo was a disgrace, quite irrespective of what one thinks about the Russian action. The Western media presented rebel organisers as if they were trustworthy sources of information, before Aleppo fell. Afterwards we had stories of dead and wounded children but no investigation of what happened, possibly because such an investigation was not possible. 

I don't suppose there are many boy scouts in these interconnected wars, though we root for the Kurds.


  1. Meanwhile, in liberated Libya:

    1. Meanwhile, in...Turkey:

      Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmaker Ahmet Hamdi Çamlı praised a recent move to include the concept of “jihad” to the country’s new education curriculum, saying that “jihad is Islam’s most prior element.”

      “Jihad comes before prayer. When we look at Ottoman sultans, nearly all of them didn’t even go to hajj in order not to abandon jihad,” Çamlı told daily Habertürk on July 22.

      The final version of Turkey’s national school curriculum has left evolution out and added the concept of “jihad” as part of Islamic law in books, Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz said on July 18, causing major controversy.

      “Jihad is an element in our religion; it is in our religion… The duty of the Education Ministry is to teach every concept deservedly, in a correct way. It is also our job to correct things that are wrongly perceived, seen or taught,” Yılmaz had announced at a press meeting in the Turkish capital Ankara.

      Çamlı praised the ministry for including “jihad” in the curriculum.

      “Our ministry made a very on-point decision. If prayers are the pillars of the religion, jihad is the tent. Without the pillars the tent is useless. There’s no use in teaching mathematics to a child who doesn’t know jihad,” Çamlı also said.