The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

When the terrorists treat you better than the government

How ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant) appears to be acting in Mosul, after taking it from the Iraqi government.

Many facebook statuses and tweets then started documenting Mosul post-capture, in a surprising twist to usual media narratives on ISIS’s politics in sieged cities. Reports that only army vehicles and headquarters were burnt and destroyed, but barricades that once adorned every street were removed, and for the first time as one facebook user claims “ I managed to drive freely in my city”. Other residents also claimed that the armed groups were helping young men patrol and protect their neighbourhoods from any possible looting, and were active in protecting banks, abandoned homes and roads.

Interesting testimonials from several residents in Mosul which clash with the main narrative circulated in Media that the city is in fact in more danger than it used to be. Several political analysts on Iraqi non-governmental TV channels claimed that this ‘dignified treatment of civilians’ is something they are pleasantly surprised with and also prefer to what they described as a continuous dehumanisation and humiliation of the Iraqi Army in checkpoints around the city. This could be very much understood as sectarian bias against the army,  but it also serves as an indication that the armed-groups are indeed not targeting civilians in the city (yet).

When people prefer ISIS to you, you might be doing something wrong.



I guess the Tea Party isn’t finished


The West Should Just Stop Intervening


  1. someofparts

    “When people prefer ISIS to you, you might be doing something wrong.”

    When you push the benchmark for civilized behavior as low as we keep pushing it, this can happen.

    Also, when the working saps of our own nation see other people fight our lizard overlords and wonder what kind of slackers we are for not doing likewise – the overlords may be doing something wrong.

  2. Gee

    I do get your point, and the whole thing is a giant clustercuss that the US was doomed to create having stupidly invaded post 9-11 with no possible exit strategy that wouldnt make this kind of thing inevitable. Nevertheless, if supposedly 500k have fled the city out of 2 mil, it can’t be too wonderful there.

  3. jonst

    If I had to guess, I would guess that the ISIS forces are too small to accomplish this, and other things they have done in the last few days, without the cooperation, active cooperation, of the people living in the towns taken. i.e. the Sunnis. The Iraqi ‘military’ that was routed must have been seen as an occupying army. This might explain of the social media posts on recent events.

    My guess, anyway.

  4. Shoes4Industry

    Hearts and minds…

  5. So the 500,000 fleeing Mosul is a lie then? If not, why would they flee if these ISIS Altar Boys are just there to help serve Holy Communion?

    Social Media can be, and often is, deceiving. I’ll wait for further information. I never pay attention to tweets regardless of who’s tweeting.

    I will say this. Those who rightfully opposed the Iraq invasion and occupation but later harangued for a hasty withdrawal regardless of consequences have egg on their face and have no business pointing fingers now unless they’re prepared to point it at themselves as well.

    I said at the time of withdrawal, “We’ll Be Back.” It looks like sooner than I thought. I was laughed at by everyone when I said it. Who’s laughing now?

    Since Russia and China have increasingly been the recipients of the spoils of Iraq, I think they’re the ones who should set it straight. This, I would love to see. America can sit this one out and let Lord Putin and his friend Emperor Xi Jinping work their new-found imperial magic. Pass the popcorn.

  6. bob mcmanus

    Juan Cole is pretty decent.

    Think closely on the second map, with Hezbollah and Alawite Syria separated by Salafi-land.
    There for one thing is the path for the pipeline straight up thru Turkey. Also, Assad and Hezbollah might not survive that separation.

    Slate says DC is oddly unconcerned. Bullshit. The Sauds are so fucking good, and the replacement for Bandar Bush came up with a terrific strategy. Go East.

    Nobody gives a damn about Maliki and “Iraq”. Except Iran and Syria. Could the goal be to get Iran to send a few divisions into Basra and Baghdad?

    Then…endgame on.

  7. bob mcmanus

    Thing is, imagine showing Cole’s 2nd map to PNAC around 1995. Whatyathink, they’d all cry, “Oh Dear God No!” That, give or take an oil well, give or take a couple years, is the PNAC optimal outcome.

    So ya think they got their optimal outcome by incompetence stupidity hubris insanity?

    Rule One:They are much smarter than you.
    Rule Two: They lie all the time, especially about their plans and mistakes and failures.
    Rule Three: The only way to figure them out is to stop listening and watch what happens on the ground.

  8. Ian Welsh

    Why go back? What good is it that you think the US will do there?

    This gets won by the people on the ground. Every time you interfere you make it worse.

    Supporting the anti Ba’ath insurgents in Syria was stupid, and caused this. Stop thinking you can fix this, and just stay the fuck out of it. The Shia militias and the Peshmerga will fight, and they stand a good chance of winning. If necessary, Iran, who has actually interests, will intervene and they will be able to keep the peace.

  9. amspirnational

    Cold Imperialist Holefield says

    “I will say this. Those who rightfully opposed the Iraq invasion and occupation but later harangued for a hasty withdrawal regardless of consequences have egg on their face and have no business pointing fingers now unless they’re prepared to point it at themselves as well.”

    No, they don’t have egg on their faces unless they predicted increasing stability.
    But you are in worse shape, exposing yourself again as either ignorant or yet another apologist for American Empire.
    The fact is, Obama pressured Maliki to agree to a SOFA. He wanted to violate his own campaign promise and Bush’s agreed departure date (which should have been circa 2004 or earlier.)

    The Iraqi majority also wanted this, that is US troops OUT.
    Either you are ignorant to essential history or are saying, as an imperialist, the occupied’s wishes don’t matter.

  10. Ian Welsh

    Both the refugees fleeing and many people being happy are true: it’s not a binary.

  11. Ian Welsh

    They’re not so smart as all that, we’ll see how this plays out. ISIS was able to take out the army, but the Shi’a militias and the peshmerga are an entirely different matter. Let alone Iran. This is a desperation play, done because ISIS is losing in Syria.

  12. amspirnational

    Here’s commentary from a consistent anti-interventionist on the Right, a good method of hinting at the ill manners not to mention ill-considered nature of Cold’s pathological laughter.

  13. bob mcmanus

    This is a desperation play, done because ISIS is losing in Syria.

    According to Cole, Assad had pretty much left ISIL and the NE alone.

    So who is going to take back Mosul? Assad? Peshmerga?

    Maybe, maybe Maliki with US airstrikes and a whole of Iranian help. But probably not.

    Iran? Jesus exactly what do you think the Evil Empire will do if Iran sent divisions through and to the center of Iraq toward Turkey? There is a slight chance, if as expected, ISIL goes all desecrating Shia shrines in Samarra. Not our fault.

    Turkey has its own problems.

    The likeliest outcome is that the Saudis and Gulf States send money and fighters North, Sunniland stays chaotic for a while, and some “moderate Sunni/Syrian general” establish a new state with US and Global backing, creating some kind of Sunni hegemony from Yemen to the Black Sea. Then mops ups its periphery. We may not be directly needed. The oilarchies have gotten good at this.

    Would Iran stand for it? I doubt they have a choice.

  14. I need to to thank you for this wonderful read!! I certainly loved every bit
    of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post…

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén