After Trump Massacres in Mosul, Campaign against ISIL Halted

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Candidate Donald Trump called last year for carpet-bombing of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) in Iraq and Syria. It is possible that Trump has loosened the rules of engagement for the US Air Force, which is providing air support to the Iraqi Army. Looser rules could well be producing more casualties.

This allegation is supported by an NYT piece today that quotes and Iraqi officer to this effect:

Dubai’s al-Khaleej reports that after a US airstrike on West Mosul on Thursday that is alleged to have killed over 200 innocent civilians, the Iraqi Army has paused its campaign to take the rest of the Western part of the city. That is, Trump may actually have hamstrung the anti-Daesh fight by policies that led to a civilian massacre from the air.

The Iraqi Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that an Iraqi civilian defense force is reporting that 500 corpses of civilians killed by air strikes have been discovered in Mosul.

Old Mosul is densely populated and it is possible that Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) still has some 300,000 people there under its sway. The Iraqi army and the US-coalition are attempting to dislodge Daesh, but never called for a civilian exodus. Hence, civilians are caught in the crossfire.

The US military admitted to carrying out the deadly strike, but were careful to underline that it had been called for by the Iraqi Army. Trump’s war strategy seems to be so unsuccessful that the US Air Force is trying to pass the blame for it off onto the Iraqi Army!

The Mosul judicial council has called for declaring Mosul a disaster zone. The judges added,

“The indiscriminate strikes on West Mosul by the fighter jets of the coalition must cease.”

They called for a review of military planning for Mosul. They noted that they had been calling since Thursday for civil defense units to help with saving civilians. The coalition planes had been trying to hit three houses used by Daesh.


Related video:

The National: “In Mosul, steaming ahead could imperil civilian lives”

18 Responses

  1. This kind of warfare cultivates a deadening level of casualness. Mediapart had a man in Mosul on March 14 and he filed a detailed report of 26 deaths, mostly members of a family sheltering in their home in the Mahatta quarter of Mosul. Apparently Daesh had installed a man on the roof with a heavy PKC machine gun which was holding up a squad of the 2nd Division of the Iraqi Special Forces. The Iraqis tried to dislodge him but he drove them away. They then called a strike and a F16 bomber appeared followed by two immense explosions. That house was destroyed and the neighbouring one left just a hole. Survivors were evacuated by the Iraqi forces. There’s no time to bury his dead they were told by a colonel, Omar Ali. “My men are only 600 meters from the Al-Nuri mosque, where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself a Caliph!”. The colonel martèle cette distance comme un mantra. The following day they returned and found seven more dead, including a small girl, with two broken legs and a badly wounded head, crying for her mother.

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  2. A few months ago, pictures were broadcast around the world of the bombing victims of Aleppo but victims of Western bombing always remain as unnamed and faceless statistics.

  3. This is reprehensible, to say the least. The US and it ‘s allies keep making these “mistakes” and the results are always that hundreds of innocent civilians are killed, at funerals, weddings, homes, market places, anywhere people congregate, and there is always some feeble excuse that is not acceptable. Americans have to stop wondering why we are hated, and realize that these massacres could be the tool that extremists use, to recruit and retaliate. Millions of Muslims killed, millions injured, and millions homeless, results in anger, and no one can fault these people for feeling anger after seeing their families being wiped out, maimed and suffering. These are the reasons why we keep making enemies, our own stupid policies and actions. We should stop interfering in other nations, and stop bombing innocent civilians. If these were white Christian, we would not be bombing so carelessly, and besides, we seem to be only bombing Muslims nations non stop. People whine that Americans are targets of terrorism, but what are we doing to bring it upon ourselves?

    • You are so right. Again and again, in an almost Newtonion Third Law manner, US actions result in a contrary reaction. The Brexit vote might very well have gone the other way but for Obama’s arrogant threat to put the UK at the back of the queue for trade negotion. in Russian demonstrations on Sunday Alexei Navalny the opposition leader was arrested and the US government has called for his immediate release. Putin has a high popularity rating, not only in Russia, and such interference in Russian political life only hardens anti-American attitudes, making it more likely he will be re-elected next year

    • That’s a valid position, but it also has to be taken into account that without these air strikes Iraqi ground forces would face even greater difficulty taking back these areas.

  4. It is remarkable that the “Syrian regime” was often blamed for all the atrocities that occurred in Syria, while in Iraq it is always the ISIS which uses people as human shields that results in casualties. According to New York Times, US officials admit that scores [not hundreds] had been killed as the result of recent strikes, “But the deaths occurred a few days after the strikes, they said, when a targeted building fell. They are trying to determine whether the collapse was caused by the strikes — or perhaps by an ISIS bomb.” Quite remarkable!
    There was very little reporting of the casualties in the British press and even when there was they referred to “dozens of casualties”. We should have the moral courage to condemn both atrocities equally and, above all, to try to put an end to the senseless carnage in both countries.

  5. In between falling bombs, suiciders and their various explosives. al qaeda and their oscar winning performances all massacres in Mosul are daesh’s massacres. Trump’s and our shameless war crimes are Yemen.

  6. Outstanding! Excellent tactical and strategic approach, Donald. Get General Ripper on the phone while you’re at it. Yeah, what a great military thinker. You’re just a regular Clausewitz.

  7. Aleppo = wanton murder of civilians ans destruction of schools and hospitals.

    Mosul – liberation

  8. Why are we always asking the wrong question (about unforeseen casualties and by whom) ? Should we not ask why ISIS was able to take ALL of Mosul in 6 hours in June ’14 and our coalition has not been able to do that in 6 months ?

  9. prof cole, the ny times insists that the generals insist that the current rules of engagement were instituted before trump took office. obama bombed a lot of stuff in iraq since 2014. you cheered it on. obama offered no plan for the aftermath, you cheered it on. now trump continues those very same policies and suddenly you call it “massacres”.

    the thing you need to understand is that it is bad policy either way. evil in fact.

    “moderate” that!

  10. “called for by the Iraqi Army. Trump’s war strategy seems to be so unsuccessful that the US Air Force is trying to pass the blame for it off onto the Iraqi Army!”

    The strategy in Mosul is an IMoD, IMoI, CTS strategy assisted by international partners. The air strikes appear to have been requested by IMoD.

    Is there any evidence that coalition air strike ROE are more lax than IqAF (Iraqi Air Force) ROEs?

    The ISF have suffered extraordinary casualties inside Mosul. Why don’t they have a right to CAS?

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