Earlier this week I happened to catch an interview with CNN’s foreign policy correspondent reporting from inside Iraq. In response to the question “why Mosul,” in regards to why US soldiers are currently fighting for this city, the reporter went on to explain that the city has become the de facto capital of the Islamic State in the country and how the city is currently home to some +750,000 residents.
However, while this information is indeed accurate and seemed to suffice for the purposes of his breif television interview, it did not address any of the issues at the very heart of this conflict.
On January 20th 2017, Alternative Medi4 reported how the Islamic State had just recaptured the city of Palmyra in Syria, after losing control of the city to Russian forces earlier that year. If you are a student of history you might know that Palmyra is home to some of the worlds oldest archeological ruins and is considered a protected UNESCO world heritage site. By the same token, Mosul is also home to several world heritage sites belonging Christian, Jewish and ancient Assyrian (Pagan) religions.
I bring this up not to provide you with a history lesson, but the help you understand that the Islamic State has not chosen any of these cities by accident. The Islamic State has ‘set up shop’ and is fighting for these very cities because of their ancient, historical and religious significance.
It just so happens that, interpreting religious scripture literally, Mosul (Nineveh) will fall and eventually play host to an “end times” battle. More specifically, Mosul will be the home to the first major battle of the end times and will usher in the last years of humanity.
While there has been a lot of bull $hit in regards to the “end times” or “the end of days” in movies and/or popular media recently, the Islamic State is the real deal – they literally believe it is their duty to manifest the end times as it is described within religious scripture. Consequentially, this is exactly why so many people/countries are currently battling back against the Islamic State and their extremist brand of ideology.
The War against ISIS is not being fought because people believe the end times are real like ISIS does, but because these countries want to prevent any more people from actually believing that it is real. After-all, when you don’t believe there is a future, what do you care about investing in it or improving anything about the world as it exists right now? For obvious reasons, it is just a completely destructive way of viewing the world.
— Sami (@Paradoxy13) October 16, 2016
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) October 16, 2016
It is important to understand that the Islamic State does not simply believe that once the battle for Mosul has concluded that the world is done for and all is over, again, they believe the battle for Mosul is just the beginning of a very long conflict ultimately resulting in what will become the end of the world.
Now that you understand what the Islamic State is actually fighting for in Mosul and why, I want to discuss how important it is to handle this situation and the fallout to come from it with the upmost concern/delicacy/priority.
As mentioned in the lead to this article, there are currently 750,000 innocent civilians living in and/or trapped inside Mosul. To put some perspective on this, according to US intelligence estimates, there are roughly 5,000 Islamic State soldiers stationed inside Mosul at the same time. Additionally, as reported by the United Nations, outside of the current battle for the city, Mosul is also home to one of the world worst humanitarian crisis’s – with nearly 90% of the population currently lacking access to clean drinking water.
As it currently stands the Battle for Mosul has already lasted much longer than US led coalition forces first estimated it would and according to estimates from Iraqi leadership, it is going to take at least 3 more months to fully liberate the city – perhaps even longer.
What I want to point out next is the fact that if random members of the Western media are aware that that the Islamic State is trying to manifest a religious end times battle, you can bet that nearly all the 750,000 citizens living inside Mosul are also well aware of this fact. I am not sure if you have read about the end times before, but it speaks about a pretty dark and horrific place filled with death, violence, strife and struggle. Kind of sounds like any War zone right? Say Mosul right now?
For example, if you were to envision what a theoretical image from the middle of the apocalypse might actually look like, would it look a lot like this image taken from inside the heart of Mosul just 2 days ago?
— Aris Messinis (@ArisMessinis) March 2, 2017
What worries me is that by engaging the Islamic State so heavily in Mosul, we are incidentally creating an environment for people to actually start believing they might be living inside some sort of apocalypse. Moreover, the longer it takes, the more destruction we cause and the more suffering that results, the more people might actually start to believe all of this. Ironically, in an attempt to rid the world of the Islamic State, we are creating the ingredients to perhaps prove them right – at least in the short term.
US and Iraqi forces could turn 5,000 Islamic State soldiers in Mosul to a couple hundred thousand recruits very quickly/easily if this situation is not resolved immediately or handled with great care once it does conclude.
It is paramount that US and Iraqi forces do not simply liberate Mosul from Islamic State control and then walk away. Unlike what we have done since 2003, the US must help rebuild Mosul and give all the residents there a much better quality of life than they had before we engaged in this battle. Only by positively investing in the betterment of humanity/society can you defeat a group of people whom have actually come to believe they are living in the end times after decades of War and tragedy have been brought upon them.
There would be no better way to prove the Islamic State right and boost their recruiting than to bring this War to Mosul, create a tremendous humanitarian crisis in its wake and then ignore the city/situation once its over.