Cause and Effect of Mosul

Over the last several years the rogue pseudo-religious group known as ISIS has chosen Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, as their caliphate. This has made it hard for those combating terrorism across the world, those who have been effected by bombings and shootings in the name of this institution of terror. We have felt it in the United States with instances such as San Bernardino and Orlando burned into our recent memory, fanning the flames on civil unrest. While the War on Terror has been waged for the last 16 years, numerous terror organizations have evolved and transformed and just as quickly as leaders and capital cities fall they are replaced. Growing in numbers, strength and financial wealth, ISIS has been seen as a bigger threat now than ever before. The American people want answers and a solution in the near future, but see the lenient, “stay out of it” policies by the current administration. However, the Obama administration has led the attack front in bombing, conducting over 47,000 airstrikes in six different countries, closely following the Bush administration of eight years, who led nearly 70,000.

Mosul has been the target of those active in counter-terrorism worldwide in the past year. However, just recently a campaign to take back the city has ensued, through the forces of close to 30,000 members of the Iraqi army and other local militants, are looking to take back the caliphate from nearly 6000 ISIS radicals. The United States military is taking part in too, but only from the air and in leadership, as they continue airstrikes.

Meanwhile, the United Nations human rights staff has received accounts of the carnage committed by the Islamic State radicals, while Iraqi forces zero in on the city of Mosul. One case reports that three women and children were shot dead after being forced to trail militants from village to village. Another instance 15 villagers were shot and thrown into a river for the purpose of inciting terror. Despite these atrocities, United States Defense Secretary Ash Carter stated that the offensive was going as planned. The US-run has conducted 32 airstrikes since the beginning of the offensive a week ago, adding on to the Obama Administration’s total airstrike count.

Another US led opposition against terrorism in the Middle East is all too familiar in the news and will surely call for another regime change. It’s a vicious cycle that seems to be the only thing occurring in these countries for the past couple decades. Mosul was taken over by ISIS in 2014, so why are we just now mustering the troops to take it back? Western interests seem to dominate the lives of those caught in this conflict, but not just for tangible treasures like oil and alliance strength. It seems western culture has been waging a political war with our neighbors in the East, where the battle grounds are cities too weak to stand up to either force. Since the 1980’s, Russia has had their eye on strongholds in the Middle East, looking to break alliances and forge their own. Once again, we wage a cold war between two massive fighting powers, while the little guy is used to pronounce our power, form alliances and put boots on the ground.

It is hard to think of concepts like these when your belief lies in that your country can do now wrong, but being skeptical of choices made by those with no repercussions is easier than you may think. People being killed are not Middle Eastern, not Iraqi or Muslim, but humans. In understanding that core concept, it should be easy to understand what they are dealing with, how we can assist them in this troubling time and what parts we play in the atrocities committed a world away.

Jake DavisMosul, Middle East, Current