The Bloody ‘Liberation’ of Mosul

Official Washington deemed Syria’s defeat of jihadists occupying Aleppo a “war crime” but called the U.S.-backed defeat of ISIS in Mosul, Iraq, a “liberation,” yet it too killed civilians and destroyed an ancient city, reports Dennis J Bernstein.

By Dennis J Bernstein

The Iraqi and U.S. governments have declared Mosul as liberated from its ISIS occupiers. But author Vijay Prashad says it’s not so simple: the “liberation” included the slaughter of civilians by both sides and left large swaths of the ancient city — the second largest in Iraq — in rubble and ruins. And ISIS is still entrenched in other parts of the war torn country.

Soldiers fire an M109A6 Paladin from a tactical assembly area at Hamam al-Alil to support the start of the Iraqi security forces’ offensive in West Mosul, Iraq, Feb. 19, 2017. (Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jason Hull)

Prashad is a professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of some eighteen books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter, The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South, and The Death of the Nation and the Future of the Arab Revolution.

Dennis Bernstein: Well, Professor Prashad, the prime minister of Iraq calls it a liberation. How would you characterize what we’re seeing continuing to unfold in Mosul?

Vijay Prashad: It’s a complicated situation. The city of Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, a city with great history and character, has been under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The group took Mosul some two years ago. It has taken nine months of concerted fighting to remove the Islamic State group from Mosul. In that respect, of course, it is liberation from the Islamic State.

On the other hand, this war of nine months has been a war of very significant aerial bombardment and immense use of artillery fire. The US Air Force has pummeled the city, particularly Western Mosul, and destroyed large parts of it. There are a million refugees out of Mosul in 19 emergency camps that the United Nations is struggling to maintain. The city has been utterly destroyed. It is very unlikely that the million-plus people…

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