US-backed Iraqi forces carry out “annihilation tactics” in Mosul
30 May 2017
Secretary of Defense James Mattis has again declared, during a lengthy interview with CBS News on Sunday, that the US-led campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has shifted from “attrition tactics” to “annihilation tactics.”
Mattis implied these “tactics” included the extra-judicial execution of wounded or captured people suspected of being ISIS militants—a flagrant war crime under international law. The former marine general, who directed the murderous US military assaults against Iraqi insurgents in the city of Fallujah in 2004, told CBS: “Our intention is that the foreign fighters do not survive to return home to North Africa, to Europe, to America, to Asia, to Africa. We’re not going to allow them to do so.”
The current focus of the US-directed war on ISIS is the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which once had a population of over 1.6 million. After months of relentless air strikes and bloody street-to-street fighting, the Iraqi government claims that the remaining ISIS fighters are trapped in the compact and densely-populated suburbs of Mosul’s west, known as the “Old City.” What is left of the ISIS leadership is believed to be holed up in the 900-year old Great Mosque of al-Nuri, where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a “caliphate” three years ago.
In October 2016, a massive force of Iraqi troops, Kurdish peshmerga militias and Shiite militias began the offensive to retake Mosul. The assault has been supported from the air by jet fighter-bombers and helicopter gunships provided by the US, Australia, Britain, Canada and France. Iraqi ground forces are being accompanied into battle by special forces personnel…