its time to stop blaming Russian-backed Syrian Government forces for atocracies in Aleppo, when US-backed Iraqi forces are indiscriminately killing civilians in the Battle for Mosul
Once a city is surrounded, the first thing you do is leaflet the forces inside that city and give them the opportunity to let the civilians go, and then surrender, that is ...
unless the plan is to inflict maximum casualties on both combatants and civilians.
the battle for Mosul and Aleppo are identical. In both cases, forces backed by the US and Russia are attacking well-populated cities, with the aid of air power. And, both Mosul and Aleppo are under the control of group, who have under their control a proportion of their population hostage.
The question for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is, what are Canadian troops doing advising Iraqi forces to commit acts of war that constitute crimes against humanity?
Neither the US nor Russia can claim the high moral ground in the Battle for Aleppo or Mosul
Eric LaMont Gregory
Conceptually, the available options for those forces encircling Mosul, and the ISIS fighters within the city can be understood by considering the dynamics of a wagon train circling the wagons, as depicted above.
In essence, once the wagon train has circled the wagons in a defensive posture, the battle for those within the circle is all but lost.
And, for the attacking force outside the circled wagons, it is now a waiting game, that is, it is just a matter of time until those within the circle run out of some necessity, such as food, water, ammunition or fighters, and the attacking force can then compel those inside the circle to surrender or simply slaughter them.
Those inside cannot survive unless they find an escape route, or are resupplied from the outside. Both possible outcomes, escape and being saved from the outside, are the perennial subject matters of dramatic books and films, as well as the records of historical events.
And, the records of historical events do point to a third alternative for those inside running out of some necessity, mass suicide.
And, it is not uncommon for those encircled and under siege to be besieged by, or rather infected by a siege mentality and factions form and they slaughter one another.
There is mounting evidence that ISIS, for all practical purposes trapped within Mosul, is in the grips of a siege mentality epidemic.
The evidence for that assessment includes verified reports of ISIS fighters, including foreign fighters, wishing to leave being summarily executed, ISIS members being brought to trial for various infractions such as theft and general insubordination, and the public display of the bodies of the executed. In the latest round of ISIS executions 40 bodies were hung from poles where they would be clearly visible to everyone, even the advancing Iraqi Security Forces.
Civilian causalities in Mosul, as in Aleppo, are reaching barbaric proportions.
Given the realities of the battlefield in the battle for Mosul, what is the best way forward for the Coalition Forces and ISIS?
Yes, an understanding of the choices and options facing ISIS, is as important to a proper resolution of the conflict and the outcome of the war, as it is for the coalition forces to understand their choices and options.
The city of Mosul is being encircled by a coalition composed of Iraqi Security Forces, Kurdish forces, Turkish Military Forces and Sunni, Shiite and Christian Militias, with US Forces and others proving intelligence and logistical support.
~ The Way Forward ~
the rule of law
Century upon century humankind has engaged in an often torturous attempt to establish rules to govern the conduct of the parties to war.
The process has been torturous, but not inconsequential. Although the development of the rules of war are not final in the sense of completed accomplishment, that is to say, the effort has not brought about the cornucopia of universal adherence, at the same time it has not been barren.
There are two fundamental considerations that have dominated the discussion to develop rules for the conduct of war. One concerns the protection of the population not engage in the conflict, that is, non-combatants (civilians).
And, the second is the realisation that there are some acts, the use of some tactics and weapons, like conflagration, the consequences of there use is so horrendous that they should never be employed by one side or the other in a conflict, and against populations not engaged in the conflict.
Contraventions of the proscribed act of attacking civilians and the use of conflagration as a weapon of war are thought to be crimes not just against those directly affected, but crimes which offend humankind as a whole, that is, crimes against our common humanity.
It is rather obvious, with the steady increase in the destructive power of the weapons of modern warfare that humankind has made more progress in relation to proscribing attacks against civilians, than in prohibiting conflagration.
Today, although not universally recognized, those engaged in conflict who attack civilians, or who hide among civilians or use civilians as shields to carry out their military operations, have committed crimes against humanity.
And it is upon this principle, the proscription against attacking or hiding amongst civilians to carry out military operations that provides the principal course to a resolution in the battle for Mosul, a city that is now encircled by Coalition Forces.