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The ‘Great Battle of Mosul’: How Hillary Clinton may be denied her ‘October Surprise’

Reports of a purge in Mosul suggest ISIS intends to defend the city in which Hillary Clinton may be denied her ‘October Surprise’.

Alexander Mercouris

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Whilst the ‘Great Battle of Aleppo’ in Syria grinds towards the inevitable government victory, attention is shifting the ‘Great Battle of Mosul’ in Iraq, which is about to begin.

As Joe Lauria has previously written for The Duran, the time of the attack on Mosul seems to have been largely dictated by the US electoral calendar, with the liberation of Mosul timed to help Hillary Clinton’s prospects of winning the election in November.

This begs the question of whether there will be a battle of Mosul at all.  When Joe Lauria wrote his piece for The Duran on 1st October 2016 all the indications were that there wouldn’t be, and that ISIS was preparing to leave the city.

That may still be what is going on to happen.  However there are reports of infighting within ISIS, with what appear to be well-sourced reports of the brutal execution of 58 ISIS leaders who were preparing to surrender the city.

If there are some within the ISIS leadership who are resisting proposals to surrender Mosul, it is not difficult to see why.

Mosul with its 2 million people is not only by far the biggest city under ISIS control.  It is also one of the great historic cities of the Arab and Muslim world.  It was its capture in 2014 that made it possible for ISIS to declare its Caliphate.  Loss of Mosul would be a tremendous psychological blow, and would call into question not just the viability of the Caliphate but ISIS’s right to declare it in the first place.

One ISIS leader who would almost certainly oppose the surrender of the city is ISIS’s titular leader, the man known internationally as Ibrahim Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, but who now claims to be “the Caliph Ibrahim”. 

Given the pretensions of this title and the way it is bound up with the seizure of Mosul, it is difficult to see how Al-Baghdadi’s prestige or his authority could survive if the city were lost.  Quite possibly his very life would be at risk as he faced the anger and disillusion of his followers.

It would not therefore be surprising if Al-Baghdadi not only opposes the surrender of Mosul, but has acted ruthlessly against those who have suggested it. That would explain the reports of the purge.

The fact that there has been a purge in Mosul suggests that for the moment it is Al-Baghdadi’s views which are prevailing.  It also shows that despite ISIS’s multiplying defeats and problems, and Al-Baghdadi’s reported absence in far away Raqqah, his authority is still accepted in Mosul by the ISIS fighters there.

If this is correct then the plan for the unopposed recapture of Mosul has at least for the moment gone awry.  However in such a complex situation nothing is ever certain, and it cannot be definitely said that it will not happen.  The fact that a purge has taken place in Mosul shows that the idea of surrendering Mosul is in the air, forcing Al-Baghdadi to take violent measures in order to scotch it.  It is not impossible that as ISIS’s position in the city becomes hopeless the idea may be revived again.

Assuming Al-Baghdadi’s authority continues to prevail and the city is defended, what are the prospects for its liberation?

There is uncertainty about the precise number of ISIS fighters in the city, with most guesses putting the number between 4,000 to 10,000.  Regardless they are clearly heavily outnumbered by the 40,000 or so Iraqi and allied troops assembling to retake the city. 

The ISIS fighters do not seem to have the heavy weapons and the unending stream of supplies the Jihadis in Aleppo were getting before they got trapped.  Though no more than an impression, the ISIS fighters also do not seem to have the discipline and toughness of the Jabhat Al-Nusra fighters who have been fighting the Syrian army in Aleppo and western Syria continuously for the last 5 years.

Against that the military force being assembled to retake Mosul has a ramshackle look. 

The Iraqi army lacks the battle experience of the Syrian Arab Army, having been hurriedly cobbled together since its ignominious collapse in 2014.   Reports say it remains beset with problems of indiscipline, corruption and low morale.  There must be a question mark over its fitness to take on ISIS following the debacle it suffered in the same area just two years ago.

As is the case with the Syrian army in Aleppo, the Iraqi army is backed by a variety of militias including various Shia militias, a locally recruited Sunni militia (whose reliability is open to doubt) and the Kurdish militia known as the Peshmerga. 

Probably the most effective of these militias is the Kurdish militia, which because of factional differences has however been ordered by the Iraqi government to play no part in the fighting inside the city.

Of the other militias, some of the Shia militias have a reputation as tough and determined fighters.  However none of these militias can compare with Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia militia fighting alongside the Syrian army in Aleppo, which fought the Israeli army to a standstill in Lebanon in 2006.

Lastly, there are said to be some French Special Forces with the Iraqi troops near Mosul, just as there are Russian Special Forces with the Syrian troops in Aleppo.  These French troops are of course the best trained and equipped troops in the whole theatre.  However as with the Russian Special Forces in Aleppo their numbers must be few.

If the quality of the forces on either side in the battle for Mosul probably does not match that of the forces fighting in Aleppo, the geography of the two battles is also completely different.

The Jihadi fighters never succeeded in capturing the greater part of Aleppo, which always remained under the control of the Syrian government.  By contrast ISIS has managed to capture the whole of Mosul, and it controls it still. 

Not only is the area and the number of people that ISIS controls in Mosul far greater than that controlled by the Jihadis in Aleppo, but Mosul is not encircled as eastern Aleppo is, and unlike the Jihadis in eastern Aleppo, ISIS is not trapped.

Taken together all this suggests that if the ISIS fighters in Mosul put up a determined fight, then though the eventual liberation of Mosul is hardly in doubt, it may take longer than the 3 weeks left between now and the US election. 

In that case Hillary Clinton will be denied her ‘October Surprise’. 

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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