By Anwar Khan

What is the moral difference–if any– between the intentional shooting at fleeing civilians and using them as human shields on the one hand, and the flattening of entire neighborhoods, killing hundreds of innocent civilians, on the pretext of the presence of enemy fighters there-in, on the other? The answer is that there is no moral difference. Both are high crimes under any book, and it is being perpetrated on the people of Mosul as we speak. The first is done by ISIS– the Frankenstein that crept out of the Empire’s Research and Development labs, with the sole aim of destroying Muslim societies, disparaging the name of Islam, and advancing the march towards Full Spectrum Dominance— and the second is perpetrated by the Empire’s military might in broad day light, on the pretext of annihilating the very monster that it created. In between a most vicious massacre of innocent people is being perpetrated, with an almost complete media blackout.

(Side Note: Not that the knowledge of such crimes would bother much the moral nerves of the western world, who have come to accept scenes of dead Muslims as a phenomenon as normal as cloud formation. Between slavish work to pay for what they call life, celebrity worship, and the collective immolation of the soul that takes place in the dark temples we call cinemas— mirroring very much the darkness that encompasses the modern conscience—one wonders if idle time could be spared to show moral revulsion to such crimes. Yes, candles are lit and tears shed to the unfortunate victims at home, but the Muslim lands are simply too far, too unknown, and too “other” to cause any discomfort of the conscience)

While the Syrian and Russian offensive to retake Aleppo from the terrorists saw much crocodile tears from the Empire’s media, the Mosul offensive or Inherent Resolve—where Coalition air strikes have turned the city into a heap of rubble hiding a virtual urban graveyard inside its belly— is not even mentioned in passing. The amount of suffering that the people of Mosul have faced since the operation began is difficult to compare to anything in our times, including the Syrian war theatre which is as cruel as modern warfare can be. The scenes from Mosul Jadida(New Mosul) area are reminiscent of Dresden during the Second World War.

The Guardian reported Chris Woods, the director of monitoring group Airwars, to have said: “The Jadida incident alone is the worst toll of a single [airstrike] incident that I can recall in decades. The coalition’s argument that it doesn’t target noncombatants risks being devalued when so many civilians are being killed in west Mosul.” He is referring to a coalition airstrike that killed over 200 civilians mostly children, women and elderly seeking shelter in a building. The mounting human suffering and infrastructural destruction is of such a scale that the Iraqi Army, conducting the ground offensive, had to call off its advance fearing that the operation has slid into a catastrophe, thanks to the coalition’s Make America Great Again strategy.

(Side Note: You wonder where is Hollywood and George Clooney and their crocodile tears which they shed incessantly for the people of Sudan– who we were told were going through a “genocide”– eventually leading to imperial intervention and creation of South Sudan. How courageous of these celebrities to root for imperial causes and then hide in their holes when true courage is needed?)

Those who still harbor any doubts about the Empire being beyond redemption and salvation need to see its conduct in Mosul to realize how utterly indifferent it is to human suffering, or even to public opinion, which was of some concern, purely for PR reasons, not too long ago. But when the imperial hubris has reached such proportions that it cannot be even bothered to explain why shelters housing children and women are blown into oblivion for the sake of one ISIS fighter, you surely have entered what I call the Curse Stage, a particular stage in the stagnation of empires when there is not even a veneer of moral pretense behind its conduct. It is the homestretch of the unraveling. It cannot possibly be reversed.

“Once the Heavens cast the dice of fate, it shall not be reversed, even when a million supplication intersect its path”. Hafiz Shirazi

What is also there to be witnessed is that the same western world that always held Russia to be morally inferior to the ideals of the Enlightenment, part of “the primitive and cruel East”, have fared infinitely more inhumane and cruel in its conduct of warfare under very similar circumstances. The Russian method displayed in the Aleppo offensive was one that regarded avoidance of civilian suffering as the driving factor in its formation. Humanitarian corridors were formed with aid and shelter also being provided in some areas. It took months of meticulous planning and coordination with local partners, and even with the rebels to guarantee their and their families’ safe passage. It was a diplomatic and humanitarian master class of an act. Carpet-bombing of Aleppo would have been a rather easier choice. But the “primitive and cruel” Easterner had a soul after all.

The Coalition on the other hand, forbade the creation of any human corridors which would have allowed many inhabitants to leave the city. This was proposed by the Iraqi government but refused by the Coalition. Their rationale to the Iraqi government was that “they feared ISIS will trickle out of the city with the civilians”. They were told to have faith in the Coalition’s “precision strikes”. To the media they would say “well its ISIS that is not allowing civilians to leave, not us”, which actually is not entirely true. The fact is that they wanted to send a clear message to the world with the new administration’s military strategy in the Muslim lands, featuring Trump as Krishna: Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. 

This article can go in many directions. I can begin with how Mosul fell in ISIS hands to begin with; the conduct of ISIS terrorists of systematic terror to “reform” its citizens; the role of Turkish, Gulf states and the Kurdish intelligence agencies with ISIS during its four year occupation (yes, even the “anti-ISIS” Kurdish leaders like Jalal Talabani and Masoud Barzani had intimate relationship with ISIS and often allowed them safe passages to conduct its operations. The ultimate Kurdish goal was to annex Mosul to Barzani and Talabani’s fiefdoms when the conditions were ripe). But today I have one concern only and that is the plight of the innocent civilians and the dead children under the rubble.

I am embedding a video here (with my edits and translation) that my Iraqi friends (whose families are still trapped in Mosul) sent me to watch, and help spread the word on the unspoken suffering that the people of Mosul have to persevere. I promised them to do my part, knowing well the fate of such writings when it meets the dead conscience of the modern media consumer. God forbid that the comrades here on this site have such a disposition. But the fact remains that in our times, no matter how deeply shocking an event comes to our knowledge, it does not stay long enough deep inside our conscience to bother the usual trajectory of our lives (this happens even to the most soft-hearted amongst us) But it has to be said nonetheless, whether it finds the desired place or not. That’s the least we owe to the dead children under the rubble–their little bodies still warm from the not too long ago association with life.

The Prophet of Islam is reported to have said “whosoever see an evil, let him stop it with his hand; if he is not able, then with his tongue, and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart— and that is the least of faith.” (The masculine pronoun is inclusive of the feminine, lest the more gender-sensitive raise an issue with that). I am doing the least of what the faith and humanity requires.

The video shows a government official inspecting the part of Mosul most affected by the coalition airstrikes, and gathering first-hand information on the nature of the offensive and plight of the people. Please do watch the entirety of it. I will leave you with one quote from her that sums up the Mosul offensive:

After meeting many people and hearing the reports from all sides, it has become abundantly clear to me, and I can swear to God on this, that there are no more than 6 or 5 ISIS fighters in the entire New Mosul area and they walk around freely in open streets and amazingly they are not targeted. Yet what is targeted are entire neighborhoods and houses containing shelter seeking civilians. And all this on the pretext of targeting these ISIS fighters. It is very clear that the idea is to just destroy Mosul and nothing else”. Basma Basem, President of Mosul Judiciary Council.

{From God we come and to Him shall we return}–Common Muslim statement on hearing the news of death.

Post Script: Since this article, which was first written on March 20th, there finally has been some media coverage. RT has been especially active and credit should go to them. But the scale of suffering is still far from being portrayed accurately.

Also, the subtitles could have been more viewer friendly, alas, that’s the extent of my video editing skills.

The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world