"Operation Peace" in Sadr City in Baghdad is and will continue to be spun by
the Nuri al-Maliki government - and by America corporate media - as a
resounding "success" in controlling Iraqi militias, in this case the Mahdi Army
of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
Meanwhile, under the global radar, an invisible war in Mosul drags on,
officially against al-Qaeda in Iraq jihadis but in fact a barely disguised
anti-Sunni mini-pogrom conducted by - what else? - government-embedded
No one has asked the million-dollar-question: How come
multicultural Mosul - a non-Kurdish city - is now being ruled by deputy
governor Khoso Goran, a Kurd?
Round up all Sunni suspects
It all started in January, when Maliki - and Washington - started spinning the
Ninevah province offensive, centered in Mosul, as "the last battle" against
al-Qaeda in Iraq. The notion that "al-Qaeda" - or Salafi-jihadis in general -
could be in control of Mosul, a city of 1.7 million people, was absolutely
ludicrous in the first place. In late 2007, a smatter of jihadis did retreat to
Mosul from Anbar and Diyala provinces and south Baghdad. But they have never
been able even to control a full Mosul neighborhood.
During Maliki's offensive the city - in many ways reduced to a ghost town -
became even more dangerous than before. Goran himself told The Independent's
Patrick Cockburn that 90 people were killed in Mosul in September 2007,
compared to 213 in March 2008; and the number of roadside bombs rose from 175
Meanwhile, Maliki's forces have arrested 1,100 people since January, including
scores of former Ba'athist and Saddam Hussein-era military officers, something
that aroused serious anger from the Mosul power elite. None of these were
"al-Qaeda"; they were, in fact, part of the Sunni Arab resistance.
Confirming this fact is a statement released by the so-called "Resistance
Council" denouncing the real reason for the Mosul operation: a sort of coup by
what is dubbed the "council of five" - the five hegemonic political parties in
Baghdad (the two Kurdish parties, the Da'wa Party, the Supreme Iraqi Islamic
Council and the Islamic Party) to totally dominate the coming Iraqi provincial
elections. (The elections have been postponed from October to November,
depriving the John McCain Republican campaign in the US from any "positive"
Even a dubious Mosul sheikh, Fawaz al-Jarba, who's been in favor of creating an
Awakening Council in the city, has admitted that al-Qaeda in Iraqi jihadis had
left the city months ago. Scores of Sunni Arab media not only in Iraq but also
in Jordan have stressed this is nothing but a concerted Maliki campaign
targeting (Sunni Arab) Iraqi nationalists.
Hold your water
The whole scheme got even more suspicious when the Pentagon started spinning
that violence in Mosul is down by 85%. No wonder; this is an operation against
a guerrilla army, and guerrillas - the "fish", according to Mao Zedong -
historically melt down "in the sea" (local population) when under attack. On
top of it, the Maliki government has just hired as many as 5,000 former
Ba'athists into the Iraqi army. Thus the strong possibility of sectors of the
Sunni Arab resistance being bribed for not fighting - at least for a while.
This falls completely in line with the favorite counterinsurgency methods of
the US's supremo in Iraq, General David Petraeus, of buying off opponents.
Among its methodology, the Mosul operation also has not failed to deploy
collective punishment techniques - like depriving large swathes of the city of
water. Tribal chiefs had to plead to Mosul governor Duraid Kashmoula, according
to the Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad: "The Council of Arab tribes in Mosul
reported that the government cut off water supplies from the right side of the
city for two days as part of a collective punishment policy against Arabs who
refused to deny their pan-Arabism, and reject the campaign of 'Kurdishization'
of the city."
This tribal council also denounced the involvement of Badr militias and Kurdish
Peshmerga militias - all under the cloak of "official" Baghdad government
forces - in the whole operation.
Osama al-Najfi - a Mosul member of the parliament in Baghdad - swore that
Peshmergas were forcing people to sign letters saying their property was tied
up in a Kurdish-dominated area. On the other hand, Peshmerga General Yabbar
Yawar strongly denied there were any Peshmergas in Mosul. But his justification
has nothing to do with the sectarian reality on the ground in Iraq. He said
there are Kurds in the Iraqi army, but they respond only to the Ministry of
Defense in Baghdad. That's not how it works; every single "official" body in
Iraq is militia-ridden.
Mosul may now look like filthy, blast-wall, under-siege Baghdad - with vast
neighborhoods no more than ghost towns. Just so the point is made: for the
Pentagon and dubious US client Maliki, any Iraqi nationalist, Sunni (in this
case) or Shi'ite (the Sadrists) is nothing else than "al-Qaeda".