Tag Archives: ISIS

Mark Collins – Sublime Erdogan the Magnificent vs the Kurds (plus ISIS/Syria)

This murderous terrorism,

Istanbul bombing: Terror attack death toll rises to 38 including 30 police as officials accuse PKK
PKK blamed for attack which is the latest in an escalating scale of violence in the country

will only make this worse–at the NY Times:

As Turkey Cracks Down, Kurdish Mayors Pack Bags for Jail

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey — When Kurdish officials here in Diyarbakir, the biggest Kurdish city in the world, say they’ve been “unavoidably detained,” it is not just an excuse for lateness.

Even before I arrived, the co-mayors, Gultan Kisanak and Firat Anli, were jailed on terrorism charges that rights groups say are trumped up. Interviews in prison are not possible because, officially, foreign journalists are barred from the city.

Ahmet Turk, 74, a Kurd despite his name and the venerable mayor of another Kurdish city, Mardin, was out of jail at the moment. But his press officer, Enver Ete, said that it would be hard to arrange an interview: “We can’t give a time since so many people are getting arrested we can’t foresee what will happen.”

Kamuran Yuksek, a Kurdish politician, was on the phone with a reporter when he was detained briefly — just after being released from five months in prison.

I could not see Selahattin Demirtas, the leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, or H.D.P., the country’s third-largest, although he lives in Diyarbakir. He, too, was jailed, along with nine other H.D.P. members of Parliament, so I arranged to see his wife, Basak, instead.

She canceled, not because she was jailed, but perhaps because she worried she would be, and she had two small children at home.

Turkey’s crackdown on Kurdish politicians, officials, news outlets, schools, municipalities, think tanks and even charities has been so thoroughgoing that it has left those who remain free expecting arrest at any moment. “My bag is packed for prison,” said Feleknas Uca, an H.D.P. member of Parliament. “Everybody has a bag in their house for prison. Now, everyone can be arrested at any moment.”

The crackdown on Kurds is part of a broader assault by the government on Turkey’s democratic freedoms after a failed coup in July, even though hard-line Islamists, followers of the cleric Fethullah Gulen, who are rabidly anti-Kurdish and hardly democratic paragons themselves, are accused of the overthrow attempt…

The crackdown on democracy has been nationwide, but on the political front it has been concentrated in the mostly Kurdish southeast, though there is no evidence, or even a government accusation, that Kurdish parties, legal or illegal, had any role in the attempted coup.

But a peace process with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or P.K.K., broke down last year, and since then fighting has claimed 2,393 lives on all sides, including civilians, according to a tally by the International Crisis Group.

Mr. Erdogan’s government had been stunned in 2015 elections when the H.D.P. decimated the ruling Justice and Development Party, or A.K.P., in the east especially, winning six million votes, sending 80 candidates to Parliament, and becoming overnight a nationwide political force and the third-largest party. Critics accused Mr. Erdogan of deliberately rekindling violence in Kurdish areas to stir nationalist passions and reverse his flagging fortunes.

Since the coup attempt, the government has focused on jailing officials of the H.D.P. and its local sister parties, arresting at least 45 mayors of Kurdish towns beginning in late October. New arrests are coming practically every day. This year, 2,700 local Kurdish politicians affiliated with the H.D.P. have been jailed…

Kurds have borne the brunt of the crackdown, not just in politics but also in the news media and other areas. The publications and media organizations ordered closed by the government included nearly every Kurdish outlet, except for the government’s Kurdish television channel. Some Kurdish publications have begun publishing under other names…

Meanwhile the Kurdish complication vs ISIS in Syria:

U.S. to Send 200 More Troops to Syria in ISIS Fight

The military advance is complicated by the predominant role played by Kurdish militia members, who make up a majority of the 45,000 fighters and are the most effective American partner against the Islamic State in Syria. But the Kurdish militia fighters are viewed by Turkey — a pivotal American ally — as a terrorist threat.

Turkey regards the Syrian Kurdish fighters, known collectively as the Y.P.G., as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the Kurdish rebel group that has sought autonomy from Turkey since the 1980s. Ankara has demanded that the Y.P.G. not take part in the fight to retake Raqqa.

Turkish forces in recent months have swept across the border into Syria to attack Islamic State strongholds, an offensive the Pentagon has applauded [e.g. recently: “Turkish Troops, Syrian Rebels Attack Key Town Held by Islamic State”]. But the Turkish advance has also served to blunt the Kurdish fighters’ efforts to carve out a contiguous swath of territory inside Syria stretching to the Iraqi border.

As Turkish and Kurdish forces repeatedly clashed, American officials and commanders intervened to curtail the fighting. Washington desperately needs the two sides to focus on fighting the Islamic State in Raqqa, not each other.

To that end, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has met twice in the last month with his Turkish counterpart, Gen. Hulusi Akar, to consult on battle plans for Raqqa. American Special Operations troops were assigned to accompany Turkish troops in Syria, giving the Pentagon on-the-ground liaisons.

In another unusual move, Brig. Gen. Jon K. Mott of the Air Force, a senior operations officer from the Pentagon’s Central Command, was recently dispatched to the Turkish Army’s operations center in Ankara to help coordinate the war effort and defuse any conflicts with the Kurds.

Pentagon officials are also toning down their vocal support for Kurdish fighters to avoid further inflaming Turkish domestic political sensitivities about any collaboration between Turkish troops and Kurdish fighters…

Where it will all end knows only…Earlier (Operation Euphrates Shield— this from August):

Sublime Erdogan the Magnficent Pushing his Syria/Iraq Turkish Delight

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Syria/Iraq Update: ISIS, Raqqa, Kurds…and Turkey, Plus Mosul

Further to this post,

Sublime Erdogan the Magnficent Pushing his Syria/Iraq Turkish Delight

the latest on the explosive ex-Ottoman mixture at the invaluable MILNEWS.ca:


“US Expects Anti-Daesh Operations in Raqqa, Mosul to Drag On”“Battlefield developments threaten to trigger Turkish intervention in Iraq and Syria against Kurdish and Iraqi Shia militias”…

Raqqa Latest “Raqqa: US, Turkey agree to develop plan for ISIS-held city”“U.S. Tries Convincing Turkey to Work with Kurds Against Islamic State in Raqqa”“US, Iraq Back Syrian Kurdish-led March on Raqqa, Turkey Objects”“Syria’s SDF: a risky US ally to take Raqqa”“Isolation, Liberation of Raqqa Key in Defeating ISIL, (Pentagon) Spokesman Says”“Turkey paranoid that Syrian Kurds will take Raqqa as their capital after dislodging Daesh”…

Mo’ on Mosul “The Campaign for Mosul: November 4-7, 2016” (ISW blog) “Mosul battle rages as IS strikes around Iraq”“Food Pre-Positioned for 1.25 Million People in Mosul”“Kurdish Peshmarga Storm Daesh-Held Town in Iraq as Army Battles in Mosul”“Peshmerga storm Daesh town in Iraq as army battles in Mosul”

Very interesting but dangerously messy.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – MI5 Chief Highlights Big Bear Spooky and Cyber Threats, Jihadis

Further to this post,

The Lions’s Cyber Roar: UK Getting Really Serious, Unlike Canada

the head of Britain’s domestic intelligence service gives an unprecedented interview:

MI5 head: ‘increasingly aggressive’ Russia a growing threat to UK
Exclusive: In first newspaper interview given by a serving spy chief, Andrew Parker talks of terror, espionage and balance between secrecy and privacy

Russia poses an increasing threat to the stability of the UK and is using all the sophisticated tools at its disposal to achieve its aims, the director general of MI5 has told the Guardian.

In the first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service’s 107-year history, Andrew Parker said that at a time when much of the focus was on Islamic extremism, covert action from other countries was a growing danger. Most prominent was Russia.

“It is using its whole range of state organs and powers to push its foreign policy abroad in increasingly aggressive ways – involving propaganda, espionage, subversion and cyber-attacks. Russia is at work across Europe and in the UK today. It is MI5’s job to get in the way of that.”

Parker said Russia still had plenty of intelligence officers on the ground in the UK, but what was different now from the days of the cold war was the advent of cyberwarfare. Russian targets include military secrets, industrial projects, economic information and government and foreign policy.

The spy chief also:

– Said that 12 jihadi terror plots had been foiled by the security services in the past three years.
– Identified the size of the homegrown problem: there are about 3,000 “violent Islamic extremists in the UK, mostly British”.
– Said that budget increases would see MI5 expand from 4,000 to 5,000 officers [emphasis added–so total personnel considerably greater?] over the next five years [by comparison the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has a total strength of some 3,300)].
– Rejected criticism that the investigatory powers bill, due before parliament this week, was going too far in enabling intrusive surveillance, arguing that it correctly balances privacy and security…

Parker said the Islamic extremist threat was also enduring and generational. He broke it down into three segments: a large homegrown problem of potentially violent extremists in the UK – most of them British – about 3,000 in number; members of Daesh (Islamic State) in the conflict zones of Syria and Iraq trying to incite terror plots against the UK; and Daesh trying to spread its “toxic ideology” and promote terrorism online.

Critics of the controversial investigatory powers bill, which went before the House of Lords on Monday, say it will offer the security services access to personal data, bringing a reality to bulk surveillance. Parker said the data was necessary in the fight against terror and he thought the government had reached the right balance between privacy and security [see “UK Security Services’ Successful Bulk Data Collection; Need More Powers (Canada?)” plus “Under PM’s Thumb: Proposed Canadian Parliamentary Security/Intel Review Committee“]…

Whilst on the foreign intelligence front:

MI6: UK HUMINT Spooks Going Cyber, Including Social Media

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – ISIS, Islamism and Pakistan’s CT Failure

The very knowledgeable Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid (pieces for the NY Review of Books here) excoriates his country’s government:

Viewpoint: Pakistan’s Quetta attack blame game

The attack that killed 61 police cadets in Quetta has once again been followed by a government-led blame game. But the government has not faced up to its own failure to conduct a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy against all extremist groups.

Within a couple of hours of the attack on the Quetta police college on the night of 25 October, and even before sifting through the bloody evidence or taking statements from the 120 injured, government ministers immediately accused Afghanistan of helping the militants, who according to the government, belonged to an extremist anti-Shia group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ).

A few hours later, several groups claimed they carried out the attack but the most believable was the claim by so-called Islamic State (IS), as it also issued a photograph of the three heavily-armed assailants, who blew themselves up in the attack.

The authorities however are in a state of denial about the presence of IS on Pakistani soil. After IS released the photograph, the government claimed that IS had ”outsourced” the attack to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.

It is not the first time the government has dismissed a claim by IS. In August, IS said it carried out the suicide bombing of a hospital in Quetta that killed 70 lawyers and patients – a claim that was ignored by the government.

Convenient scapegoat

The government claims to have eliminated LeJ in its two-year-long counter-terrorism operations. But the LeJ is still a convenient whipping boy when Islamabad is trying to deny that IS has political support in Pakistan.

Accepting that IS is prevalent in Pakistan would make a mockery of the government’s claims to have eliminated all terrorist groups that attack Pakistani citizens.

Denying that IS is in Pakistan has become standard operational procedure for the government.

However IS has a powerful presence just across the border in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. This week IS militants killed 30 civilians in Ghor province in central Afghanistan…

The government has also provided no evidence of its second major accusation that Afghanistan, with help from India, is involved in arming and training LeJ so that it can launch attacks in Pakistan.

Afghanistan is hardly in a position to orchestrate such attacks. And there is no evidence of any direct Indian involvement, although Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made no bones about his desire to see unrest in Balochistan in a tit for tat retaliation for Pakistan allegedly fuelling unrest in India-controlled Kashmir [see “Indian PM Modi Pours (RAW) Fat on Pakistan’s Baluchistan Fire“]…

For Pakistani authorities, passing the buck has become the standard response to any terrorist attack. Yet the government and army promised two years ago that its first task would be to cleanse Pakistani soil of terrorism, that it would set its own house in order.

The military has eliminated many groups that have threatened the state but two sets of extremist groups remain untouched.

Comprehensive strategy

The first are the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani network, whose leadership is settled largely in Quetta and Peshawar and now partly in Iran.

The Afghan Taliban come and go at will between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Last year Islamabad made serious efforts to persuade them to open talks with the Kabul regime but that effort has collapsed.

However, the real threat is that many militant groups receive protection and sanctuary from the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan. These include multiple Pakistani groups, including the highly toxic Pakistani Taliban as well as al-Qaeda and groups from Central Asia, China, Chechnya and elsewhere…

The second grouping is the plethora of Punjabi groups that live in Punjab province along the border with India. Their significance has risen in recent months with their repeated attacks on Indian security forces in Indian-administered Kashmir that have created a heightened tension between India and Pakistan.

It is unclear if these attacks were carried out by militants already in Indian-administered Kashmir or from the Pakistani side. The Indians believe the latter, while Pakistan insists there are no cross border attacks [see “Oh, Oh! Indian Troops Raid Pakistani Kashmir“].

Pakistan clearly needs to deal with these two sets of groupings in a more mature, realistic and believable fashion…

Mesdames et messieurs, faites vos jeux.

Earlier and very relevant:

Pakistan: What Can’t Be Said [Mr Rashid one topic]
Carlotta Gall [more here]

Pakistan’s Monster
By Dexter Filkins [more here]

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Sublime Erdogan the Magnficent Pushing his Syria/Iraq Turkish Delight

The ever more maximum president is certainly making things difficult for POTUS and many others:

Erdogan reasserts Turkey’s role in wars in Syria and Iraq

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday [Oct. 27] that he had informed President Obama of Turkey’s intent to participate in an offensive in northern Syria. His remarks are a reminder of the strategic conundrum facing the United States, which is working to defeat the extremist Islamic State in Syria and Iraq with both cooperation from Turkey as well as from Syrian Kurdish militias being targeted by the Turks.

In a televised speech from the Turkish capital, Ankara, Erdogan said he told Obama that Syrian rebels backed by Turkey in an ongoing operation called “Euphrates Shield” would advance on the Syrian border town of al-Bab, which is held by the Islamic State. They would then march on to Manbij, a northern Syrian city that earlier this year was liberated from the Islamic State by a coalition of Syrian militias led by a Kurdish faction known as the People’s Protection Units, or YPG. The Turkish government considers the YPG an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, a Kurdish separatist faction that has waged a decades-long insurgency within Turkey and is deemed a terrorist group by both Ankara and Washington.

Then, Erdogan said, “we will go toward Raqqa” — the de facto capital of the Islamic State in Syria.

raqqa.jpg

…[In Iraq] too , Turkey hopes for “a place at the table.” As WorldViews noted earlier, Erdogan has demanded a role for Turkish troops in the Mosul campaign that nobody — neither the Americans, nor the Iraqis — has planned for and has invoked grievances from World War I and sectarian rhetoric while doing so.

“We did not voluntarily accept the borders of our country,” Erdogan said, referring to the defeated Ottoman parliament’s disregarded 1920 territorial claim to Mosul and its oil-rich environs…

Oh dear. More here on President Erdogan.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – RCMP’s Anti-Terrorism Fight Giving Mob Increasingly Free Pass

Further to this 2015 post before the federal election,

Policing Terrorism in Canada: Feds Don’t Match Mouth With Money

the Liberal government is now not stepping up to its job properly to fund core federal responsibilities:

Terrorism investigations tax RCMP’s ability to fight Canada’s organized crime
Colin Freeze [very good Globe and Mail reporter]

The number of RCMP wiretaps on organized-crime groups is plummeting sharply as the force shifts its detectives to the fight against terrorism, according to statistics analyzed by The Globe and Mail.

In its federal policing role, the RCMP essentially has two major business lines – chasing mobsters and chasing terrorists. The priority the Mounties give to each of the two files has always been an issue, but the balance clearly shifted after the attack on Parliament Hill two years ago.

The RCMP has moved hundreds of officers from organized-crime probes to terrorism investigations in a bid to track suspected sympathizers of the Islamic State. This may come at a cost to other important RCMP missions, such as stopping human trafficking, getting guns off the street and curbing trade in illicit drugs such as fentanyl.

– Related: Guilty pleas end risk of revealing RCMP surveillance technology

– Related: Surveillance device used in prison sets off police probe

– Related: RCMP fight to keep lid on high-tech investigation tool

A spokeswoman for the police force does not dispute that a significant shift has taken place.

“The decrease in RCMP wiretap applications for serious and organized-crime investigations in the past year can partially be attributed to the shifting of a number of federal-policing resources to national-security criminal investigations,” Corporal Annie Delisle said in an e-mailed response to Globe questions.

…the focus of police investigations is clearly shifting.

In 2011, police sought wiretaps in hopes of laying charges for 82 Criminal Code offences that explicitly had to do with organized-crime. Only six such charges were contemplated in 2015.

Half of all wiretap applications still involve drug cases, yet the number of drug charges being pursued has plummeted.

In 2011, federal police were seeking wiretap warrants involving only three terrorism charges. In 2014, police were hoping to lay 97 terrorism charges. In 2015, that number was 68.

The Public Safety Canada electronic surveillance report is preliminary and the 2015 numbers may increase because police do not have to disclose data about all their investigations right away [the report is here]. Not every wiretap warrant of leads to an arrest or criminal charge…

Follow Colin Freeze on Twitter: @colinfreeze

Must be a whole lot nicer to be an organized gangster these days in the Great White North.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Iraq: Upcoming Battle for Mosul Update

Further to this post, things could get exceedingly nasty; can Iraq stay united (and how far will the Turks go, both around Mosul and to prevent any independent Kurdistan?). At Defense One’sD-Brief“:


Iraq’s counterterrorism police of the Golden Division have reportedly departed Camp Speicher en route to positions near Mosul.
Reminder: the upcoming offensive could become a big mess, the Washington Post’s Loveday Morris warned on Wednesday [Oct. 12], reporting from Baghdad.

For a sense of just how messy it could get, here’s a broad glance at the Mosul manifest: Iraq Army; CT police; PKK; Turkey-backed tribes; Shia militia [Iran-backed]; Assyrian, Christian and Yazidi militia; and, of course, the U.S.-led coalition. That makes seven generic categories of different forces, most of which can be further broken down into more specific elements. More here.

The humanitarian toll of the offensive is going to be enormous, and could include: use of civilians as human shields, chemical weapons use, and the mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of people, the UN warns.

How’s the UN prepared for all that so far? In a word: inadequately. “In order to house and support and accommodate 1 million people at dignified standards we would be looking at an operation of $1 billion,” said Lise Grande, the U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq [UN website here].

Reuters: “That is more than four times the $230 million the international body has received so far for the effort, funds which have only recently arrived. So far, a total of six camps have been built that can accommodate 50,000 people. Efforts are underway to construct 11 more, said Grande.”..

Lots more at MILNET.ca, scroll down to “Iraq”. And what role will the Canadian Forces’ closely assisting the Kurdish Peshmerga have in how Kurdistan matters play out? Our government should be giving that furious consideration.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Counter-Terrorism: CSIS’ New C-51 Powers Not So Threatening in Practice

The civil liberties sky has not fallen–and surely will not under the Liberal government:

John Ivison: Fear of oppressive surveillance by spy agencies under Tories’ anti-terror legislation unfounded

Remember how the Conservative anti-terror legislation was going to usher in a new era of omnipresent government surveillance?

Well, it hasn’t happened — at least not according to the scraps of information that are publicly available.

The latest figures made available were on electronic surveillance, released by the Department of Public Safety [report here].

As part of the anti-terror bill, it became a crime to “knowingly” advocate or promote the commission of a terrorism offence.

Critics claimed that there would be a rash of wiretap authorizations, as police sought to crack down on speech crimes.

But the numbers for 2015 suggest there were precisely two cases where the authorities were given authorization to listen in on people suspected of promoting terrorism.

We don’t know how many prosecutions resulted from the authorizations but it’s a good bet there were none…

CSIS, Canada’s spy agency, was [also] given wide-ranging powers to disrupt suspected terrorist plots, rather than just gathering information about them.

The new law gave CSIS the power to ask judges to approve warrants, even if its preventative measures breached rights or freedoms otherwise protected by law.

As critics Craig Forcese and Kent Roach have made clear, the law risked making judges “enablers of illegality [more here].”

Yet here again, it appears the security forces have not used their new powers.

When he was before a Senate committee last March, CSIS chief Michel Coulombe said the agency had used the disruption powers nearly two dozen times but had not sought judicial approval in any of the cases. Rather, the disruption powers were more benign — for example, talking to family, friends and community leaders close to the person suspected of being at risk of radicalization…

The Liberals are currently reviewing Canada’s national security laws. They have promised to repeal “problematic elements” of the legislation, and amending what Forcese and Roach call the “outer limits” to the speech-crime and threat-disruption provisions would seem to be a reasonable compromise between preserving freedoms and protecting Canadians…

Now see what the Aussies are planning:

Australia: Dangerous Terrorists? Just Keep’em Locked Up

Related:

Under PM’s Thumb: Proposed Canadian Parliamentary Security/Intel Review Committee

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Australia: Dangerous Terrorists? Just Keep’em Locked Up

Whilst many Canadians are worried about our recent anti-terrorism law, C-51 (text here); they play hard-nosed Down Under:

Terrified of terror, Australia plans indefinite detention even after sentences are served [that “terrified” a bit OTT]

Australia is one of the most peaceful, prosperous and law-abiding countries on Earth. Yet it is about to allow people who might commit terrorism to be held in prison — indefinitely.

Under changes introduced into federal parliament last month by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s center-right government, federal judges could stop prisoners being released after completing terrorism-related sentences. They wouldn’t need to set a release date, although the prisoners’ detention would be reviewed every year.

Judges would need to be convinced by the government that the man or woman was likely to mount some kind of new attack. There would be no new trial, although prisoners would have the right to argue in court that they aren’t a threat.

The change will upend a centuries-old legal principle that prisoners are automatically released when their sentences end [read on, the author is of a liberal bent]…

Relevant:

Terrorism, Intelligence and Bill C-51: “The Fight Over Canada’s Patriot Act”

Hard-Nosed French “Patriot Act” Cleared by Court

UK Security Services’ Successful Bulk Data Collection; Need More Powers (Canada?)

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Iraq: Upcoming Battle for Mosul, Plus Turkey

The latest at the invaluable MILNEWS.ca:

Closer to Mosul Push “Anti-ISIS fight will get harder after Mosul, says Canadian general”“Canadian general: ‘Fall of Mosul is inevitable’ ““Mosul’s Liberation From ISIL ‘Inevitable,’ Canadian General Says” (US DoD Info-machine)“Coalition general: ‘Final rehearsal’ before Mosul fight underway”“Plans Take Shape for Iraqi Assault on Mosul”“Islamic State conflict: How will the battle for Mosul unfold?”
“To Drive ISIS from Mosul, a Complicated Coalition Joins Forces”
“Canadian general warns Islamic State fight will get harder after Mosul”
“Daesh leaders defecting before Mosul operation: general”
“Abadi to Mosul residents: “victory is near” “ – “Iraq Prime Minister Promises Victory In Mosul”
“Iraq: Impending Mosul assault puts 600,000 children in line of fire – Iraq” (Save the Children)
“IS Plans Widespread Destruction in Mosul as Conditions Worsen for Residents”
“Shia Badr forces will consider foreign troops intervene in Mosul battle”
“Turkey’s presence at Bashiqa military camp in northern Iraq is at the request of Kurdish authorities who recognize their forces in the country, Turkey’s deputy prime minister declared on Wednesday, adding that no one has right to object to their presence …”
TUR-IRQ Friction “Turkey-Iraq Tensions Rise as Battle of Mosul Approaches”“Iraq Warns of Regional War With Turkey”“Turkey not in Iraq as occupiers: Deputy PM”“Turkey says it does not aim to be an occupier in Iraq”“Iraq asks UNSC to discuss Turkish presence in N. Iraq”“Iraq seeks emergency UN Security Council session over Turkish military presence”
“Pro-govt Iraq fighters ‘likely’ killed in coalition airstrike near Mosul – US official”“At least 20 Iraqi Sunni tribal fighters die in mistaken air strike”“Pentagon probes pro-govt Iraq fighter deaths in coalition strike”…

Not exactly simple.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds