American Elephants


Raqqa Has Fallen, The Last ISIS Holdout by The Elephant's Child
October 18, 2017, 6:37 am
Filed under: Politics | Tags:

Raqqa, the city that was the headquarters and self-proclaimed capital of their “Caliphate” has fallen. Clearing up operations remain. The city is full of land mines, but the Syrian Democratic Forces are firmly in control.

Earlier in the day, the Kurdish-led SDF forces captured the city hospital, the last remaining ISIS holdout in Raqqa. The facility had been both a hospital and a command center. That left ISIS militants cornered in and around the stadium, which they turned into a brutal prison where they held anyone who opposed their rule. A spokesman said:

The stadium is a huge structure with underground rooms and tunnels. There are also buildings around it” still under the control of IS, he said and added that “there is nothing decisive today.”

On Monday, the Kurdish-led SDF captured “Paradise Square,” Raqqa’s infamous public square where Islamic State militants used to perform killings and beheadings, forcing residents to watch after summoning them with loudspeakers.

Bodies and severed heads would linger there for days, mounted on posts. Residents described how the bodies of those slain would be labelled, each with his or her perceived crime, for the public to see.

The battle for Raqqa began in June and has dragged on for weeks. The city is devastated and most buildings are leveled and in ruins. The last black ISIS flag was flying at the Hospital.

ADDENDUM: Investors notes that the Trump administration has defeated ISIS in months, after Obama found it impossible “to eradicate “a cancer like (ISIS). It will take time to root them out” He said it was a long term and extremely complex challenge. That was after he called them the JV team.

A former senior military commander in the region told the Washington Examiner that the Obama White House was micromanaging the war “to the degree that it was just as bad, if not worse, than during the Johnson administration.” Johnson, you will recall, once bragged that “they can’t bomb an outhouse in Vietnam without my permission.”

Trump consulted his generals, made several changes in the way the war was fought, and had the Pentagon loosen the rules of engagement to the minimum required by international law and eliminated the White House oversight procedures.

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Hungry and Demoralized, ISIS Surrenders in Hawija by The Elephant's Child

Yesterday, off in corners of the internet which was all a-flame with the latest accusers of Harvey Weinstein, there was brief mention of the defeat of of ISIS in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija — one of its last strongholds in Iraq. Around 1,000 militants surrendered among signs that the terrorist group is falling apart and unable to defend its territory.

“They’re giving up,” said Lt. Gen. Paul Funk, who commands the coalition task force fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “Their leaders are abandoning them.”

The fall of Hawija in northern Iraq, after two weeks of fighting, is the latest in a string of defeats for the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and suggests the rank-and-file fighters are demoralized as the group struggles to defend what remains of the territory it seized in 2014.

Hawija had been held by about 1,000 militants. As long as they held Hawija they could threaten Kirkuk, a major city east of the town. Coalition airstrikes have been ramping up attacks on the strongholds left in Iraq. Iraqi forces have been built up with help of U.S. arms and equipment, but the decision on when to launch ground operations is made by the Iraqi government.

In July, Iraq announced that Mosul, the country’s second-largest city, was retaken from ISIS after about nine months of intense fighting. Since that decisive battle, the pace of the Islamic State’s decline seems to have quickened.

U.S.-backed forces in Syria have recaptured about three-quarters of Raqqa, the ISIS headquarters, after about four months of fighting in the city.

ISIS reputation for the willingness to fight to the last man and never surrender seems to be gone. Surrendering forces came out with their hands up, saying their leaders have abandoned them. They haven’t been fed and haven’t been paid. Last week the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio demanding his fighters to continue the battle, but they don’t seem to be paying attention.

The fall of Harvey Weinstein may be just as important as the fall of Hawija, but was anyone surprised? Hollywood has long been known as a cesspool. His disgusting trail of victims may be long, but ISIS has been trying to terrorize the world into submission. Beheadings and placing victims in iron cages to drown or burn to death didn’t seem to be a way to entice people to accept Islam. But that is in the far away Middle East, and Weinstein and kneeling football millionaires are here and local.

I don’t know that anyone, at this point, expects the media to act responsibly.




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