A view of hell from Kobani

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A view of hell from Kobani

Postby Bill Glasheen » Mon Feb 02, 2015 3:56 pm

One of the unfortunate cancers in the world today is a primitive, anachronistic view of Islam based on literal teachings of Muhammad - a man who felt that his religion could be spread by the sword and "all was fair" in that regard. Lost souls throughout the world find a home in teachings which stress absolute subservience to Allah and a command to proselytize the faith. Part of the modus operandi is the dehumanization of infidels or non-believers. And as we know from the history of warfare, dehumanization leads to atrocities like Auschwitz, Nanking, and the Killing Fields in Cambodia.

ISIS - a brand of radical Islam - uses terror and fear as a tactic. Brutal beheadings - even of innocent civilians - are part of that tactic.

If you are squeamish, don't click on these links.

..... ISIS Syrian army beheadings

..... Photojournalist James Wright Foley a fraction of a second before his beheading

..... A Christian girl beheaded by members of ISIS

..... Eleven-year-old Eizidi girl waiting for her destiny as a slave

Dehumanization begats dehumanization, and the mass slaughtering begins.

Below is an article in the Wall Street Journal about the recent re-capture of the northern Syrian town of Kobani by Kurdish forces backed by American air support. This is the stuff that real violence is made of. Even the survivors and conquerors will leave wounded.

- Bill

WSJ.com wrote:City of Ruin Remains After Islamic State Defeat in Kobani
As Kurds, U.S. Beat Back Militants, Victory Seems to Have Come at the Price of the Town Itself

By AYLA ALBAYRAK and JOE PARKINSON
Feb. 1, 2015 9:21 p.m. ET

Image

KOBANI, Syria—Kurdish commander Harun Kurdistan toured what was left of a neighborhood this weekend in a battered minivan, a Soviet-era sniper rifle propped on his seat, after his forces successfully ended a four-month battle to wrest control of this border town from Islamic State jihadists.

“The fighting was face to face, inside buildings. Us shooting from downstairs as they were upstairs,” said Mr. Kurdistan, as he drove along the same thoroughfare used by militants to enter the town last year. “We only survived because we believed in our cause.”

Victory seems to have come at the price of the town itself. Streets lie in ruins. Water and power systems are shattered. Decaying corpses of jihadist fighters remain, some stripped of footwear and clothing, and one still swaddled in a suicide vest. Thousands of people died, and another 200,000 remain refugees across the border in Turkey.

Four months ago, this little-known town caught the world’s attention with televised images showing Islamic State fighters bombarding its streets and hoisting their black flag on a nearby hill.

Now, tricolor flags of red, green and yellow fly over the city after Kurdish fighters—backed by the air power of a U.S.-led coalition—dealt Islamic State a humiliating battlefield defeat.

The Syrian Kurdish victory stemmed from a combination of guerrilla tactics, the assistance of Iraqi Kurdistan’s Peshmerga forces and the airstrikes. Since September, coalition jets completed more than 700 strikes that helped kill more than 2,000 jihadists, according to U.S. Central Command. With Kurdish fighters spotting militants on a battlefield emptied of civilians, a senior U.S. official said, “We basically had free rein.”

The absence of civilians in Kobani was an advantage unlikely to be repeated in larger cities held by Islamic State, including the Iraqi city of Mosul, another target of U.S. war planners and their Iraqi partners.

Islamic State on Saturday conceded defeat in Kobani but said it would attack again. In a video published by pro-jihadist Aamaq News, two fighters blamed their defeat on the air campaign, diminishing the role of the Kurdish militiamen they called rats.

Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that the retaking of Kobani was “a big deal.” “We have a long way to go in the overall campaigns but Daesh said all along that Kobani was a real symbolic and strategic objective,” Kerry said in Boston, referencing the Arabic word used to identify Islamic State.

Gen. Lloyd Austin, the top U.S. commander, said in an interview that the Americans focused firepower on Kobani because that is where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi choose to make a stand.

“We said a long time ago Kobani was not strategically important to us,” Gen. Lloyd said. “But it is awfully important to him…In that alone, we have taken out over 2,000 of his troops, which is a phenomenal sacrifice.”

When Islamic State began its assault on Kobani in mid-September, there was little to suggest how big the battle would grow.

Kurdish fighters at the time evacuated the villages surrounding Kobani, pushing thousands of people north toward the Syria-Turkey border after Kurdish officials warned of death or enslavement by Islamic State militants.

“We got 30 minutes to pack and go. Only those who could stay to fight, should stay,” said Muhammed Apo, 22 years old. “My family decided to flee to Turkey.”

The fighters and volunteers who remained, men and women, dug trenches and planted bombs in empty buildings on the outskirts of Kobani. The Syrian Kurdish fighters were boosted by recruits, arms and training from their affiliate, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which is listed as a terror organization in the U.S. and Turkey.

The wave of refugees fleeing to Turkey—the largest single movement of refugees since the Syrian war began in 2011—drew crowds of international reporters. Live images of battle showed the Kurds outnumbered and outgunned.

In late September, the U.S.-led coalition began airstrikes on Islamic State positions. Shortly after, the militants—armed with U.S.-made weaponry, tanks and artillery looted from Iraqi army bases—smashed through Kurdish defenses, entered the town and hoisted their black flag in victory.

In Washington, U.S. officials said they couldn’t keep Kobani from falling. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected pleas by the Kurds for arms and supplies.

Kurdish fighters withdrew to several buildings in a last stand viewed by many in the West as an important symbol of resistance against the jihadists.

Inside Kobani, the Kurds said their knowledge of the city and experience in close-contact guerrilla fighting arrested the Islamic State advance. Kurdish forces detonated booby traps and used an elaborate network of tunnels dug through houses to launch attacks and avoid Islamic State snipers, fighters said.

Evindar Berkel, a 24-year old woman who enlisted with an all-female unit, was wounded after entering a house held by jihadist fighters.

“We thought the apartment was empty. They looked just as surprised as we were,” she said. “One man, a sturdy tall guy with a dark beard, whisked a hand grenade at my direction.”

Her injured ankle was still bound this weekend.

Islamic State said in late October that U.S. airstrikes were of little effect, Militants released a video, anchored by imprisoned British journalist John Cantlie, that said jihadists were near victory and “mopping up” the remaining Kurdish fighters.

But the Kurds received a boost in early November with the arrival of 160 Peshmerga fighters from northern Iraq. The forces were equipped with artillery to pound Islamic State positions and thwart attacks.

As Islamic State dug into positions around town, the U.S. role rapidly evolved with stepped-up airstrikes and closer coordination with Syrian Kurdish commanders, who relayed precise targeting information to U.S. aircraft.

Finally, the tide began to turn. Kurds in the field and at a Joint Operations Center in Erbil began using the same detailed maps and imagery as U.S. forces. Information on Islamic State positions provided by Kurdish forces allowed the U.S. to pick up the tempo of strikes, even in bad weather, U.S. officials said. This undermined an important Islamic State tactic: launching attacks under cloud cover.

The airstrikes finally helped the Kurds break Islamic State’s last lines of defense. officials said.

The Kurds in Kobani “were masters in street fighting, but we brought heavy weaponry at a critical time, when ISIS was working on surrounding them,” Maj. Izzettin Temo, a Peshmerga doctor, said Friday.

With morale boosted by the Peshmerga deployment, and Islamic State reeling under the bombardment of U.S. jets, the jihadists suffered heavy losses, Kurdish and U.S. officials said. In January, the insurgents began to withdraw from the center of Kobani to surrounding villages.

Last week, the Kurds declared victory, celebrating on Kobani’s broken streets. Fighters like Egit Botan, a commander of 40 men and a senior PKK guerrilla, chased retreating jihadists.

“We are trying to avoid clashes and loss of more manpower,” said Mr. Botan, a Turkish Kurd wearing a black baseball cap with a hand-stitched picture of Che Guevara. “We have lost hundreds of our fighters already.”

Fighters and refugees said they were struggling to comprehend the task of reconstructing the city, which they believe will take years. Local authorities must figure out how to get heavy equipment, as well as plot the safest way to clear away rubble and ruin that could contain unexploded ordnance.

Refugees from Kobani are waiting on the Turkish side of the border, where officials just finished construction of Turkey’s largest refugee camp, with a capacity of 35,000.

Some Kobani residents said they would return home if allowed by Kurdish officials, even if home is now a crushed pile of concrete.

For many who fought here, Kobani is just the first victory in a wider conflict.

“Even though the battle for Kobani is over, I will not go back home,” said Ms. Berkel, the Kurdish fighter, a Kalashnikov rifle slung over her shoulder. “I will continue to fight in other parts of Kurdish Syria.”

Write to Ayla Albayrak at ayla.albayrak@wsj.com and Joe Parkinson at joe.parkinson@wsj.com
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Bill Glasheen
 
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Re: A view of hell from Kobani

Postby Bill Glasheen » Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:29 pm

Here is yet another example of the use of atrocity as a tactic of war by ISIS. Apparently amateurishly-executed beheadings and the serial raping of captive little girls are so ten minutes ago.

WSJ.com wrote:Islamic State Releases Video Purporting to Show Jordanian Pilot’s Death

By ASA FITCH, SUHA MA’AYEH and MARIA ABI-HABIB
Updated Feb. 3, 2015 1:16 p.m. ET

AMMAN, Jordan—Islamic State jihadists released a video on Tuesday purporting to show captured Jordanian air force pilot Muath al-Kasasbeh burned alive, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

Image

The 22-minute video, which SITE said was distributed via Twitter , begins with footage of Jordanian involvement in a U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State’s spread, before showing a man with a black eye who appears to be Mr. Kasasbeh describing Jordan’s military operations.

The video ends with the apparent execution of the man. He is shown being burned alive inside a cage by Islamic State fighters.

SITE, an organization that tracks extremist activities, has verified numerous Islamic State videos in the past that later proved to be authentic, but government authorities have yet to declare the latest video is genuine.

If the video is authentic, the killing would mark the first time Islamic State has used burning to execute a high-profile prisoner. The group has beheaded numerous high-profile hostages in the past, including two Japanese men in the past two weeks.

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If there is any doubt about what all this is leading to, well then I offer that this is dangerously naive. But time will tell.

- Bill
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