Even If Raqqa And Mosul Fall, Islamic State Is Far From Finished
Paul Rogers, 19 Jun 17
       

EPA/Yousseff Rabie Yousseff

A long-awaited military campaign is underway to retake the key northern Syrian city of Raqqa from the so-called Islamic State (IS). With the group apparently losing territory and its de facto central hub now under heavy attack, there arises an obvious question: is this the end of IS?

Alas, the answer has to be a resounding “no”. There is increasing evidence that IS is transforming itself into a long-term insurgency in Iraq and Syria, but also developing into a movement with worldwide reach.

The seriousness of the problem can be gauged by the scale of the assault on Raqqa, which is underway even as IS stubbornly clings on to the Iraqi city of Mosul. The US-led military coalition, with all its resources, is now playing a much more substantial role in both battles.

The Raqqa operation’s frontline paramilitaries are organised by the Syrian Defence Forces (SDF) and drawn from Kurdish militias of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) together with a range of Syrian non-Kurdish militias, both strongly supported by the US. The level of support has increased substantially in recent months; Reuters has reported that as the opposition forces move slowly towards Raqqa, they are having to closely coordinate with the US to avoid “friendly fire” casualties.

Their tactics focus on the careful movement of forces, often on foot, towards the inner city areas IS has fortified and protected, with coalition air power and artillery fire clearing the way. The anti-IS forces are being met with sniper and mortar fire, even though the city’s outer districts are only lightly defended.

The extent of the coalition forces’ involvement is only now becoming clear. The West is now directly and closely involved in the war on the ground as well as in the air; many of these troops might be special forces who prefer to keep a low profile, but nonetheless, the Middle East is once again becoming host to thousands of Western “boots on the ground”.

Sign in to view full article

       
Facebook’s New Anti-Fake News Strategy Is Not Going To Work – But Something Else Might
Over the past year, the social media company has been scrutinized for influencing the US presidential election by spreading fake ...
Paul Ralph
Mon, 1 May 17
Singapore: Securing Tomorrow’s Energy
Finding a green alternative to fossil fuels can never get this tough for Singapore – we can’t use wind turbines ...
Luan Do
Mon, 2 Jan 17
The Economics Behind Uber’s New Pricing Model
Uber is changing the way it calculates fares, moving to a system that charges what customers are “willing to pay”, ...
Jordi McKenzie
Thu, 1 Jun 17
Petition Urges Xi Jinping to End Forced Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners
NEW YORK—A petition that has garnered nearly 6,000 signatures in just 2 days calls for President Donald Trump to help ...
Bowen Xiao
Mon, 10 Apr 17
Organ Transplants and Scarcity, Innovation, and Politics
We all want to live a long time. And in vigorous good health while doing so.
David T. Jones
Mon, 20 Feb 17
Get your June 2017 issue at Kinokuniya stores today!
An Epoch Times Survey
An Epoch Times Survey
Read about Forced Organ Harvesting
Sports Elements
BUCHERER