ISIS has now lost much of the old section of Mosul, a city it conquered in 2014, to Iraqi coalition forces. In this section of the old city stands the ruin of the al Nuri Grand Mosque built in the 12th century. It was arguably one of the oldest and greatest architectural masterpieces in all the Middle East, and a symbol of ascendant Islam. ISIS fighters blew it up as they abandoned the neighborhood.
The symbolism and importance of this event could be made incalculable, should it be understood and amplified throughout the Muslim world. In 2014, the al Nuri Grand Mosque was also the site of a rare public speech by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi when he proclaimed that ISIS had founded the new Caliphate in the lands it controlled in Syria and Iraq. At that point, it was an area the size of Great Britain. He since has not been seen publicly.
Fighting still goes on to rid the entire city of ISIS fighters, many of whom will fight to the death. Approximately 1.5 million people still living in Mosul, many of them children, are unable to escape the areas controlled by ISIS. Of those children who have managed to escape, many show signs of malnutrition and psychological trauma.
In a related matter last week, the group charged with monitoring the Chemical Arms Ban Treaty in Syria, The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, concluded that the April 4th attack by the Assad Regime and his allies, Iran and Russia, did use Sarin gas or a similar agent that killed 100 villagers including children.
The bottom line is that this is not just in a military war but a psychological/propaganda war. Far too many Muslims believe that their new caliphate can again be established the old-fashioned way, through brutal military conquest. The point must be made relentlessly by sane Western and Middle Eastern heads of state—radical Islam kills far too many Muslims, including innocent women and children, and destroys all claims to be a sacrosanct belief system.
Above Image: Cemetery destroyed by ISIS, Qayyarah town The Mosul Distric, Northern Iraq, Western Asia. 10 November, 2016.