Mossul

(…)La desaparición de Mosul
En un momento en que cada día casi cualquier cosa que diga Donald Trump se convierte en un titular, la suerte de Mosul ni siquiera califica como historia mediática importante. Sin embargo, lo que sucede en esa ciudad no será un acontecimiento menor. Importará en este planeta cada vez más pequeño en el que vivimos.
Desgraciadamente, lo que está por venir también es razonablemente predecible. Ocho, nueve meses o más después de que se lanzara esta ofensiva, sin lugar a dudas el nefasto Daesh en Mosul estará destruido, pero también gran parte de la ciudad de una zona que continúa siendo borrada del mapa.
Cuando Mosul esté oficialmente retomada, aunque no sea “antes de lo programado” pero al menos “de acuerdo con lo programado”, el orgulloso anuncio de la “victoria” en la guerra contra el Daesh será un titular de primera plana. No obstante, muy pronto después volverá a desparecer de nuestro mundo y nuestras preocupaciones estadounidenses. Aun así, sin duda solo será el comienzo de la historia de un mundo en crisis. Catorce años han pasado desde que Estados Unidos invadiera Iraq e hiciera un agujero en el interior petrolífero de Oriente Medio. En la estela de la invasión, varios países se han hecho pedazos o simplemente colapsado, y crecido y extendido las organizaciones terroristas, mientras las guerras, los asesinatos étnicos y todo tipo de atrocidades han sumido en el caos a una región que no ha parado de crecer. Millones de iraquíes, sirios, afganos, yemeníes, libios y otros han sido arrancados de su tierra, desplazados en su propio país, o han huido cruzando fronteras para convertirse en refugiados. Solo en Mosul, un incalculable número de personas cuyos progenitores, abuelos, hijos, amigos y familiares fueron asesinados durante la ofensiva del ejército iraquí o por el Daesh son ahora personas sin techo ni recursos, ni trabajo, ni comunidad, en medio de unos lugares reconocibles hasta hace unos días, ahora convertidos en escombros.
La Mosul actual no tiene aeropuerto, ni estación de ferrocarril, ni universidad: todo ha sido destruido en las recientes batallas. Las primeras estimaciones sugieren que su reconstrucción costará miles de millones de dólares durante muchos años. Y Mosul no es más que una ciudad entre muchas que están en el mismo estado. La pregunta es: ¿de dónde exactamente saldrá el dinero para la reconstrucción? Después de todo, hoy en día el precio del petróleo está por debajo de los 50 dólares el barril, los gobiernos de Iraq y Siria carecen de cualquier recurso, ¿alguien puede imaginar una especie de Plan Marshall para la región proveniente del Estados Unidos de Donald Trump o, para el caso, de cualquier otro lugar?
En otras palabras, es probable que finalmente los iraquíes, los sirios, los yemeníes, los libios, los afganos y otros se encuentren solo entre las ruinas de unos países con muy pocos recursos. Con esa situación en la mente y conocida la historia de los últimos 14 años, ¿cómo serán las cosas para los habitantes de Mosul, o Ramadi, o Fallujah u otras ciudades que todavía han de destruirse? ¿Qué nuevos movimientos, luchas étnicas y organizaciones terroristas surgirán en semejante entorno de pesadilla?
Planteado de otro modo, si el lector piensa que ese desastre seguirá siendo el hábitat de los iraquíes (o de sirios, yemeníes, libios y afganos) es que no ha prestado demasiada atención a la historia del siglo XXI. Evidentemente, no se ha percatado de que Donald J. Trump ganó las últimas elecciones presidenciales de Estados Unidos en parte por la amenaza de los refugiados de Oriente Medio y el terrorismo islámico, de que los británicos votaron por el abandono de la Unión Europea en parte debido a los mismos miedos y de que las presiones que sufre toda Europa en relación con los refugiados y los ataques terroristas han hecho lo suyo para alterar el paisaje político general.(…)
Rebelion trd Carlos ribas
Mosul on My Mind 
What It Really Means to Be on a “Flattening” Planet 
By Tom Engelhardt
The closest I ever got to Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, was 1,720.7 miles away — or so the Internet assures me.  Although I’ve had a lifelong interest in history, I know next to nothing about Mosul’s, nor do I have more than a glancing sense of what it looks like, or more accurately what it looked like when all its buildings, including those in its “Old City,” were still standing.  It has — or at least in better times had — a population of at least 1.8 million, not one of whom have I ever met and significant numbers of whom are now either dead, wounded, uprooted, or in desperate straits.

Consider what I never learned about Mosul my loss, a sign of my ignorance.  Yet, in recent months, little as I know about the place, it’s been on my mind — in part because what’s now happening to that city will be the world’s loss as well as mine. 
In mid-October 2016, the U.S.-backed Iraqi army first launched an offensive to retake Mosul from the militants of the Islamic State.  Relatively small numbers of ISIS fighters had captured it in mid-2014 when the previous version of the Iraqi military (into which the U.S. had poured more than $25 billion) collapsed ignominiously and fled, abandoning weaponry and even uniforms along the way.  It was in Mosul’s Great Mosque that the existence of the Islamic State was first triumphantly proclaimed by its “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi.
On the initial day of the offensive to recapture the city, the Pentagon was already congratulating the Iraqi military for being “ahead of schedule” in a campaign that was expected to “take weeks or even months.”  Little did its planners — who had been announcingits prospective start for nearly a year — know.  A week later, everything was still “proceeding according to our plan,” claimed then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.  By the end ofJanuary 2017, after 100 days of fierce fighting, the eastern part of that city, divided by the Tigris River, was more or less back in government hands and it had, according to New York Times reporters on the scene, been “spared the wholesale destruction inflicted on other Iraqi cities” like Ramadi and Fallujah, even though those residents who hadn’t fled were reportedly “scratching out a primitive existence, deprived of electricity, running water and other essential city services.”

And that was the good news.  More than 100 days later, Iraqi troops continue to edge their way through embattled western Mosul, with parts of it, including the treacherous warren of streets in its Old City, still in the hands of ISIS militants amid continuing bitter building-to-building fighting.  The Iraqi government and its generals still insist, however, that everything will be over in mere weeks.  An estimated thousand or so ISIS defenders (of the original 4,000-8,000 reportedly entrenched in the city) are still holding out and will assumedly fight to the death.  U.S. air power has repeatedly been called in big time, with civilian deaths soaring, and hundreds of thousands of its increasingly desperate and hungry inhabitants still living in battle-scarred Mosul as Islamic State fighters employ countless bomb-laden suicide vehicles and even small drones.
After seven months of unending battle in that single city, perhaps it shouldn’t be surprising that Mosul has receded from the news here, even as civilian casualties grow, at least half a million Iraqis have been displaced, and the Iraqi military has suffered grievous losses.
Though there’s been remarkably little writing about it, here’s what now seems obvious: when the fighting is finally over and the Islamic State defeated, the losses will be so much more widespread than that.  Despite initial claims that the Iraqi military (and the U.S. Air Force) were taking great care to avoid as much destruction as possible in an urban landscape filled with civilians, the rules of engagement have since changed and it’s clear that, in the end, significant swathes of Iraq’s second largest city will be left in ruins. In this, it will resemble so many other cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, from Fallujah to RamadiHoms to Aleppo.
The Disappearance of Mosul
At a moment when Donald Trump makes headlines daily with almost any random thing he says, the fate of Mosul doesn’t even qualify as a major news story.  What happens in that city, however, will be no minor thing. It will matter on this increasingly small planet of ours.
What’s to come is also, unfortunately, reasonably predictable.  Eight, nine, or more months after this offensive was launched, the grim Islamic State in Mosul will undoubtedly be destroyed, but so will much of the city in a region that continues to be — to invent a word — rubblized.
When Mosul is officially retaken, if not “ahead of schedule,” then at least “according to plan,” the proud announcements of “victory” in the war against ISIS will make headlines.  Soon after, however, Mosul will once again disappear from our American world and worries. Yet that will undoubtedly only be the beginning of the story in a world in crisis.  Fourteen years have passed since the U.S. invaded Iraq and punched a hole in the oil heartlands of the Middle East.  In the wake of that invasion, states have been crumbling or simply implodingand terror movements growing and spreading, while wars, ethnic slaughter, and all manner of atrocities have engulfed an ever-widening region.  Millions of Iraqis, Syrians, Afghans, Yemenis, Libyans, and others have been uprooted, sent into exile in their own countries, or fled across borders to become refugees.  In Mosul alone, untold numbers of people whose fathers, mothers, grandparents, children, friends, and relatives were slaughtered in the Iraqi Army’s offensive or simply murdered by ISIS will be left homeless, often without possessions, jobs, or communities in the midst of once familiar places that have been transformed into rubble.
Mosul now lacks an airport, a railroad station, and a university — all destroyed in the recent fighting. Initial estimates suggest that its rebuilding will cost billions of dollars over many years. And it’s just one of many cities in such a state. The question is: Where exactly will the money to rebuild come from? After all, the price of oil is at present below $50 a barrel, the Iraqi and Syrian governments lack resources of every sort, and who can imagine a new Marshall Plan for the region coming from Donald Trump’s America or, for that matter, anywhere else?

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