Sunday, 25 October 2015

US Participate in raid on ISIL prison complex

Jethro Mullen and Melissa Gray, 'New video shows scenes from raid to free hostages from ISIS', CNN October 25, 2015

US and Kurdish troops filmed inside a ISIL office in a prison compound releasing prisoners near Hawija in northern Kirkuk province, northern Iraq on Thursday. Mass graves dug inside the compound were spotted during surveillance, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of details of the raid told CNN. After the rescue, hostages said they had been told they would be executed after morning prayers. One American was shot inside the compound  and flown to Irbil, where he died. Four Peshmerga soldiers were wounded, officials said.

I suspect that one of the main functions of this derring-do film is to test public opinion on the idea of "US boots on the ground". For a long time now US air raids have been targeting ISIL earthmoving machines - obviously in a territory where the land held is strung out along long narrow corridors hemmed in by more difficult deserts, knocking out important communication hubs and restricting ISIL's ability to repair them quickly gives great strategic advantage. Note that a few weeks ago this was being heralded in the blogosphere as a measure to stop the machines being used to  "bulldoze monuments".

UPDATE 30th October 2015
This then comes as no great surprise: Richard Engel, Kristen Welker and Cassandra Vinograd, 'U.S. to Deploy Special Operations Forces in Syria: Officials', NBC Oct 30 2015. Peter Tompa and Arthur Horton III will be there, egging them on ('Head Shot to a Curator?' PACHI Saturday, 25 January 2014).

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