Where does America currently stand in the Mideast? How much territory has #ISIL gained or lost since the summer of 2014?
It all depends on whose maps you believe are accurate, and whose statistics you think are truthfully represented. Posted on our own US military site designed for public consumption, the following statistics are available below. Other maps at the end of this report have been curated from diverse sources across the web. It’s a fluid ever-morphing situation, so a map from April 2015 might look considerably different from a map displaying territorial regions from November.
I try to gather and study at least 6-10 maps every few months and look for large changes. “Syria” as it was once known by geographic boundaries, arguably, no longer exists. Neither is there any longer a distinct “Iraq” as it might have looked in 2003, right before the US invasion. There might be a collective memory of the old Syria, but outside of a few clusters of densely populated areas along the Mediterranean coast, Assad’s “Syria” is gone. Enter the newest geographic term: ‘Syraq’. Was this the actual long term goal of US foreign policy since the year 2000 all along? I have to wonder.
The Emergent ‘Syraq’
In the very last map posted in this report, a large elongated triangular region of parts of the [old] Syria and the [old] Iraq are shown as being under ISIS control. These areas are rich in oil and natural gas reserves and are dotted with lucrative wells and energy infrastructure. Are we to believe that this dreadful current outcome was the intended goal for US military interests, having lost 5,000+ American lives, maimed thousands more, killed nearly countless Iraqis, and cost between 3.9 and 6 trillion dollars? That’s the current estimated price tag from 12 years of Mideast of war – 2003-2011- if we include the cost of Afghanistan.
As of 3:59 p.m. EST Nov. 12, the U.S. and coalition have conducted a total of 8,125 strikes (5,321 Iraq / 2,804 Syria).
U.S. has conducted 6,353 strikes in Iraq and Syria (3,695 Iraq / 2,658 Syria)
Rest of Coalition has conducted 1,772 strikes in Iraq and Syria (1,626 Iraq / 146 Syria)
The countries that have participated in the strikes include:
In Iraq: (1) Australia, (2) Belgium, (3) Canada, (4) Denmark, (5) France, (6) Jordan, (7) The Netherlands, and (8) UK
In Syria: (1) Australia, (2) Bahrain, (3) Canada, (4) France, (5) Jordan, (6) Saudi Arabia, (7) Turkey and (8) UAE
As of Nov. 14, U.S. and partner nation aircraft have flown an estimated 57,301 sorties in support of operations in Iraq and Syria.
Cost of Operations
As of Oct. 31, 2015, the total cost of operations related to ISIL since kinetic operations started on Aug. 8, 2014, is $5 billion and the average daily cost is $11 million for 450 days of operations. A further breakdown of cost associated with the operations is here.
As the escalating unfolding of ever more “wars and rumors of wars” continues to mount in the Mideast, some of the most ancient and sacred religious shrines are being obliterated forever. It can only be described as madness and pure human evil to intentionally detonate sacred shrines where people have gathered to worship and find peace for hundreds, if not thousands of years. If the principles being used to justify these horrific acts are allowed to continue to spread in the Mideast, there will come a point soon where not a single historic building, shrine, mosque, archeological site, or treasured historic site in the region will survive.
What kind of insane madman would want to sit on a pile of rubble and reign over thousands of acres of devastated ruins? What kind of religion commands that such atrocities be enacted? The spirit of absolute evil is inherent in these kinds of actions. These are the acts of Godless revolting men who are devoid of all civilized traits. These are acts which are abominations to the human spirit. The souls of these men will have to answer for these acts. Eventually there will be no words which can describe the level of human depravity which misled men will sink to. Only a complete fool would think and plan to make war upon the entire civilized world, attempting to kill any human being which did not convert to “his concept” of Islam, or any religion for that matter.
We live in preposterously deranged times, where the better minds inherent in most men are literally slipping away. When the ‘religiously insane’ begin to make war on the sane, what hope can there be for the future of human civilization?
In this undated photo posted on a militant website that frequently carries official statements from the Islamic State extremist group, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, smoke and debris go up in the air as Shiite’s Al-Qubba Husseiniya mosque explodes in Mosul, Iraq. Images posted online show that Islamic extremists have destroyed at least 10 ancient shrines and Shiite mosques in territory – the city of Mosul and the town of Tal Afar – they have seized in northern Iraq in recent weeks.
Any semblance of normalcy in Iraq that may have been returning in 2011 through early 2014 has been shattered by the sudden attack of ISIS insurgents on major Iraqi cities, beginning with Mosul, which fell to ISIS on June 12th. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi families are being displaced by renewed warring between Sunni and Shia factions of Islam in mid 2014.
“The video, uploaded to websites including YouTube, purports to show Abu Bakr Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State, an Al Qaeda offshoot, leading prayers in the Grand Mosque in Mosul, the site of a devastating military attack by Baghdadi’s forces last month that has helped ignite a Sunni uprising in large swaths of Iraq.
Baghdadi, previously known only through grainy mug shots and audio messages exhorting Sunnis to rise up and fight against infidels, appears as a bearded figure wearing the group’s signature black clothing and delivering a sermon from the pulpit, said to be during noon prayers on Friday.
In the speech, he congratulated fighters for the group, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, for taking over much of the region from the Aleppo area of Syria east into northern Iraq. The group has declared that it is now running an Islamic caliphate in the area it controls, which Baghdadi said was established “after many years of jihad and patience and fighting the enemies of Allah.”