They Will Have To Die Now-mosul and the fall of the caliphate (James Verini):today Iraqi Sunnis worry the Islamic State will end as badly for them as Sicarri did for the Jews. In a 2012 Pew poll, half of muslims surveyed said they believed the end of the world is imminent. In my experience, rates are much higher in Iraq. Can you blame them? are they not, in sense, right already? What else to call forty years of wars and invasions, the death and displacement of millions, the atrocities, the massacres, the suicide bombings, the black flags fluttering across the landscape, if not portents of the Day of Judgement? Or, fucking hell, the day itself?
An extremely powerful & quietly devastating scribe on the stridently savage & vicious 2016-2017 quelling of ISIL from the city of Mosul, Iraq, predominantly by specialized CTS Iraqi troops from then embedded journalist James Verini. Beside an incredibly graphic & deep-delving account of this specific conflict, Verini delivers a withering assessment of the continuing catastrophe & disastrous military intervention & antagonism in the region. He goes even further, with thorough exertions into the countries rich & multifarious ancient history, much of which he cross-threads with the current calamity through this incredible but decimated country. His writing is fantastic, sternly honest if not blunt, but extremely human with a keen aptitude for none-academic details. There is also the presence of poetic qualities, seemingly without intention & naturally resulting on its own accord.
“ ‘We have a new history,’ the jihadi told him. ‘We have the right history.’ ”
Comfortable if not alacritous to explore contradictions, including personal ones & the phenomenon of ‘guilt’, the writing has a wide-open remit, perhaps like the exit wound from a large fresh hollow, shot without warning through a young soldiers head. This is immensely brutal reading, from one of the most violent, bloody & apocalyptic conflicts of the last few decades (described as “one of the most devastating urban combats since WW2”). A ten month siege of horrendous street-to-street – house to house blood-letting & barbarism, hindered & massively complicated by the presence of thousands of civilians crammed into the war theatre. It is some of the most atrocious, tragic & wasteful mega destruction & preposterous suffering, owing almost all its inculcation to the US & Britain’s fantastical folly, falsehood & fabrication for the 2003 war, the grounds of which are now entirely discredited & exposed for the lying disingenuous fiction that they always were (links to the WTO attack, Saddam links to al Qaeda & the utter garbage allegations of weapons of mass destruction). Far from removing islamic terrorism from Iraq, they created & implanted it, firstly with the introduction of al Qaeda (they were totally absent prior to the illegal & dishonest invasion) to Iraq who thrived in the subsequent chaos & carnage that was wrought by the incursion & the shambolic & oppressive occupation that followed. Then came the opportunity for further exacerbation by the notorious Zarqawi, who was considered too extreme & nihilistic for al Qaeda even. So he factionalised & founded his own movement with a dramatic amplification in extreme cruelty & acharnement, mutating the entire landscape with his bloody escalations. Along with a whole mountain range of major’ major mistakes & immensely idiotic inflammatory policies & abuses by the occupying forces, one of the worst & most catastrophic was the uniting of some of the most hardcore terrorist offenders in the US run Camp Bucca. They consolidated, strategized, unified, bonded, networked & morphed in unison into Islamic State, right there in the heart of US captivity, leaving after they had depleted their individual sentences with an entirely new utility, solidarity, motive & movement. They created the very miasma, at even greater intensity, that the US lied about to justify their initial falsified & illegal invasion. The nukes are currently absent, but not too far away, in the corrupt, murderous, tyrannical islamic-fundamentalist-theocratic-monarchy state Saudi Arabia, Trump, Kushner & Flynn have paved the way through back-channels to sell nuclear technology to the terrorist regime of Suad (with Russia conveniently poised to construct the reactors). So we get there in the end with America’s unexplained urge for armageddon enticing apocalypse.
This book is very’ very important, putting so much into perspective & offering such a stark capture of the damage that is being done & its many’ many bifurcations. You can enter, really, from any angle & be stricken by the hugely powerful human drama & all its many implications which are magnified & exemplified here by the medium of war & tragedy. There are many’ many qualities here in this harrowing documentation of disaster, but for certain, if you are interested in the sheer stupidity, fraudulence & indescribably criminality of American foreign policy/military intervention – this book is a major destination on your radar. Verini has enacted an exceedingly important piece of journalism, on an ongoing crisis, in a staunchly potent fashion.
“So I went [Iraq]. I went to tell the stories of Iraqis, a people whom my people had invaded, had very nearly ruined, indeed had ruined in ways, as I would find; a people – civilians, soldiers, jihadis – now living and dying in a newer and blacker war, a war with a foe at whose core was a death cult, yes, a war that emerged from centuries of history, yes, but a war that nevertheless would not be happening, at least not in this way, if not for the American war that had proceeded it. I had to write about this country whose story had been entwined with my countries story for a generation now, for most of my life, so entwined that neither place any longer made sense without the other.”
James Verini, 2019, Oneworld, 273 pages.