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Governorate of Ninava
Number of copies 751
Dated June, 06, 2014
To all departments of the governorate
Prevention preparations
Due to critical circumstances in the governorate and since we are convinced that army is not capable to face and confront the mujahideen we order all departments and governmental establishments within the governorate to follow below instructions and advices:
1- destroy all contracts and documents relevant to procurements within your department
2- burn all documents with governor’s name or signature
3- employees must not confront the mujahideen and they have to run away
4- don’t move away or hide vehicles, machineries and heavy equipments
5- in case of facing mujahideen it is prohibited to confront them in order to save lives and properties
6- it’s prohibited to have mobile phone under all circumstances
7- minimize night shift surveillance in order to save lives
Those who will not strictly follow instructions will be severely punished, expelled and followed by security committee of the governorate
For immediate execution
Atheel Abdulaziz Alnujaifi
Governor of Ninava

“Mujahideen” is not a word used to describe an enemy.  It’s rather like “freedom fighter”, a word glorifying men at arms.  In the vicinity of Mosul, which is where the above letter was promulgated by Governor Atheel Abdulazziz Alnujaifi, “enemy” would be referred to, as they are elsewhere, as “terrorists”.

The mid-January attempted assassination of Iranian spy chief General Qassem Soleimani, Commander and Chief of the Al Qods Brigades reported by Debka today may have some relationship to the above “stand-down” letter issued to military personnel by the mayor of Mosul shortly before the Islamic State’s lightning assault on Iraq.

Working on the red-brown-green theme and related political psychology in this blog  has been like watching a sea monster rise from the deep.  At first, the waters are obviously troubled and for apparent reasons — the middle east conflict, anti-Semitism, related Solidarity organizations, the calumny of the UN, and so on — but then the black mass of alliances starts to appear — that International Club of Bad Little Boys: Putin-Assad-Khamenei; Putin-Orban; Putin-Erdogan — and then a little later more data starts pushing up through the roiled surface:

In the eyes of most Iraqis, their country’s best ally in the war against the Islamic State group is not the United States and the coalition air campaign against the militants. It’s Iran, which is credited with stopping the extremists’ march on Baghdad.


Of course: Iran’s despot may have been holding the reins not only on Shiite extremist interests, like those of Hezbollah, but Sunni extremist operations as well, like those of Hamas, al-Nusra, and the Islamic State.

It has been a complaint out of the Syrian Revolution (2011) cum Civil War (afterward) that while Assad was barrel bombing the hell out of assorted noncombatants — not to mention sniping babies in the womb — his air force was standing off the positions of the al-Qaeda-type organizations, essentially removing the moderate middle from the field and leaving on the field to fights in its place “the terrorists” — the real ones (reference for that thought: Aboud Dandachi‘s The Doctor, The Eye Doctor, and Me, published early in 2014).

Debka has posted another article already this month combing over the Islamic State’s targeting of Iranian top officers in its area of contest and control:

The Al Qaeda-ISIS force was made up entirely of Saudi jihadis.
When these three episodes are examined in context, the Islamic State’s current modus operandi takes shape, as outlined here by DEBKAfile’s military analysts:

It starts with the detailed tracking of the movements of targeted commanders and staff, followed by the penetration of spies, usually locals converted to the jihadist philosophy, to their staffs. These moles keep their bosses in ISIS abreast of the targeted commanders’ movements, time tables, staff aides and the forces assigned to their security.

“ISIS kills Iranian elite Qods unit commander in Iraq, reports deaths of 555 Iranian officers.”  Debka, January 13, 2015.

If one is a child of the public left scribbling with crayons, “Saudi jihadis” conflates Baghdadi’s operation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, but all who track these wars know that “Saudi jihadis” are as much after the Saudi king as anyone else who gets in their way, and with that in mind, they are leagued naturally with the Ayatollah.  One then might ask, what keeps them, if anything, from taking Ali Khamenei’s money when offered?  And in the medieval mode: they may not know where the influence and money are coming from if the same presenting before them are agents provocateur.

While in a healthy society, the sacrifice of one’s own officers would be anathema — and cause for revolution, bloody housekeeping, or dissolving of an entire army — in a state commanded by a piratical malignant narcissist, such a sacrifice for the greater cause of the leader’s aggrandized image — objective: glorification and immortality — might seem but a small thing, another little bit of political theater and show business.

Over the past year, Iran sold Iraq nearly $10 billion worth of weapons and hardware, mostly weapons for urban warfare like assault rifles, heavy machine-guns and rocket launchers, he said. The daily stream of Iranian cargo planes bringing weapons to Baghdad was confirmed at a news conference by a former Shiite militia leader, Jamal Jaafar. Better known by his alias Abu Mahdi al-Mohandis, Jaafar is second in command of the recently created state agency in charge of volunteer fighters.

Some Sunnis are clearly worried. Sunni lawmaker Mohammed al-Karbuly said the United States must increase its support of Iraq against the extremists in order to reduce Iran’s influence.

“Iran now dominates Iraq,” he said.

http://www.businessinsider.com/iran-has-never-been-more-influential-in-iraq-2015-1#ixzz3Ooudrg10 – 1/12/2015.

Again: I know it sounds absurd: why build or control an enemy?

However, if and as one ventures into the bizarre and perverse aspects of political behavior as tyrants display it — why child soldiers?  Slavery?  Trafficking? — then one may turn on the lights and raise the curtains on the Theater of Realpolitik — and doesn’t this look glorious and good?

Arab commentators believe that recent attacks attributed to Iran against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria’s (ISIS) positions in Iraq show a significant strengthening of Tehran’s efforts to help its allies in Baghdad and Damascus and maintain its regional influence through the fight against the threat of radical Islamists.

Images of Iranian air strikes in eastern Iraq provided the first concrete evidence of direct involvement by the Iranian air force in the military campaign against ISIS. The US military believes that Iran has conducted air strikes against Isis targets in Diyala province in recent days, although the Defense Department insists that it is not co-ordinating any military action with Tehran.

http://www.thetower.org/1354-iran-attacks-isis-in-iraq-to-protect-its-regional-influence/ – 12/8/2014.

What’s being argued is control — not God, not the fate of humanity, not good deeds: control — and what power greater than that to bring out the chessboard, invite a friend to play — provide him with hospitality and sweets or other reward for the pleasure of doing some combat — and play with and against the same at the same time?

Of course, what’s going on with “Daesh” ain’t chess.

At about this place, the appropriately leisured reader — you’re here — may wish to look up “VEVAK, Iraq, Mumford”.

Worlds may be moved from behind curtains and by staged plays – and what is a leader of a totalitarian mission and system if not a master storyteller and producer?

Along the axis I’ve referred to as “Putin-Assad-Khamenei” bring to this story Karen Dawisha’s analysis of the “Moscow Apartment Bombings” (in Putin’s Kleptocracy: Who owns Russia?): inside job, KGB manipulation of public perception, useful “false flag”.

News outlets report broadly attacks against two Iranian generals: Mehdi Norouzi on January 12, 2015 and Hamid Taghavi around December 28, 2015.

How does that happen — two in a row?

How does Daesh (IS, ISIS, ISIL) know who is going to be where and when?

The Debka article also says, “According to our military and intelligence sources, ISIS forces have been able to wipe out 555 Iranian officers in the four months since last October, most of them by means of jihadist hit squads.”

Holy moley!

The news has been disseminated widely but not recapitulated: would another western intelligence service publication please weigh in?

If the figure is not near to true, one may think that Daesh got lucky twice with perhaps an expected complement of “moles”, those untrustworthy others with access to operational plans.

If it is true and Daesh has made casualties of “555 Iranian officers in the four months since last October”, that sounds to BackChannels like ducks in a shooting gallery: the information on their whereabouts has been loose and broad — has to have been — and the moles could be anywhere, possibly everywhere, even at the top.

Additional Reference

The fall of Mosul, allegedly to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is not the military victory it has been made out to be. For a start, as the New York Times and Agence France-Presse report, ISIS gunmen (who faced an army outnumbering them fifty-to-one) were able to occupy strategic positions around the city only after Iraqi commanders ordered their troops to stand down and retreat . . . ISIS, it must be understood, is a nebulous entity with three distinct faces. The first face belongs to the ISIS that exists solely in the media, propagated by a scaremongering Iraqi government on the one hand and a grandstanding ISIS on the other. The second is that of ISIS proper, the very real and ultraviolent successor to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). The third is no face at all, but reportedly a mask worn by the Iranian regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

http://clarionproject.org/analysis/three-faces-isis-who-behind-war-iraq – 6/17/2014.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2012/08/inside-chechnya-putins-reign-terror – 8/29/2012.



Daragahi, Borzou.  “Biggest bank robbery that ‘never happened’ – $400M ISIS heist.”  Financial Times, July 17, 2014.

Choose which to trust: the closed information system or the open one:

“Major General Suleimani is in Iran and in good health and the news that he is wounded is false,” Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian was quoted as saying on Thursday.

The Iranian statement was in response to a report about Suleimani’s injury that first surfaced in the Israeli website DEBKAfile, citing reports from military and intelligence sources in the Gulf. Ya Libnan published a report on the same issue on January 14.

http://yalibnan.com/2015/01/16/iran-denies-that-major-general-suleimani-was-injured-in-iraq-by-isis/ – 1/16/2015.

The Islamic Republic has, for all the blood and treasure shed to date in Iraq and Syria, invested heavily in the managed instability of both countries. Even the meteoric rise of ISIS cannot not significantly alter Tehran’s policy of forging both unity and disunity simultaneously, depending on the local context.

http://foreignpolicyblogs.com/2015/01/12/two-brigadier-generals-in-death/ – 1/12/2015.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Sunday announced the death of Brig. Gen. Hamid Taghavi, who had been training the army and Iraqi volunteers in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad.

One jihadi forum posted an image of the officer standing next to three others, with a red circle around his head and the caption: “A photo of the miscreant Hamid Taghavi who was killed by the men of IS in the region of Samarra.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/12/30/world/islamic-state-claims-killing-of-iranian-military-adviser-in-iraq/#.VLlSGdLF98E – 12/30/2014.

Basiri, Amir.  “When it Comes to ISIS, Iran Isn’t The Solution — It’s Part of the Problem.”  Forbes, October 1, 2014.

Update – February 26, 2015

The more powerful ISIS grows, the more they are useful for the regime

The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad has long had a pragmatic approach to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), says a Syrian businessman with close ties to the government. Even from the early days the regime purchased fuel from ISIS-controlled oil facilities, and it has maintained that relationship throughout the conflict. “Honestly speaking, the regime has always had dealings with ISIS, out of necessity.”

Baker, Aryn.  “Why Bashar Assad Won’t Fight ISIS”.  Time.  February 26, 2015.

Update – August 7, 2015

Westcott, Lucy.  “U.S. Accuses Assad of Aiding ISIS Through Airstrikes”.  Newsweek, June 2, 2015.

Update – October 15, 2015

Sumeri, Haider.  “The Speicher Massacre and Its Legacy in Iraq”.  1001 Iraqi Thoughts, June 12, 2015:

Other survivors swear that they were betrayed. Several theories have risen from the ashes of the catastrophic Speicher episode, many of them pointing to collusion between commanders at the base and local Tikriti tribes. Survivors say that officers at Camp Speicher told recruits to leave the base and head back home on a short vacation, reassuring them that the area was safe and dispelling any doubts they had.

Down the road, local Sunni tribesmen and Da’ish militants were waiting.

The “Speicher Massacre” piece was reblogged — WordPress shares a teaser plus a link back to the article cited —  on BackChannels on June 18, 2015.  The citation belongs here as the field reports synch with the “stand-down” letter from near Mosul.

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