In the fog of war, facts are usually casualties. There are events from wars that happened centuries ago that still are not clear. Sometimes as history unfolds we find the truth, many times we are left with conjecture and the truth slips forever into obscurity.
Iraqi-led forces, backed by the United States military, have reportedly pushed the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) out of its strategic base in northern Iraq’s Mosul University complex. Mosul University, described as formerly one of the largest higher education centers in the Middle East, once served as the jihadist group’s headquarters, makeshift chemical weapons factory, training facility, and killing ground.
Citing the United Nations, the Telegraph reports “radioactive materials” have been found in the university along with chemical agents used to make weapons. The Telegraph explains that ISIS jihadists had transformed a dormitory into a “makeshift chemical weapons factory” after taking agents from chemical stores in the College of Sciences.
“Soldiers were unable to enter, and specialist engineers had been called in to neutralize any potential dangers posed by the chemicals,” adds the news outlet.
The Telegraph notes:
Iraqi Special Forces struck a devastating blow at the weekend to the jihadists, who were using the campus to stage a “final stand” in the east of Mosul, [ISIS’s] last stronghold in Iraq.
After entering the complex early on Friday, troops faced stiff resistance in the form of sniper and mortar fire and more than a dozen car bombs. More than 40 [ISIS] militants were killed and a dozen captured in fierce fighting.
“This was the toughest resistance we had seen so far in Mosul, they were everywhere,” declared Rasous Sabagh, identified by the British news outlet as one of the first soldiers to enter Mosul University. However, the Iraqi private added, “By Saturday they [ISIS] were panicking, they were scared, and some of them had even started to run away.”
Reuters learned from a spokesman for Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) that the Allied forces had “swept through the campus of Mosul University on Sunday to clear it of any remaining Islamic State militants after taking full control of the area.”
“The university is completely liberated, and forces are sweeping the compound for any hiding militants,” CTS spokesman Sabah al-Numan told Reuters. “Most buildings are booby-trapped, so we’re cautious.”
The ongoing offensive to retake the city of Mosul — led by a U.S.-backed coalition of an estimated 100,000 fighters made up primarily of Iraqi security forces, Kurdish Peshmerga troops, and Iran-allied Shiite militias — has been raging since October. Citing Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi of the Iraqi counterterrorism forces, CNN notes that the U.S.-backed forces participating in the operation have also seized parts of the east bank of the Tigris River, which bisects Mosul from north to south.
Taking the eastern bank of the river will allow U.S.-backed Iraqi forces and their allies to begin efforts to take the western part of the city which is still controlled by ISIS. “The latest phase in the bid to retake Mosul has advanced more quickly than expected… The new government complex in eastern Mosul, as well as several Mosul University buildings, had at one time been a headquarters and killing ground for ISIS fighters,” points out CNN.
CTS Spokesman al-Numan reportedly indicated that Iraqi security forces discovered “large amounts of suspected chemical substances and ‘a bomb factory’ at the university.” Moreover, Iraqi federal police, which recently joined the U.S.-backed coalition fighting to seize back Mosul, noted Saturday, that intelligence information led them to uncover a facility used to make chemical weapons in al-Bir, about 27 miles south of Mosul.
ISIS has used chemical arms in the past against the U.S. military, Iraqi forces, and their allies. Losing Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city and the last remaining major ISIS stronghold in the country, could mean bring the end of the jihadist group’s presence in Iraq.
You do not just collect a beaker or two together, start mixing chemicals together and have chemical weapons. The very groundwork needed takes proper mixing and holding containers that are usually specially made or at least difficult to obtain. Then the chemicals themselves used in the weapons are hard to procure in the quantities needed to enable a viable weapons program. One cannot simply order these from Amazon; they come from specialized companies that usually have a tight lid on their inventory.
That means that ISIS obtained its chemicals from stockpiles in Iraq the world now is convinced didn’t exist from the Saddam Hussein era in Iraq or they were procured from an outside source. Iran would not provide them to ISIS since it sees ISIS as a threat and stands to lose more from doing it than it would ever stand to gain. Iran more likely would use them on ISIS first.
Russia would not supply the weapons for the very reason that the arms of mass destruction are usually kept under tight control of Moscow. As a lesson learned from the days of the Soviet Union, it makes more sense to supply the finished product and troops the satellite power dependent on you than to run the risk of losing control of the group.
What about the United States then? The U.S. has historically stated that it does not support deploying chemical or biological weapons to a theater of conflict. U.S military doctrine groups them in with Nuclear weapons and considers using them akin to launching a nuclear attack.
But what about other forces within the United States? The CIA has been known to do some pretty secret things in its past. Or maybe there exists a much deeper possibility. Back when the conflict was first starting, the United States supplied opposition militias with training and supplies to fight ISIS/ISIL in places and manners that U.S. forces just could not do.
Perhaps in the course of this, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Barrack Obama decided that supplying these forces with chemical weapons was an acceptable risk. However, in typical Obama style, the militias were routed and the supplies and weapon making material fell into the eager laps of ISIS.
That does explain one thing; the lack of a response from the White House when U.S. Troops are gassed. Our nation considers an attack of WMDs on its troops as a war crime. In any other administration, the gloves would come off, and ISIS would be turned into a terrible memory under the might of American forces.
Strangely, the White House has remained quiet on these events. Could the fact be that should the U.S. pursue this line of action, that proof would need to be produced? Chemical weapons have fingerprints and no two nations use the same styles or methods–perhaps Obama worries that the arms would lead right to his door.
It stands to reason that the very reason that ISIS continues to use chemical weapons on enemy forces and innocent civilians just lies in the fact that someone in the Administration decided these lives were an acceptable loss to keep the truth quiet.