Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘cities/geography’ Category

Rohingya women face violence, rape by Myanmar troops
50% of refugees to Bangladesh are children
By Shweta Bajaj. 2017-11-18

Rohingya women and girls have faced brutalities, rape and violence at the hands of the Myanmar army as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday in a report.

Three days prior, on Monday, Myanmar’s army released a report denying any allegations of rape and violence by the security forces. However, the women in the refugee camps tell stories of gang rapes, assaults and unimaginable violence.

Rohingya camps are full of young women. According to some estimates, the female refugee population is over 50 percent, with many young men being killed in Myanmar, leaving many women widowed.

Sahera Khatun, 18, is in the final month of her pregnancy. She said, in August, when she was six months pregnant, she was raped by the Myanmar military in the same room as other girls.

Soldiers entered and shut the door. They first took our ornaments and then raped us. We shouted for a very long time and then girls from our neighborhood came out to save us and then the military fled,” she said.

The rape left her seriously injured. She wasn’t sure if her child was still alive. Her husband and his friend carried her on a stretcher made of bamboo for 13 days to reach Bangladesh from Myanmar.

“We cannot even fathom the horrors,” Khatun said,

New refugees wait for a space to be allocated in the camp. /CGTN Photo

A clinic run by a local Bangladeshi NGO in a refugee camp has just opened. But the doctor here has a tough task; the queue is long, mostly women.

A patient enters and says she was beaten up by the military – her story is not rare.

There are many like her and women face acute health issues. Over the past few months, they’ve witnessed horrors and suffered physical abuse.

“They are living in unhygienic conditions, taking not enough nutrients,” said Sushant Maula Chowdhury, senior medical officer.

“Their psychological and social [conditions] there is very big imbalance and when there is some heart problem with the mental side, the body also follows it.”

Dr. Sushant Maula Chowdhury sees a patient. /CGTN Photo

Nuree Begum, 55, lost all her family members in the chaos of the violence – her husband, children and grandchildren.

She walked through forests and swam through a river to reach Bangladesh three months ago and has given up hope of finding them.

“Military was coming from all sides,” Begum said, “and there was noise of shooting and bombing.”

A doctor who saw Begum said she is a classic case of depression, but she’s not alone. She and thousands of other women are suffering from depression and have no will to live.

But for these women, who have lived through injustices, reports and governments are neither important nor relevant.

A look at them makes it clear that recovery for the Rohingya women is a distant dream, and being alive is a miracle.

Note: Just heard that China is stepping in to find a resolution to that human catastrophe. Hoping China will step in in Yemen too

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Finally, the government surged into the “No Enter Zone”: Mawkef 7ay al Sellom

الدولة» تدخل «حيّ السلم»: الفقير الكبير يأكل الفقير الصغير!

على عكس ما أشيع، يؤكد أحد سكان المنطقة أن ما جرى تداوله عن ظهور مسلح «عار من الصحة» (مروان طحطح)

بدأ الأمر في الثالثة فجراً. ربما في الرابعة، أو أقل بقليل. حضر الجيش، بطلب من بلدية الشويفات، لإزالة المخالفات في «موقف حيّ السلم». أزيلت المخالفات. صباحاً، ذاب الثلج وبان المرج. المعترضون هم المخالفون. أحرقوا ما أحرقوه، وعادت الأمور إلى طبيعتها. فقراء، وهذا قد يكون صحيحاً، إلا أن المعترضين على المخالفات أشدّ فقراً بكثير

يارا سعد

الناس في حيّ السلّم، الذي يحدث اسمه وقعاً ثقيلاً، ليسوا كما يقال على مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي. هناك آثار حريق في «الموقف» الذي يبدو أشبه بساحة. هكذا يعرّف سكّان الحيّ مكان الأحداث: «الموقف». هذه نقطة ينبغي توضيحها. ما حدث لم يحدث في «حي السلم»، بل في «موقف حيّ السلم».

من يعرف المنطقة يمكنه تمييز الفارق.

رغم آثار التكسير والحرائق على الأرض، وآثار «التعاطف» الطارئ على «فايسبوك»، الناس كانوا راضين. يأملون خيراً.

ظهراً، انتهى كل شيء في الواقع، واستمر على «المواقع». ما قد يفاجئ كثيرين هو أن سكان المنطقة يريدون «الدولة». يؤكدون ذلك.

العبارة ترد على ألسنة كثيرين يؤكدون أنهم مستعدون للالتزام والانضباط. يريدون «الدولة» التي تخلّت عن مسؤولياتها، وتخلّت عنهم، تاركةً الساحة فارغة أمام أحزاب «غير مبالية»، وأشخاص باسم العشائر يأكلون «أخضر الطرقات ويابسها».
سئم الناس المخالفات. الخوّات. البلطجة. غياب الأمن.

من الأكثرية؟ الذين سئموا أم المخالفون؟ لا يحتاج الأمر إلى إحصاء. اجتماعياً، الجميع فقراء. قد ننحاز إلى الجميع، في قياس الأسباب. ولكن، في القانون، المخالفون يتكاثرون.

نغادر «موقفِ حيّ السلم» كما دخلناه: لا مسلّحين ولا جيش ولا شيء من خيال «ناشطي» فايسبوك

«ما يحدث يحدث باسم العشائر»، يقول أحد أصحاب المحال التجارية في الموقف: «يفرضون علينا الخوّات وعلى العاملين السوريين أيضاً». كان ينتظر الفرصة ليعلن موقفاً معاكساً لما ظهر على الشاشات: «يأخذون من كل عامل ألفي ليرة عن اليوم الواحد، ويبلغ عدد هؤلاء العمال نحو ستين».

من هم؟ «الزعران»، يجيب. ليس خائفاً. لا يمثلون العشائر، هذه صفة يحاولون أن يلصقوها بأنفسهم. يقول آخر بين كومةٍ من الخراب: «يزعجون الزبائن ويمنعوننا من ركن سياراتنا أمام محالنا، أما المخفر فإنه لا يسمن ولا يغني من جوع».
لهذه الأسباب تدخل البلديات والقوى الأمنية والجيش؟ ربما. حديث الناس مدخل أساسي لفهم المعترضين على إزالة المخالفات. وهؤلاء المعترضون، في الأساس، تبلغوا القرار قبل شهر عبر البلديات.
أسئلة كثيرة يجب أن تسأل عن «تسوية أوضاعهم»، وعن عدم جواز «المساواة» بينهم. وهم، في جميع الأحوال، يستحقون إجابة واضحة عن سؤال يسألونه دائماً: «ما البديل؟».
لكن الناس ضاقوا ذرعاً بالمخالفات، ولا بد من بداية.
الاعتراضات وافرة. مِن أمام محله، يضيف رجل مرحّب بالحملة: «يبنون محالّ غير شرعية على الطرقات العامة ويؤجّرونها بما يقارب ألف دولار، متناسين أن خلف محالهم المزعومة محال لأناس آخرين». المخالفات كبيرة. والفقراء يأكل بعضهم بعضاً كالسمك. الكبير يأكل الصغير.
ثمة «قطبة» مخفية. علاقات القوة في حيّ السلم لم تعد قائمة على العلاقة مع الدولة. الدولة غائبة. العلاقة تقوم على «الغابة». هناك درجات في «الاستضعاف». الذين ينتمون إلى العشائر يستقوون بهذا الانتماء. لا يعني ذلك أن العشائر موافقة. أبناء الجنوب ليس لديهم «حظوة» في حيّ السلم. وهناك رجل من طائفة أخرى يدفع الخوّات، ويخاف أن يتحدث.
محله الشرعي يقبع قرب محل غير شرعي مهدّم. هل إزالة المخالفات بارقة أمل؟ ربما. لا يملك الناس هناك إلا الأمل.
على عكس ما أشيع، يؤكد أحد سكان المنطقة أن ما جرى تداوله بخصوص الظهور المسلح «عار من الصحة»،
ويقول جازماً إنه لم يسمع «طلقة رصاص واحدة». وثمة من يحب أن يسجّل موقفاً سياسياً: «مع المقاومة حتى النفس الأخير»، ثم يستدرك معاتباً: «كنا نظن أن حزب الله نسينا، لكن الآن بإمكاننا أن نقول حزب الله عاد طالما الدولة عادت».
أحد الواقفين يجد الأمر فرصة ليطالب بـ«سرية لقوى الأمن الداخلي أو الجيش لحل كافة المشاكل وفرض السلطة والقانون».
الناس تعبوا. من جهة أخرى، رفض كثيرون التحدث عمّا جرى، تفادياً «لوجع الرأس» أو تخوّفاً من «أيّ ردّ فعل تجاههم». الحملة ما زالت في بدايتها. في حيّ السلم، تكفي الناس مشاكلهم. المياه والكهرباء والأوضاع المادية وضيق الطرقات والأحوال.
يخشون أن تكون الحملة «غيمة صيف»، وأن يتركوا وحدهم، كما اعتادوا… «بلا دولة».
نغادر «موقفِ حيّ السلم»، كما دخلناه. لا مسلّحين. ولا جيش. ولا شيء من خيال «الناشطين» على فايسبوك.
ما استقبلك ستجده في وداعك: أعلامٌ صفراء وخضراء ترفرف هنا وهناك. دراجات نارية تسير «عكس السير» المزدحم دائماً. على الأطراف سيارات مركونة بفوضى. شرائط الكهرباء المتشابكة تأكل السماء. أكياس النفايات على الطرقات. ألم تجد من يلمّها منذ الصباح؟
تسأل، والناس يسألون «ماذا بعد الحملة؟»، على أمل أن تحل بركة «الدولة» على هذه المنطقة. في حي السلّم الجميع يعترض. المخالفون والذين أرهقتهم المخالفات. الفقر ينسحب على الجميع.

Minorities coloring new maps?

The Epic “Enmerkar and the Ruler of Aratta”

Note: Although the term and notion of Nation is a new fabricated idea, many minorities have jumped to the occasion to wrap themselves with aggrandized entity, going as far back as 5,000 years. They colored new maps with vast swath of lands and attributed them to their “people”. In periods where the most that was done was establishing “city-states” commensurate to feasibility of governance.

Ovig Vartabedian shared this link that I consider a representative example: Ovig believes that the colored Aratta is the ancient Armenia of current Turkey.

In front of me lies a clay tablet. Approximately 4000 years ago, an unknown Sumerian scribe inscribed cuneiform signs on it. The tablet is square, 23 x 23 cm, that is, measures less than a usual sheet of paper for a typewriter.

However, the scribe divided this tablet into twelve columns and contrived to fit more than 600 lines of a heroic poem. This poem can be called “Enmerkar and the ruler of Aratta.

Although the events described occurred almost five millennia ago, the poem sounds surprisingly modern, for it describes an international conflict that vividly recalls some of the techniques of “politics from a position of strength.”

***

Once Enmerkar, “chosen by the bright heart of Inanna,” appealed with a plea to “his mistress, the good lady”:

“My sister Inanna! Make the people of Aratta
Start artfully crafting gold and silver for Uruk and
Bring noble lapis lazuli extracted from the rocks,
So I can sit in one of these museums, in the museum of the Ancient East.”

With these treasures, the inhabitants of Aratta should have decorated the sacred temple that Inanna “chose as her home” and where Enmerkar would pray to his goddess:

“Let Aratta submit to Uruk.
Let the inhabitants of Aratta
Bring mountain stones from their heights,
So that they build a great temple, a great sanctuary.
A great sanctuary, the sanctuary of the gods,
Where they will be forced to recognize my divine laws in Kullab…”

The treasures of Aratta were needed not only to glorify Inanna. Enmerkar intended to decorate Abzu, the sacred temple of god Enki in Eredu, with precious stones for it to shine “like a bright mountain.”

Enmerkar’s intentions were noble and pleasing to the gods. After all, he wanted to subdue Aratta, which was rich in construction stone and all kinds of metals, only for the sake of the gods’ good and glory.

After listening to Enmerkar’s words, Inanna told him to follow her advice and send a wise and eloquent messenger to Aratta with “the great words of wise Inanna as an order!”

She promised Enmerkar that the people of Aratta would kneel before him, her royal brother.

Enmerkar chose a suitable messenger and passed him the prophetic words of the divine Inanna. He ordered him to pass mountains and roads leading to Aratta and repeat Inanna’s words full of threats and spells.

The emissary of Enmerkar set out on his journey and strictly followed all orders of his master, which he had received from the goddess Inanna.

“Intimidated by the might of the great mountains,
He walked along the road, trampling over the ashes.
He overcame five ridges, six ridges, seven ridges.
He looked up and approached Aratta
And joyfully entered the square of its royal palace.
He glorified the power of his king
And respectfully conveyed the words that were in his heart.”

 Here is what Enmerkar’s messenger said to the ruler of Aratta:

“Your father, my king, sent me to you,
Lord of Uruk, lord of Kullaba, sent me to you.”

After such a lofty answer to the question of the ruler of Aratta about the purpose of his arrival, the messenger of Enmerkar described the power of his master.

He called him “the great dragon of Sumer”, “a ram, whose royal power reaches the fortresses of a mountainous country.” Describing in detail the greatness and power of Enmerkar, the messenger expounded the essence of his message:

“I will put the inhabitants of this city to flight.
They will fly away like birds leaving their tree.
I will put them to flight, and they will fly away like birds fly to another nest.
I will empty Aratta.
I will destroy the city without mercy…”

Having pronounced these threats, the messenger conveyed the demand of Enmerkar, which was to obey Uruk and pay tribute.

However, the ruler of Aratta also declared himself the favorite of Inanna and said that Saint Inanna, the “queen of the heavens and the earth”, “the mistress of all divine laws,” patronized Aratta.

So he refused to yield to Enmerkar.

Then, the messenger unveiled that it had been Inanna who had promised Enmerkar domination over Aratta.

“The ruler was depressed and grieved deeply.
He did not know what to answer.
He searched for a reply for a long time.
He then looked at his feet with a darkened look and found the answer. “

***

Damaged in some places, the text on the plate makes it difficult to understand some spots that clearly contradict each other. In one section, the ruler of Aratta proposes to solve the issue by dueling two soldiers representing their countries. In another, he is ready to submit to Enmerkar, since Inanna deprived him of her mercy, “took back her word”, but on condition that Enmerkar sends him grain.

“Having listened to the answer of his messenger and having performed a series of magical rites, Enmerkar asked the goddess of wisdom, “omniscient Nidabe”, for help and advice. Then, he loaded animals with grain and sent them through seven mountains.

The caravan was led by the envoy of Enmerkar, who was commissioned to deliver a speech glorifying Enmerkar’s power and demand carnelian and lapis lazuli from the ruler of Aratta”.

From this and the next fragment of the poem, it appears that (if we correctly understand the text) in the second and third trip, the messenger was carrying a tablet with the demands of his king rather than a verbal order.

“The ruler of Aratta received the messenger in the square in front of his palace. The people of Aratta, delighted by the fact that they had received grain, agreed to give Emmerkar carnelian and instructed their elders to build a temple for him.

However, the ruler of Aratta objected. In turn, proclaiming his own power and glory, he put exactly the same conditions with the same words from the message of Enmerkar, that is, demanded carnelian and lapis lazuli.

Upon learning this, Enmekar again turned to the gods and various oracles for advice and performed all sorts of magical rites.

Then, the king of Uruk sent the third envoy to Aratta.

However, instead of an answer, he handed him his scepter. The sight of this symbol of power for some reason caused the ruler of Aratta to tremble.

Terrified, the ruler of Aratta consulted with his shatamm (adviser) and bitterly complained about the plight in which Inanna’s disgrace had set his city.

Nevertheless, although he was at first inclined to fulfill Enmerkar’s demands, later, for reasons unknown to us, he changed his mind and again suggested one of Enmerkar’s people to face his “man”. Thus, “it would become clear who was stronger”.

In response, Enmerkar sent his forth envoy to Aratta. He accepted the challenge of the ruler of Aratta but continued to demand gold, silver, and precious stones for the temple of the goddess Inanna. Otherwise, he threatened to raze Aratta.”

At this point, we find the second mention of some unknown record. As the researchers believe, Enmekar, fearing that his messenger would not be able to repeat the long a message, handed him a tablet with text.

“While the messenger waited for the answer of the ruler of Aratta, the Sumerian god of rain and thunderstorms Ishkur brought wild wheat and some other grains to Aratta.

At the sight of the wheat, the sorrowful ruler of Aratta cheered up and said that Inanna hadn’t turned away from Aratta and “hadn’t left her house of lapis lazuli.”

Because of lapses in this part of the epic and especially because of the damage to the next, it is impossible to understand the further course of events, which resulted in the people of Aratta granting gold, silver, and lapis lazuli to Inanna and bringing it all to the courtyard of the temple of the goddess in Uruk.

Excerpts from the book Belitsky Marian – “Sumerians. The Forgotten World … ” – in Russian
Excerpts Kramer Samuel – “The story begins in Sumer …” – in Russian

Note: Kingdom of Sumer is the oldest civilization in Middle-East (4,000 BC) known by archaeologists who decoded its writing. Its theology, traditions and customs spread and were adopted by the successive kingdom in the region.

A defunct history

Uneasy Alliance Gives Insurgents an Edge in Iraq

ERBIL, Iraq — Meeting with the American ambassador some years ago in Baghdad, Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki detailed what he believed was the latest threat of a coup orchestrated by former officers of Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party.

Don’t waste your time on this coup by the Baathists,” the ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, chided him, dismissing his conspiracy theories as fantasy.

Now, though, with Iraq facing its gravest crisis in years, as Sunni insurgents have swept through northern and central Iraq, Mr. Maliki’s claims about Baathist plots have been at least partly vindicated.

While fighters for the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, once an offshoot of Al Qaeda, have taken on the most prominent role in the new insurgency, they have done so in alliance with a deeply rooted network of former loyalists to Saddam Hussein.

The involvement of the Baathists helps explain why just a few thousand Islamic State in Iraq and Syria fighters, many of them fresh off the battlefields of Syria, have been able to capture so much territory so quickly.

It sheds light on the complexity of the forces aligned against Baghdad in the conflict — not just the foreign-influenced group known as ISIS, but many homegrown groups, too.

And with the Baathists’ deep social and cultural ties to many areas now under insurgent control, it stands as a warning of how hard it might be for the government to regain territory and restore order.

Photo

Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri Credit Karim Sahib/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Many of the former regime loyalists, including intelligence officers and Republican Guard soldiers — commonly referred to as the “deep state” in the Arab world — belong to a group called the Men of the Army of the Naqshbandia Order, often referred to as J.R.T.N., the initials of its Arabic name.

The group announced its establishment in 2007, not long after the execution of Mr. Hussein, and its putative leader, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, was one of Mr. Hussein’s most trusted deputies and the highest-ranking figure of the old regime who avoided capture by the Americans.

Referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria’s fighters, Michael Knights, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has researched the Naqshbandia group, said, “They couldn’t have seized a fraction of what they did without coordinated alliances with other Sunni groups.”

In some areas under militant control, including areas around Mosul, Kirkuk and Tikrit, he said, “there are definitely pockets where the Naqshbandias are wearing the pants.”

Graphic: In Iraq Crisis, a Tangle of Alliances and Enmities

Mr. Douri, the king of clubs in  decks of cards given to American forces in 2003 to identify the most-wanted regime leaders, is a mysterious figure, so furtive he was even declared dead in 2005.

It is believed that he is still alive today — he would be in his early 70s — although even that is uncertain.

After the American invasion he was said to have fled to Syria, where he reportedly worked with Syrian intelligence to restore the Baath Party within Iraq and led an insurgency from there that mainly targeted American interests.

“He’s a great totem of the old regime,” Mr. Knights said. “You need that kind of individual to keep the flame going.”

The role the Baathists are playing in the current uprising justifies not only Mr. Maliki’s suspicions, but also the longstanding concerns of American intelligence officers.

As American forces were winding down operations in Iraq, they frequently predicted that the Baathists were well positioned to exploit Sunni grievances and mount a violent challenge to the government.

Iraq’s Factions and Their Goals

The goals of of the three main groups in Iraq — Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish — as the country threatens to split apart along sectarian lines.

Analysts say the former regime figures, whose group combines strands of Islamic thought with notions of Arab nationalism typical of Baath ideology, are bedfellows with the Islamist extremists in one respect: Both sides are determined to restore Sunni rule to Iraq and rid the country of what they see as the pernicious influence of Iran, which like Iraq has a Shiite majority.

Like the extremists, the former regime figures have won sympathy from ordinary Sunnis who are alienated by Mr. Maliki’s sectarian policies.

“Our problem is with Maliki, and we will take him down and anyone that stands next to him,” said Abu Abid al-Rahman, a Naqshbandia leader in northern Iraq, in an interview.

He added: “We want to control the land all the way to Baghdad to take down Maliki’s government and to end the Iranian influence in Iraq. What is happening in Iraq today is a result of Maliki’s sectarian policy in Iraq.”

The Iraq-ISIS Conflict in Maps, Photos and Video

Since seizing Mosul on June 10, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been attacking towns along the main highway heading south, coming closer and closer to the capital. Related Maps and Multimedia » Related article »

Key Towns attacked Bomb attacks

Miles from

Central Baghdad

Several clashes occurred at the outskirts of Samarra, where Shiite militiamen have been sent to protect the Al-Askari Shrine.

The Iraqi army retook control of Ishaqi and Muqdadiya on June 14. In Muqdadiya, a Shiite militia assisted the government forces.

Militants took control of several neighborhoods in Baquba on June 16 but were repulsed by security officers after a three-hour gun battle. Later, 44 Sunni prisoners were killed in a government-controlled police station.

At least five bomb attacks occurred in Baghdad, mainly in Shiite areas, in the week after the rebel group took Mosul. The bodies of four young men were found shot on June 17 in a neighborhood controlled by Shiite militiamen.

Falluja and many towns in the western province of Anbar have been under ISIS control for about six months.

Having occupied crucial sections of Syria over the past year and more recently seizing vast areas of Iraq, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria controls territory greater than many countries and now rivals Al Qaeda as the world’s most powerful jihadist group. Related Maps and Multimedia » Related article »

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Sunni militant group that last week staged a stunning operation to seize Iraq’s second largest city, has been fueling sectarian violence in the region for years. Related Maps and Multimedia » Related article »

Sources: Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (attack data); Congressional Research Service; Council on Foreign Relations; Long War Journal; Institute for the Study of War

Note: Before 2011, less information was available on who was responsible for attacks, so the number of ISIS attacks from 2004 to 2010 may be under-counted.

Sources: Global Terrorism Database, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (attack data); Congressional Research Service; Council on Foreign Relations; Long War Journal; Institute for the Study of War

 After sweeping across the porous border from Syria to overrun Mosul, insurgents aligned with the jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria continued to press south down the main north-south highway toward Baghdad. Related Maps and Multimedia » Related article »

 The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has vowed to establish a caliphate — a unified Islamic government ruled by a caliph, someone considered to be a successor to Muhammad’s political authority — stretching from western Syria across Iraq to the eastern border with Iran. This map shows the boundaries envisioned by the ISIS.
Related Maps and Multimedia »Many of the Iraqi cities that have been attacked and occupied by militants in recent days were also the sites of battles and other major events during the Iraq War. Related Maps and Multimedia »
Then: American forces took control of Mosul in April 2003. What followed was a period of relative peace until mid-2004 when periodic insurgent attacks flared, resulting in a large-scale battle in November. The death toll reached dozens, including a number of Iraqi soldiers who were publicly beheaded.Related Article »
Now: In perhaps the most stunning recent development, Sunni militants drove Iraqi military forces out of Mosul on June 10, forcing a half-million residents to flee the city. Iraqi soldiers reportedly dropped their weapons and donned civilian clothing to escape ISIS insurgents.
MosulMoises Saman for The New York Times
Then: Falluja played a pivotal role in the American invasion of Iraq. It was the site of a number of large-scale battles with insurgents. In April 2003, it became a hot bed for controversy when American soldiers opened fire on civilians after claiming they had been shot at.
Incessant fighting left the city decimated, leveling a majority of its infrastructure and leaving about half its original population. Related Article »
Now: Sunni militants seized Falluja’s primary municipal buildings on Jan. 3. The takeover came as an early and significant victory for the group, initiating a slew of attacks south of the city.
FallujaMax Becherer for The New York Times

Tikrit

Tikrit Iraq
Then: The home of Saddam Hussein, Tikrit became the target of an early American military operation during the Iraq war. Securing it proved cumbersome, however, as insurgents mounted continued attacks on the city for years afterward.
On Dec. 14, 2003, Hussein was found hiding in an eight-foot deep hole, just south of Tikrit. Related Article »
Now: Tikrit fell to ISIS insurgents on June 11, clearing a path for them to march on to Baiji, home to one of Iraq’s foremost oil-refining operations. After taking the city in less than a day, militants continued the fight just south, in Samarra.
TikritChang W. Lee/The New York Times

Samarra

Samarra Iraq
Then: Samarra is home to the Askariya shrine, which was bombed in 2006, prompting an extended period of sectarian violence across the country. Related Article »
Now: After an initial attack on June 5, ISIS insurgents have now positioned themselves just miles away from Samarra. It is unclear whether they are capable of capturing the city in the coming days, but the Shiite shrine makes it a volatile target.
SamarraAyman Oghanna for The New York Times

A look at the goals of of the three main groups in Iraq — Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish — as the country threatens to split apart along sectarian lines. Related Maps and Multimedia »

 The insurgents, originating in Syria, moved through Iraq’s Sunni-dominated north and west, occupying cities and towns surrendered by Iraqi soldiers and police. They have largely avoided the Kurd-dominated northeast, but have threatened to march on to Baghdad and into the Shiite-dominated areas of the south.
Related Maps and Multimedia »The United Nations estimates that at least 500,000 Iraqis were displaced by the takeover of Mosul. Food supplies are low and there is limited fresh water and little electricity. An additional 430,000 people were displaced by fighting In Anbar Province, which insurgents have controlled for more than six months. Related Maps and Multimedia »

Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
An Iraqi family, one of thousands who have fled Mosul for the autonomous Kurdish region, walks past tents at a temporary camp.

Background on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, the Islamist group that appears to be in control of the second largest city in Iraq. Related Maps and Multimedia »

Rekan al-Kurwi, a tribal leader in Diyala Province, where both groups have been operating, said: “ISIS are extremists and strangers. The Naqshbandias are not strangers. We know most of them. In some areas that ISIS has taken they are killing our people, they are imposing their Islamic laws on us. We do not want that, and the Naqshbandias are not doing this. They have a good strategy in cooperating with the people.”

Last year, Iraq experienced a mini-version of the Sunni uprising it faces today. In that case, the Naqshbandias seemed to be in the lead, directing groups of fighters who briefly seized some territories after Iraqi security forces opened fire on a Sunni protest camp in Hawija, a village near Kirkuk that is a Naqshbandia stronghold, killing dozens.

In many ways that fight, after the Hawija raid, presaged what is happening now. It galvanized Sunni opposition to the government, which is being exploited by the alliance between the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group and the Baathists, who are positioning themselves as secular guardians of Sunni Arab nationalism.

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While they may be allies today in the interest of fighting a common enemy — the Shiite-dominated government of Mr. Maliki — the two sides are unlikely to coexist if they should attain power in some areas. The Baathists, being more secular and more nationalist, have no interest in living under the harsh Islamic law that ISIS has already started to put in place in Mosul.

“We are fighting now with ISIS, but we are protecting Iraq from their religious ideas,” said Abu Tulayha al-Obaidi, a Naqshbandia fighter in northern Iraq, who said the group gets most of its weapons from smugglers coming from Syria, Turkey and Iraq’s Kurdish region in the north. “We will not kill innocent people, or soldiers who put down their weapons. We are like the new brain of ISIS.”

Already, there have been reports that the two sides have skirmished inside Mosul, but the Naqshbandias denied that. Mr. Knights said: “For the moment they need each other. But they are going to fight each other eventually.”

Sources: Institute for the Study of War; Long War Journal

Kurdish Barazani clan seized oil-rich Iraq northern Kirkuk in 2015? Kicked out today

Note 1: Iraq army re-occupied Kirkuk this Oct 15, 2017, the airport, the largest military base and oil fields. The Kurd Not associated with Barazani just handed over Kirkuk to start fruitful negotiations. Iran and Turkey closed borders with Barazani tribe of Kurdistan and Irbil civilian airport is closed

Note 2: Barazani Father tried to establish a Kurdistan in the 70’s and formed an army of 100,000. Once Saddam and the Shah of Iran reached an agreement on their differences, Barazani disbanded his army of Peshmerga. Turkey forced Jalal Talbani to dismantle his forces in the western Kurdish province with city of Sulaymaniyyeh. Talbani died a month ago and he integrated the Iraqi government as President.

Note 3: Kurdish leader, Massoud Barazani is a ripe fruit going bad, rotting and falling. He obeyed all the orders of USA/Israel. His role is now over, him and the extremist members of his clan.

Joel Rosenberg posted this June 17, 2014 (selected as one of top posts)

Take a good look at this picture taken in 1971 in northern Iraq.

Head of Israel Mossad  Zowa Zamir (1968-76) and future head of Mossad (Nahoum Admoni) and vice Mossad chief (Manahem Naheek Nawoot) are taking a “selfi” with three of the current Kurdish leader such as Massoud Barazani and Mahmoud Othman. 

Othman is in the front center.Massoud Barazani is on the far left and is the current leader of the Kurds in city of Irbil.

‎#لكم_التعليق</p> <p>مسعود بارازاني و محمود عثمان برفقة<br /> "ناهوم آدموني رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي بين عامي 1989-1982"<br /> "زوي زامير رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي لثمان سنين 1976-1968"<br /> و " مناخم ناهيكـ ناووت معاون رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي"<br /> في شمال العراق عام 1971</p> <p>ملتقى البشائر‎

After the current push of ISIS (Da3esh) in northern Iraq and the fall of Mosul, Massoud sent his Kurdish troops to defend Kirkuk and declared that Iraq has been partitioned de facto into three parts and that the Kurdish region will held a referendum for its independence (done this Oct. 2017).

In that period of 2015-17, Barazani exported oil of the Kirkuk fields to mainly Turkey and Israel at low prices, sort of contraband operations, like ISIS in Syria.

Turkey announced it will no longer import oil from Kirkuk and the official border-crossing with Iran are closed.

 

Joel Rosenberg posted this June 17, 2014 (selected as one of top posts)

kurdistan-map(Washington, D.C.) — Could recent developments in Iraq have prophetic implications? Actually, the answer may be yes — especially with regards to the Kurdish people who live in northern Iraq. Let me explain.

As we’ve been seeing in recent weeks, the Radical jihadist forces of the “Islamic State of Iraq & al-Sham” (ISIS) are on the move towards Baghdad. They are leaving a trail of bloodshed and carnage in their wake.

The objective of the ISIS leaders is to topple the Iraqi government, seize control of all of Iraq, establish a jihadist state under Sharia law, and use Iraq to begin a regional — and eventually global — Islamic caliphate, or kingdom.

Now, the Kurdish leaders have taken advantage of the chaos of this moment to seize control of the oil-rich region of Kirkuk for themselves. (see AP story below)

The oil fields of Kirkuk have been a long-standing issue of controversy in Iraq, especially since the liberation of the country in 2003. Whoever controls those fields would control enormous wealth as the oil there is more fully developed and shipped to markets around the globe.

The Kurds are Sunni Muslims, but they are not ethnically Arabs (Few Iraqis are “Arabs”).

Indeed, many Kurds have a deep hatred for the Arabs. Several decades ago, the world create a special, protected, autonomous region for the Kurds in the north region of Iraq, after Saddam Hussein repeated attacked and tried to destroy the Kurds, including with the use of chemical weapons.

Ultimately, many Kurds want to create an independent country of their own, uniting Kurds living in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Yet each of those national governments strongly oppose the creation of an independent Kurdistan.

What’s fascinating is that the modern Kurdish people were known in ancient times (during Roman Empire) as the Medes. Here is where things get interesting.

(The following part is an amalgam of lucubration and insane religious excerpts, sort of Zionism exploiting every opportunity to spread its hubris “propaganda”)

Bible prophecy indicates that in the End Times, as we get closer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, God will allow the Medes to gain power, even as the Lord allows the Arabs (there were No such things as “Arabs” at these periods) to gain power and rebuild the kingdom of Babylon in the heart of Iraq.

The Book of Revelation, for example, tells us that Babylon will be the epicenter of evil in the last days of history, and will eventually face the judgment of God.

The Hebrew prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel tell us this, as well, indicating Babylon will be completely destroyed and when the judgment is complete, Babylon will be completely uninhabitable.

Indeed, Isaiah 13:20 says of Babylon, “It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there.”

What’s more, Bible prophecy indicates that God will raise up the Medes — that is, the Kurdish people — to be an instrument of judgment against Babylon. (I guess that’s what USA Bush Jr. did or tried to achieve for 8 years of occupation))

  • Isaiah 13:17 — “Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them [the Babylonians]….”
  • Jeremiah 51:11 — “The Lord has aroused the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because His purpose is against Babylon to destroy it; for it is the vengeance of the Lord….”
  • Jeremiah 51:28-29 — “Consecrate the nations against her, the kings of the Medes, their governors and all their prefects, and every land of their dominion. So the land quakes and writhes, for the purposes of the Lord against Babylon stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitants….”

How exactly will these eschatological prophecies come to pass? It’s too early to say for certain.

But after studying these prophecies, traveling 4 times to the Iraqi Kurdistan region, meeting with senior Kurdish leaders — including Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani — and tracking developments there over the past decade or so, I think it is fair to say we may be seeing some of the prophetic battle lines developing:

  • The hatred of the Kurds/Medes against the Arabs, and vice versa, is steadily growing.
  • The Kurds/Medes and the Arabs are in a continued struggle to control the oil resources that will make either or both of them enormously wealthy and powerful in the End Times.
  • The Kurds/Medes are, step by step, forming into their nation, and possibly their own country.
  • The Kurds/Medes are developing an increasingly effective military force that is able to overpower the Iraqi Arabs at times. (They couldn’t even fight ISIS)

For more on the latest geopolitical developments, here are excerpts from a recent article from the Associated Press, “HOW THE KURDS SEIZED KIRKUK.”

  • “After a decades-long dispute between Arabs and Kurds over the oil-rich northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, it took just an hour and a half for its fate to be decided,” the Associated Press reports. “As al-Qaida-inspired militants advanced across northern Iraq and security forces melted away, Kurdish fighters who have long dominated Kirkuk ordered Iraqi troops out and seized full control of the regional oil hub and surrounding areas, according to a mid-ranking Army officer. He said he was told to surrender his weapons and leave his base.
  • His account was corroborated by an Arab tribal sheik and a photographer who witnessed the looting of army bases after troops left and who related similar accounts of the takeover from relatives in the army. All three spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution from Kurdish forces.
  • “They said they would defend Kirkuk from the Islamic State,” said the Arab officer, who oversaw a warehouse in the city’s central military base. He asked that his rank not be made public.
  • He insisted the Iraqi troops had not planned to retreat before the Islamic state. “We were ready to battle to death. We were completely ready,” he said at a roadside rest house just inside the semi-autonomous Kurdish region.
  • The Kurdish takeover of the long-disputed city came days after the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and other Sunni militants seized much of the country’s second largest city of Mosul and Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit before driving south toward Baghdad. Their lightning advance has plunged the country into its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of U.S. troops.
  • A spokesman for Kurdish forces, known as the peshmerga, said they had only moved in after Iraqi troops retreated, assuming control of the “majority of the Kurdistan region” outside the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.
  • “Peshmerga forces have helped Iraqi soldiers and military leaders when they abandoned their positions,” including by helping three generals to fly back to Baghdad from the Kurdish regional capital Irbil, Lieutenant General Jabbar Yawar said in a statement on the regional government’s website….
  • Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, is home to Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen, who all have competing claims to the oil-rich area. Kurds have long wanted to incorporate it into their self-ruled region, but Arabs and Turkmen are opposed.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s the Arab-dominated government in Baghdad drove hundreds of thousands of Kurds out of Kirkuk and surrounding regions, settling Arabs from the south in their place in an attempt to pacify a region that had seen repeated revolts.
  • During the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the highly disciplined peshmerga swept down from the semi-autonomous Kurdish region and established a strong presence in a belt of largely Kurdish towns and villages stretching south toward Baghdad.
  • But the disintegration of Iraqi forces this week seems to have led the peshmerga to assume full control in areas they have long coveted, further enhancing their autonomy from Baghdad and undermining hard-fought U.S. efforts to bring about a stable, multiethnic Iraq.
  • “To a great extent Kurdish forces had been de facto in control of Kirkuk for some time, but now they’re completely in control,” said F. Gregory Gause, III, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Doha Center.
  • He said it was unlikely the Kurds would seek formal independence from Iraq, however, because such a move would be strongly opposed by neighboring Turkey and Iran — both of which have sizable Kurdish minorities — as well as Washington.

‫#‏لكم_التعليق‬

مسعود بارازاني و محمود عثمان برفقة
“ناهوم آدموني رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي بين عامي 1989-1982”
“زوي زامير رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي لثمان سنين 1976-1968″
و ” مناخم ناهيكـ ناووت معاون رئيس الموساد الاسرائيلي”
في شمال العراق عام 1971

See More

 

Iraq’s Christians are in their ‘darkest hour’ as they face choice of converting or leaving

Cath Martin Posted on July 7, 2014

Christians in Iraq are continuing to leave their homes in large numbers following the ISIS takeover.

Those unable to leave are facing brutality and hardship under the militants, Barnabas Fund is warning.

christians in Iraq

Those still in the areas taken over by ISIS are being told to pay a $250 tax for being non-Muslims, but many of them cannot afford to pay it.

There were harrowing reports in the last week of a man being forced to watch ISIS militants rape his wife and daughter after the family was unable to pay the tax.

Last weekend, two nuns, Miskintah and Utoor Joseph, and three young Christians, Hala Salim, Sarah Khosaba and Aram Sabah went missing on their way back to Mosul after taking orphaned girls to Dohuk for their safety. It is feared they have been abducted by militants.

“Christians in Islamic State territory (meaning under control of ISIS) are clearly in extreme danger,” said Barnabas Fund.

The organisation is providing aid to many of the Christians who have fled their homes since ISIS took over and started implementing strict Sharia law.

Last week, UNHCR said 10,000 people had fled from Christian communities in Qaraqosh, near Mosul, with many of them ending up in Erbil with very few possessions.

Some 300,000 Iraqis had arrived in the Kurdistan region from Mosul’s Ninewa province.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said: “”This is one of the darkest hours ever for Christians in Iraq. Our brothers and sisters are being repeatedly uprooted as the jihadists advance, imposing their brutal version of Islam.

“For those who cannot escape for whatever reason, the situation is even more dire. Please continue to help us meet the needs of Christians who are caught up in this escalating crisis.”

 

 

How France mandated power militarily entered Damascus

Note: France was never accepted by the Syrians as an occupying force and constantly harassed this dominion. That’s why France political institutions hate the Syrian people, and not just any government, and always find excuses to harass Syria at every event.

Effondrement du rêve d’un royaume arabe indépendant

RÉCIT DE LA BATAILLE DE KHAN MEISSELOUN

ORIENT XXI L’ORIENT DANS LA GUERRE (1914-1918) JULIE D’ANDURAIN > 11 AOÛT 2017

La bataille de Khan Meisseloun1 — du nom du défilé se situant sur la route entre Beyrouth et Damas où eurent lieu les combats —

le général Henri Gouraud (1867-1946), haut-commissaire et commandant en chef des armées françaises au Levant, pénétre triomphalement dans Damas dès le lendemain du combat.

Si cette entrée dans la ville des Omeyyades marque pour eux la fin de l’expérience chérifienne en Syrie, elle est surtout perçue comme une simple mise en conformité de la présence française en Orient par un nécessaire retour à l’ordre réclamé par la Société des Nations (SDN).

De ce fait, le combat de la « colonne de Damas » — autre désignation de la bataille de Khan Meisseloun — est vite oublié du côté français.

Mais pour l’émir Fayçal Ben Hussein (1885-1933) et sa famille, convaincus que ce n’est qu’une péripétie dans le cadre d’une guerre pour la conquête du monde arabe par les « Arabes », la bataille perdue devient aussitôt la butée-témoin d’une mémoire combattante douloureuse. Meisseloun se charge alors d’une dimension symbolique dont la résonnance se fait encore sentir de nos jours.

Pour appréhender sereinement cette bataille et ses conséquences, pour distinguer l’histoire de la mémoire, il s’agit non pas d’aborder l’événement sous un angle téléologique (en connaissant la fin de l’histoire), ou pire sous un angle idéologique, mais au contraire de comprendre le processus qui a mené à la bataille en posant correctement les jalons historiques.

UN MANDAT SOUS HAUTE TENSION

Au moment de la sortie de guerre, Français et Britanniques reçoivent officieusement un mandat sur les provinces arabes de l’empire ottoman, alors que les Arabes s’estiment capables de se diriger par eux-mêmes. Entre la fin de l’année 1919 et le milieu de l’année 1920, les tensions s’accumulent : la proclamation de Fayçal Ben Hussein comme « roi de Syrie » en mars 1920, alors que le général Gouraud est arrivé en Syrie en décembre 1919 avec le titre de haut-commissaire en Syrie, met véritablement le feu aux poudres.

Côté occidental la réaction ne se fait pas attendre longtemps. Robert de Caix (1869-1970), l’adjoint civil du général Gouraud, est l’un des premiers à envisager une conquête de Damas.

« Si nous pouvions marcher sur cette ville », écrit-il à un ami aux environs du 12 mars 1920, « après avoir pendant quelques semaines envoyé des émissaires et quelques subsides dans les tribus bédouines de l’Est, surtout si Faysal n’avait pas d’argent de son côté, pour s’acheter des amis, le gouvernement de Damas s’effondrerait comme un château de cartes »2.

Le 25 avril 1920, la conférence de San Remo confirme les mandats. Elle rassure et inquiète tout à la fois. Conscients des enjeux, Fayçal et son principal ministre Nouri Saïd Pacha (1888-1958) cherchent un accord, mais les discussions se figent rapidement. Le général Gouraud récuse l’utilisation du drapeau chérifien et les prières faites au nom du « roi de Syrie » et argue de sa seule autorité, laquelle lui a été conférée par Paris et Londres. Il exige la tranquillité et la sécurité des transports, en particulier autour du nœud ferroviaire de Rayak, l’abolition du service obligatoire qui permet déjà de disposer de 6 000 hommes et le châtiment des coupables des attaques de convois.

À mesure que les mois passent, la tension augmente et devient palpable, d’autant qu’elle est relayée par des rumeurs d’attaques de la « zône3 est » (Damas) de plus en plus fréquentes. Pendant la conclusion des accords de la Conférence de paix, de nouvelles troupes débarquent dans la « zône ouest » (Beyrouth) ; à l’autre bout du territoire, des armes entrent dans le pays par Deir Ez-Zor. Au début du mois de juillet, devant les inquiétudes qui se multiplient, les Libanais repartent vers la zône ouest ; les prix flambent à Damas.

Désormais convaincus qu’il ne s’agit plus de discuter avec leurs anciens alliés, les nationalistes les plus radicaux prétendent résister aux « préparatifs français d’agression ». Le 30 juin 1920, le portefeuille de l’intérieur est attribué à Youssef Bey Al-Azmé (1874-1920), ministre de la guerre qui accélère la concentration de troupes à Meisseloun, oasis à 28 km à l’ouest de Damas.

Au début du mois de juillet, les tensions s’accumulent dans tous les camps. Dans une lettre du 7 juillet 1920, Robert de Caix pousse clairement le général Gouraud à agir « dans les plus brefs délais ». En termes de méthode, cet anglophobe assumé n’est pas favorable à la publication d’un ultimatum car celui-ci, dit-il, permettrait encore aux Britanniques d’intervenir. La présence des colonels Édouard Cousse et Antoine Toulat4 auprès de Fayçal impose cependant de respecter certaines formes. Le 14 juillet, un ultimatum lui est remis en mains propres. Le général Gouraud fait état des doléances déjà connues mais insiste particulièrement sur la tranquillité du transport ferroviaire dans la région de Rayak et sur l’occupation d’Alep, car il est par ailleurs soucieux de pouvoir acheminer des troupes en Cilicie, où les Français combattent également la Turquie.

Deux jours plus tard, Fayçal fait demander des précisions et un délai de réponse de quatre jours. La situation se détend quelque peu dans la ville de Damas. Mais le 20 juillet l’affaire rebondit car il n’a pas répondu positivement aux demandes du général Gouraud.

MOUVEMENT DE TROUPES ET STRATÉGIES DE COMBAT

Aussitôt les troupes se préparent à l’action. Partie de Zahlé, ville située dans la plaine de la Bekaa le 21 juillet à zéro heure, la 3e division du général Mariano Goybet (1861-1943) composée de 10 bataillons d’infanterie, quatre batteries de 75, l’équivalent de six escadrons de cavalerie, une compagnie du génie, 15 chars de combat et une escadrille divisionnaire à disposition de l’armée se met en route. Le Litani est franchi à 4 h 45.

Le but des opérations a été défini au début du mois de juillet. Il s’agit initialement de maîtriser les hauteurs (Sahrat Ed-Dimes), de récupérer la gare de Rayak et d’empêcher que Damas ne menace les troupes. La division doit avancer en deux bonds successifs : d’abord, rejoindre la coupure d’Ain-Jdeideh, en prenant le risque de passer par le défilé de l’oued el-Korn, puis le Sahrat-ed-Dimes. Au cours de la progression vers la zône est, les petits postes ennemis laissés auprès des ponts cèdent tous sans difficulté.

Un temps, le général Goybet croit que l’armée chérifienne reflue vers Damas sans combattre. L’aviation lui confirme que des troupes retraitent vers l’est. Il pense que Fayçal a accepté l’ultimatum. Il profite donc de la situation pour pousser encore plus en avant ses troupes qui progressent au nord de la route de Damas, le long des pentes de l’Anti-Liban, alors même que la chaleur torride épuise les hommes. Il installe son campement à Ain-Jdeideh, dans un immense évasement naturel du terrain qui permet d’installer plusieurs milliers d’hommes et de bêtes.

Fayçal dépêche Sati Al-Housri (1860-1968), son ministre de l’instruction, à Aley, au quartier d’été du général Gouraud. Il obtient un délai supplémentaire d’une journée mais l’ultimatum est maintenu tandis que les troupes françaises continuent à avancer vers Meisseloun, point d’eau important où elles comptent se refaire. À l’annonce de la nouvelle, Damas s’embrase : une émeute éclate dans la ville. Cela n’empêche pas le colonel Toulat de continuer à servir d’intermédiaire entre le général Gouraud et Fayçal.

Le 22 août il rencontre lui-même les commandants des troupes (d’une part le général Goybet et le colonel Gaston Pettelat, le chef d’état-major de l’armée du Levant, le bras droit du général Gouraud ; Youssef Bey Azmé et l’émir Zeid de l’autre) pour tenter de trouver un terrain d’entente autour de cette question essentielle de Rayak, alors que vient s’ajouter une exigence nouvelle : celle de pouvoir désaltérer les troupes françaises à Meisseloun. Le refus du ministre de la guerre chérifien de permettre aux troupes françaises de se ravitailler en eau met le feu aux poudres.

Le 23 juillet, convaincu que la bataille est inévitable, Youssef Bey Azmé fait barricader les routes et miner les terrains autour de Meisseloun. Rassemblant à la va-vite les forces hétérogènes — militaires réguliers, volontaires, cavalerie de chameaux bédouins — que le général Gouraud lui avait demandé de dissoudre quelques jours plus tôt, il aligne difficilement 3 à 4 000 hommes.

Spontanément des milices se sont formées dans Damas. Rassemblées autour de notables damascènes, elles apportent à Youssef Bey Azmé une force supplémentaire sous la forme d’une milice civile, mais celle-ci n’est guère formée au métier des armes. En outre, ces formations hâtivement constituées utilisent un armement de deuxième catégorie. En dépit de la présence de 15 batteries d’artillerie, les Syriens ont peu de munitions (120 à 250 balles par fusil, 45 balles par mitrailleuse et 50 à 80 obus par canon) et une grande partie de leur armement est inutilisable du fait des différences de calibres.

Au cours de cette même journée, le général Goybet a profité de l’attente pour perfectionner ses avant-postes, reconnaître le terrain de l’attaque et rassembler péniblement ses troupes qui dépassent désormais les 9 000 hommes. Le nouvel ultimatum qui porte sur le point d’eau de Meisseloun lui permet de comprendre qu’il faut se préparer à l’attaque pour le lendemain. L’ordre d’engagement des troupes pour le jour J est publié le 23 juillet à 17 heures. Il précise que les troupes chérifiennes semblent installées sur les hauteurs de l’oued Al-Tequieh où elles ont disposé leur artillerie, tandis que les réserves sont plutôt dans les fonds de Khan Meisseloun. Sûr de ces forces, notamment en matière d’artillerie, le général Goybet décide d’attaquer de front les hauteurs en prévoyant une intense préparation d’artillerie qui doit soutenir l’attaque du lieutenant-colonel d’Auzac ; son deuxième objectif est constitué par Meissaloun, opération qu’il confie au général Bordeaux. Dans la nuit, vers minuit, il apprend que les conditions de l’ultimatum sont rejetées par Fayçal. C’est donc la guerre. L’attaque est prévue pour 5 heures le lendemain matin.

ÉCHEC DE LA RÉSISTANCE CHÉRIFIENNE

Le 24 juillet à 5 heures du matin, une immense préparation d’artillerie signale le début des combats. Les forces chérifiennes répondent avec leur artillerie à 5 h 40. Après quatre heures de bombardements intenses, avec des obus de 155 mm qui tirent à plus de 10 km par-delà la montagne, alors que la manœuvre de contournement des spahis chargés de déborder l’aile gauche des chérifiens échoue, ordre est donné d’enlever les positions ennemies à la baïonnette.

Deux lignes de retranchement sont prises successivement, mais les Français avancent difficilement. Le soleil d’été commence à darder ; sur leur promontoire, protégées par leurs mitrailleuses, les forces chérifiennes restent très combatives. Dans leurs rangs, elles comptent un grand nombre d’officiers de la Grande Guerre, des servants allemands sur des batteries de 77, mais elles sont surtout très bien commandées par le général Youssef Azmé Bey, l’âme de la résistance chérifienne.

Leurs positions sont aussi bien organisées que celles des Français, avec des batteries, des tranchées reliées aux postes par des fils téléphoniques. Les combats les plus difficiles ont lieu dans le défilé du Wady Corm, pris d’enfilade par le tir de batteries placées à droite et à gauche de la route de Damas. Dominant les hauteurs, les chérifiens semblent maîtres de la situation.

Soudain un coup de théâtre se produit. Vers 10 heures, passés entre le mur de mitrailleuses et la montagne, grimpant le long des pentes raides, des chars escaladent les positions chérifiennes. Indifférents à l’artillerie, ils avancent sans faille, entraînant derrière eux des éléments du 415 e de ligne, des Algériens et des Sénégalais.

Quittant la route, ils débouchent sur les batteries de 77 qui ne cessent de tirer en contrebas. Quelques obus de chars projetés sur les caisses de munitions suffisent à les réduire. Azmé Bey qui les commandait est foudroyé par un éclat d’obus de 37 tiré pratiquement à bout portant. V

êtu avec élégance, impeccablement chaussé de bottes souples vernies, il est venu au combat avec des gants blancs en peau de chamois. Sa mort sonne le glas de la résistance chérifienne. À 11 heures, les combats s’achèvent. Outre le corps d’Azmé Bey, les chérifiens affichent un taux de pertes (tués et blessés) de plus de la moitié des combattants. Ils perdent également 15 canons, 40 mitrailleuses et leurs munitions.

Côté français, selon le rapport du général Goybet, les pertes font état de 42 tués, 152 blessés et 14 disparus pour la période du 21 au 25 juillet. Dès le lendemain, sans perdre un instant, ses troupes pénètrent dans Damas, la ville des Omeyyades.

Cette bataille brise le rêve des nationalistes panarabes. Tandis qu’Azmé Bey est enterré par les troupes françaises avec les honneurs militaires dus à son rang, c’est l’affolement général à Damas. Les princes hachémites se sont enfuis de la ville, dans un train blindé dit-on, mais Fayçal, pensant un temps pouvoir reprendre les négociations, revient quelques jours plus tard.

Après l’avoir déclaré persona non grata en Syrie, le général Gouraud lui demande de partir. Fayçal Ben Hussein quitte Damas le 27 juillet, se réfugie d’abord à Caïffa avant de prendre la route du Hedjaz5.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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