11 July 2017
There are uncanny similarities between Islamic State’s siege of the Iraqi city of Mosul – which finally ended on Monday – and the southern Philippine city of Marawi, where government forces have been battling for more than six weeks to break an occupation by IS-backed fighters.
Although Mosul’s population was 10 times larger than Marawi’s, there are many parallels and similarities.
First, Mosul and Marawi – both symbolic cities – were besieged in the run-up to and during Ramadan. Driven by the promise of martyrdom offered during Ramadan, the militants who took part in both sieges vowed to fight to their deaths.
Second, IS fighters placed the group’s iconic black flags along the roads and on tops of buildings in both cities.
Third, IS secured the areas of conquest by blocking roads and booby-trapping them with improvised bombs, as well as by setting up ambushes and deploying snipers to cut down enemy troops.
Fourth, IS raided jails and freed prisoners in Mosul and Marawi, with some joining IS and participating in the conquest.
Fifth, IS attempted to recruit locals in Mosul and Marawi.
Sixth, IS took hostages and executed Christians and government officials, and used others as human shields.
Seventh, IS desecrated churches, non-Muslim religious institutions and other historic monuments.
Eighth, IS seized weapons and commandeered local vehicles and other equipment.
Finally, the attacking IS force was much smaller but overwhelmed by military and police personnel who were protecting the two cities.
… Rohan Gunaratna is professor of Security Studies at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technology University and head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research in Singapore.
ICPVTR / Online
Last updated on 14/07/2017