The Liberation of Mosul

Historic opportunity to completely eradicate Da‘ish
Empowering Weak & Oppressed

Hassan Nasrallah

Dhu al-Qa'dah 08, 1438 2017-08-01

Islamic Movement

by Hassan Nasrallah (Islamic Movement, Crescent International Vol. 46, No. 6, Dhu al-Qa'dah, 1438)

Mosul’s liberation from the clutches of the takfiri terrorists was announced on July 10. On the next day, Hizbullah leader, Shaykh Sayyid Hasan Nasrullah addressed the issue. Below is the transcript of his speech.

What happened in Mosul affects not only the future of Iraq and the Iraqi people, but concerns the future of [all] the people and countries of the region, and the future of the Muslim Ummah in profound ways. There is no doubt that the victory proclaimed on July 10 in Mosul by the head of the Iraqi government and commander-in-chief of the Iraqi armed forces, Dr. Haydar al-‘Abadi, surrounded by military and security officials, is a very big and important victory. Although some want to diminish its importance, its scope, its major character, there is no doubt that this is a very big and important victory, which comes in the context of progression of a number of victories that led to spectacular success in Mosul. The city’s importance cannot be overstated.

It comes in the context of progress and successive victories of the Iraqi people against Da‘ish and terrorism at Diyala, Salah al-Din, Anbar and other Iraqi provinces, that brings us back to the early days, about which we will talk briefly in order to draw lessons. The first days witnessed very heavy and bitter fighting between the Iraqi people and Iraqi forces on one side and Da‘ish on the other, and the rapid progress of Da‘ish that seized several Iraqi provinces until reaching the outskirts of the capital Baghdad. It was three years ago. We all remember this broad surge that was very fast and very violent.

There is no doubt that the affliction was massive for the Iraqis who found themselves facing a sedition wherein the mature is made feeble and the young grows old and the true believer acts under strain till he meets God (from the sermon of Imam ‘Ali). There was a general state of confusion and dizziness, and a feeling of helplessness, paralysis, and widespread despair. The magnitude of what happened was truly colossal, far too big for one to recover from easily.

The fatwa of the religious authorities was published quickly in the holy city of al-Najaf. The fatwa of His Eminence Ayatullah Sayyid ‘Ali al-Sistani, may Allah (swt) protect him, made defense and jihad mandatory (general mobilization until victory) for any individual who can bear arms and fight and made it mandatory to face Da‘ish with all the force (required). And he stated that this responsibility extended to all, and that the one who was killed in battle and in this confrontation would be a martyr in the path of Allah (swt).

This is the place to start our discussion because the fatwa and the religious authorities’ historical call at this time to all Iraqis is the cornerstone and the decisive point of departure of this beautiful conclusion and this great victory. This is a turning point.

Some might ask, why are we giving this fatwa and this stance of the religious authority such enormous significance. This fatwa and this historical stance, what have they brought?

An Iraqi federal police officer flashes the sign for victory as he celebrates the peoples’ defeat of the takførø terrorists who had occupied Mosul for the past three years.

First, they have released the Iraqis and everyone else from confusion and paralysis. Before this fatwa, they did not know what to do and how to react; fight, or not to fight? What was the right attitude, the right stance (from the religious point of view)? Ultimately, it comes down to combat, effusion of blood, to kill and be killed (so one cannot act lightly). In some ways, the fatwa has settled this question decisively and put an end to the confusion and paralysis regarding the [right] stance, saying it is a duty and obligation for all to fight, to defend, to cope. It was only a few short sentences but how great was their historical impact!

Second, it has clearly identified the enemy: Da‘ish, which was originally called the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) about which some have been misled and believed that it was an Islamic movement or an Islamic revolution. Some media outlets welcomed Da‘ish warmly and regarded it as part of the Arab Spring and the popular revolutions, and they cheered, applauded, supported, and assisted. But the fatwa of the religious authority came to declare that Da‘ish was the enemy. It must be fought, and that jihad against it was jihad on the path of Allah, and the one who was killed in this fight would be a martyr in the path of Allah (swt). This fatwa has, therefore, determined the identity of the enemy and the threat that had to be confronted.

An Iraqi man takes a selfie with federal police officers as they celebrate in the Old City of Mosul on 7-9-2017 after the government’s announcement of the liberation of the embattled city from Da‘ish (ISIS).

And third, it made the responsibility to fight it everyone’s responsibility. The fatwa was not addressed only to Shi‘is. It turned to all the sons of the Iraqi people, to all the Iraqi people, in all its diversity — religious, doctrinal, sectarian, racial — because the fatwa, although its nature is religious and jurisprudential, expresses deep truth, taking a humanitarian, moral, and patriotic stance that applies to every citizen of Iraq. And so the responsibility rested on all and the call was made to all.

Fourth, the fatwa raised the ceiling of confronting this threat and it decided the aspect of this confrontation. Far from any paralysis, or negotiation, any calculation, any discussion of time and any search for solutions here and there, the fatwa awakened the people of Iraq with lightning speed, and it pulled them out of the state of confusion, paralysis, distress, and despair.

The popular and official response to the fatwa was massive. It gave a strong impetus and boosted the enthusiasm of officers and members of the Iraqi security forces, in all its components and denominations. This fatwa mobilized hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, young and old, to join the front lines and engage voluntarily, which led to the founding of the blessed Iraqi People’s Militia (Hashd al-Sha‘bi) that formed early on as the true strength of Iraq and still is alongside the Iraqi forces of which they have become a part.

This is why when we speak today of the victory of Mosul, and of the earlier victories, we must start from there, from the fatwa of the religious authority and its historical call. All Iraqi leaders in their statements and speeches, and any honest person in the world, if he considers the situation in Iraq and is trying to understand, analyze, or present it to the people, must start with this fatwa.

After the issuance of the fatwa, there has been a massive response. First, from the Iraqi government led at the time by Nuri al-Maliki, and this reaction has continued strongly with the government that was subsequently formed under the leadership of Dr. Haydar al-‘Abadi. And all governing bodies have responded in this way: religious, political, parties, movements, and orientations in their diversity. And this fatwa has received broad support from other religious authorities in Iraq, Iran, and elsewhere. And in Iraq also, it received broad support from Sunni scholars as well as Shi‘i scholars. This is a very important point to which I will return during my speech. The popular reaction was very strong, massive, and truly blessed.

Similarly, the decisive stance — we must strive to be factual and realistic and not exaggerate but to be fair and impartial — came from the Islamic Republic of Iran and its leader, His Eminence and Guide Imam Sayed Ali Khamenei, may Allah (swt) protect him, alongside (other) religious authorities, with the Iraqi government and the Iraqi people. The speed of action of the top leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards by their presence in Baghdad, and permanent and absolute readiness to provide any assistance or support from the Islamic Republic proved crucial.

All this happened, but the most important is the popular reaction, the presence of (Iraqi) people, honorable families, clans from all regions, of all affiliations, those who defended their country by the apple of their eyes (their beloved ones on the front line), wives, children, brothers, young, beloved fighters. This is where the real power and real values are. When there are people who respond to this call, this fatwa, this stance, who take up arms and rush to the front lines, this is the true and fundamental force that caused this change (defeat of Da‘ish) and allowed that stance to be embodied at the levels of the human, moral, ethical, the homeland, and history, and therefore to shape these victories.

All this occurred in a regional and international context about which we can say at least that there was a regional and international neglect and abandonment of Iraq, its government, and its people. At a minimum, we must speak of the conspiracy and complicity of certain world and regional powers that have acted as facilitators, founders of Da‘ish, who supported, financed and gave it all the facilities so that it could grab land between Syria and Iraq. They accompanied it in its battle against the Iraqis during the last years. Such was the regional and international situation.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-‘Abadi congratulates Iraqi army officers over their victory in Mosul, 7-10-2017.

What did the Iraqis do? This is important to understand so that the Iraqis and the rest of the people in the region draw appropriate lessons. We must add this experience to the experiences that were conducted in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Yemen and elsewhere in these battles.

First, the Iraqis made their choice by themselves, and they made the decision to fight, to shape their destiny and their future by the struggle and by their own hands. It was the first thing. Second, they did not wait for the Arab League countries, nor the meeting of Arabian foreign ministers, kings, presidents of Arabian countries, or the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation, or the international community, Europe or America, or anyone else. That’s it; they counted on (themselves). They placed their trust in Allah (swt), and they counted on their will, on their men and women, on their blood, on their jihad and sacrifice. Of course, it is a fundamental lesson about what has happened in Iraq for three years so far, and continuing.

Second, they united behind this patriotic choice: the presidency, ministers, the assembly, the government, movements, parties, political forces, in the diversity of their racial and religious affiliations. And it must be reemphasized that many great scholars among our Sunni brothers in Iraq, and Sunni political leaders, had a very special and exceptional position.

Why? Because some have worked, from the first moments of the Da‘ish attack against the Iraqi people, to present the battle as between Sunnis and Shi‘is, which is really too bad — and here the same governments, the same states, the same TV channels, the same personalities, just like they tried to do in Syria and Lebanon, and just like they presented the Yemen war, as their speaker did at the Sacred Masjid [in Makkah] said, how it’s [supposedly] a war between Sunnis and Shi‘is. What has thwarted this sedition, turned it off, and obstructed its way is the sincere, truthful, and courageous position of scholars and Sunni politicians in Iraq, who gave this battle its true dimension saying it wasn’t a Sunni-Shi‘i battle but the battle of Iraqis against the murderers, criminals, and takfiris who attacked everyone, threatened everyone, and shed the blood of all.

Thus unity around this choice and the [massive] entry of all on the battlefield were crucial. That is why the Iraqi armed forces, in the diversity of their names and labels, include all noble Iraqis and their sons joining the battle as well as the forces of popular mobilization, to which naturally belong more Shi‘is because of the demographic component of Iraq, but it is a patriotic and popular mobilization grouping many different denominations. This massive presence of all the components of the Iraqi people on the ground, the clans who fought alongside the Iraqi national forces, etc, it is not simply taking a political stand, words or speeches, but a (very) strong presence in the field.

Fourth, the ground situation and the perseverance on the field, the courage, acts of heroism, especially in the first moments, because the logistics situation was difficult due to lack of resources and the surprise Da‘ish attack was very difficult. Despite major problems, despite the very tough weather conditions, despite the location and geography of Iraq, despite the fact that the enemy was ready and that the friends were not, there were acts of heroism and great sacrifices. The endurance, the sacrifices, the tens of thousands of fighters always ready to defend Iraq on the ground, who have not abandoned the battlefields, thousands of martyrs, thousands of injuries, their families, their patience, their sincerity, their honesty.

The fact that the Iraqi people supported and endured this very wide and total confrontation at all levels, psychological, moral, economic, security… because the fight took place not only on the battlefield, but also in the cities, in villages that were targeted by suicide bombers and car bombs. The fact that the entire people embraced and joined the armed forces, the battles, the jihad, the combat, the permanent extension of the front lines, this endurance and patience during three years of bloody fighting and gaping wounds were also very important for the victory.

And the final factor is the fact that Iraqis didn’t listen to foreign [Western] powers. This is a very important point, from which all people in the region who face threats and dangers must benefit and draw lessons. The foreigners’ role since the beginning has been to undermine the Iraqis’ courage and zeal, telling them that they cannot defeat Da‘ish because the terrorist group is invincible, monstrous, etc. This was meant to generate conflict, sedition, and disputes between Iraqis at the time where they had more need than ever for unity, of keeping their ranks united in the fight against the terrorists; [in this condition] the foreign powers called on them to surrender.

The Iraqis ignored such “advice.” They did not listen to governments, states or TV channels, the latter continuing to support Da‘ish, indirectly. They waited for no one. They began the fight by themselves, persevered and ultimately defeated Da‘ish. The struggle continues.

Here, I would like to remind you of a very important and sensitive issue that deserves close attention. Initially, the US and its NATO allies stood and watched while the people fought, sometimes with bare hands. Much later, the Americans started to say they wanted to help but waited a long time before taking any steps. They said eliminating Da‘ish in Iraq and Syria would require perhaps 30 years. We are talking about presidents, ministers of defense, and CIA chiefs, etc. Then they announced a 25-year timeline, later reducing it to 20 years, but finally settling on 15. The most optimistic US officials said 10 years.

Those who knew Da‘ish, its capabilities and the number of its fighters understood that with the presence of international and regional will and a national will in Iraq, Syria, and in the region, it should not take years to defeat Da‘ish. When the Americans spoke of minimum 10 and maximum 30 years, this meant there was a project, a thought to invest in Da‘ish to use it to implement specific objectives that are not in the interests of the Iraqis, Syrians, Palestinians, or peoples of the region. These are in the interest of US hegemony and to serve Israel’s interests.

That’s why I said this issue deserved to be pondered over. Near the end, the US offered some assistance to fight against Da‘ish. But what is behind this aid? When did it start; what is its extent? We must stop and think because some can say “why are you not honest? Why don’t you speak about US assistance?”

There are currently Arab TV channels that want to present the victory in Mosul as a US success, an American victory. This, of course is a lie, a fraud, a confiscation of the victory achieved by the effort and sacrifices of the Iraqi people. That is why I say to you that we should focus on this issue. For example, when we consider [Donald] Trump’s speech that I mentioned on more than one occasion, in which he accused, and this is true — there are also confessions of other American officials — the Obama administration and Madam [Hillary] Clinton when she was secretary of state, that they created and supported Da‘ish and allowed regional allies to finance Da‘ish. They opened the borders to Da‘ish, bought oil sold by it at various borders: the Turkish and Jordanian borders and others.

So considering the damage caused by Da‘ish, the US bears principal responsibility for all this. So the question is: why did the US come to help? The Americans discovered that their project had failed. That, as the Lebanese saying goes, had put their back against the wall. They went over to the other side and abandoned their creation, instrument and, ally because for the Americans personal interests rather than values, morals or principles are paramount. They wanted to be associated with the victory the Iraqi soldiers were about to achieve with their blood, sacrifices, stamina, and perseverance.

What has happened so far, and up to the victory in Mosul, here are its true and essential factors the Iraqis must uphold. These are their national decision to defend the country, unity, their massive presence in the battlefield, their respect, love and continued eagerness to answer the call of religious authority and their unyielding willingness to make sacrifices, their level of consciousness and awareness, their rapid and effective action without procrastination or delay. These are the decisive factors in achieving the current victories.

Based on what I have just presented, we extend our congratulations first to His Eminence Ayatullah Sayyid ‘Ali al-Husayni al-Sistani, may Allah (swt) preserve him, to all the maraja‘ of the holy city of al-Najaf and all maraja‘ worldwide who supported and welcomed this position and this fatwa.

We also congratulate all Iraqi officials, the presidencies, the government, the Council, all the officials and cadres, especially the leader of the Iraqi government and armed forces commander-in-chief, Dr. Haydar al-‘Abadi, all religious and political leaders, parties and movements in Iraq, all officials from the military and security forces and the popular mobilization (Hashd al Sha‘bi), all officers, soldiers, fighters in this blessed and epic struggle, and all of our dear and oppressed Iraqi people, a tough fighter, whose blood has triumphed over the sword (reference to the martyrdom of Imam Husayn being triumphant over Yazid ibn Mu‘awiyah). We congratulate in particular the families of the martyrs, the wounded, and those who sacrificed themselves for the cause, because the blood of the martyrs and their beloveds produced victory, dignity, honor, future and history, and a triumph in this world and in the other, and here lies the great victory.

We congratulate them all for this historic, divine, and blessed victory, as we congratulate all those who supported and assisted Iraq in this decisive battle for the future. Above all we congratulate Iran and His Eminence the Rahbar and Imam Sayed Khamenei, may Allah (swt) preserve him.

My brothers and sisters, everyone must feel, inside and outside Iraq, that this is their victory. This victory belongs to all the Iraqis. It is also a victory for all the peoples of the region, a victory for all those who fight terrorism, and a victory for all those threatened by terrorism morning and evening, in all of our Arab and Muslim world, and even all around the world.

The liberation of Mosul is a major breakthrough, extremely important and decisive on the path toward the complete eradication of Da‘ish. Mosul was the largest city controlled by Da‘ish and was truly, for them, the center and capital of their self-declared khilafah and it is from there that they announced a new stage in the establishment of the takfiri project that was to be imposed on all the people of this Ummah. That is why the liberation of Mosul is a success in this path and its consequences will be enormous for Iraq, for Syria, and for the states, governments, and peoples of the region and even the whole world.

If we go back three years and ask: if the Iraqis had not risen up massively, if they had weakened and become desperate, had retreated not assumed this responsibility, and Da‘ish had taken possession of Iraq, what would have been the future of all the Iraqi people? Muslims and Christians, Arabs, Kurds, Turkmen, Chebeks, Yazidis, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Sabeans, etc, everyone! What would have been the future of Iraq, its civilization, of all peoples and states in the region?

Even the Gulf states that supported Da‘ish, have assisted and applauded it. Their rulers’ hearts were filled with fear when Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the khilafah from Mosul. For it then became a threat to them as well.

So today, with the victory of the Iraqis, the victory of their fight and defensive jihad is the victory of all, in defense of all the Arab people, of all Islamic people, and all states and governments in the region, and of the security around the world that Da‘ish threatened and continues to threaten. This is a huge and important victory. That is why we hope from our Iraqi brothers, leaders, the Iraqi government, Iraqi parties and movements, and the Iraqi people, as was the case for three years ago, that they not be content with the victory of Mosul. And it is certain they will not be content but their priority must be the purification of the rest of the holy Iraqi territory from this terrorist takfiri bestial presence, this cancerous presence that can take over and spread again.

This presence will not accept defeat easily and will not allow Iraqis to celebrate their victory. It will launch terrorist operations, car bombs, and suicide bombers. This is why the security of Iraq, the safety of Iraqi cities and neighborhoods will be obtained only by the final eradication of this terrorist takfiri organization. Check points, patrols, and security measures are very important, but more important is the eradication of this criminal and murderous terrorist presence, and this is what must remain the priority.

Some will try to occupy the Iraqis with other things instead of this priority that may be important to a lesser degree, but what preserves and strengthens the victory in Mosul and all the victories that preceded and make the victory of Mosul a very solid basis for decisive and final victory is that it remains the priority.

Meanwhile in Syria, fighting continues on more than one front led by the Syrian Army and many forces fighting takfiri terrorism simultaneously. What happens on the Iraqi and Syrian lands, if we fought together, each on his position, his territory and his land, but simultaneously and in concert in this unified front, we will achieve final victory.

So today, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, the people of the region and regional states, frightened and terrorized by Da‘ish, face an historic opportunity presented by the sacrifices of the Iraqis, Syrians, and all those who stood by their side. We must seize this opportunity and not lose it. We must not allow Da‘ish to prepare and regroup, to start again or to provide an opportunity for its supporters to fulfill its needs again. The enemies must discover that the popular, massive, national, and local will is able to finalize these victories, Allah (swt) willing.

Congratulations on this victory to all the poor and the oppressed, and all those who are threatened by this barbaric organization called Da‘ish. Remember what happened in Mosul and elsewhere: one is accustomed to the enemy [Israel, US] going after our people and our families and threatening to kill our women. But that an armed organization goes after its own people, the ones it claims to defend is a new phenomenon that has perpetrated Da‘ish. These terrorists killed people when they wanted to leave Mosul, they shot them in the back. It is something new and unprecedented. Da‘ish is a really terrible model.

Thus, this threat that has soiled the image of Islam, shed blood, attacked civilization itself and served the interests of the enemy never matched before, today with the victory of Mosul, we are faced with an historic opportunity to eradicate it. We must seize this great opportunity.

Source: Media Relations

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