The news of an impending military initiative to liberate Mosul, Iraq from the Islamic State reportedly led a high-ranking jihadist commander to attempt a mutiny against the terrorist organization, one that failed and left dozens of jihadists dead.
Reuters reports of the affair, in which a man identified only as “a local aide of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi” is said to have led a rebellion, clandestinely purchasing weapons in a plot to overthrow the local Islamic State political-terrorist structure, allowing the Iraqi government to retake the nation’s second largest city.
The news organization cites Hisham al-Hashimi, “an expert on IS affairs that advises the government in Baghdad,” as speaking to five different eyewitnesses, who all shared the same story regarding the failed ambush on the group. Hashimi says the witnesses claimed that one of the conspirators was caught trafficking in arms, and eventually gave up all his co-plotters. Islamic State terrorists drowned 58 people believed to be involved in the plot and have refused to return the bodies to the families, according to the report.
The Iraqi government has issued a statement apparently attempting to use the failed plot as a morale boost for its troops, particularly at a time in which the battle for Mosul seems far from organized. “This is a clear sign that the terrorist organization has started to lose support not only from the population, but even from its own members,” Iraqi Counter-terrorism Service spokesman Sabah al-Numani told Reuters.
The potential for an uprising within Mosul against the Islamic State may be heartening as plans by governments outside of the city to recapture it appear to be in flux, by the most optimistic standards. Paramount among the concerns for discord among anti-Islamic State parties is the growing tension between the governments of Turkey and Iraq. The Turkish government has insisted that it will play a role in the liberation of Mosul, something the Shiite government in Baghdad resolutely opposes. Both governments have angrily summoned each other’s ambassadors to protest their opposition to each other.
On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan once again asserted that nothing would stop the Turkish military from entering Mosul. “We are determined to take our place in the coalition forces for the sake of Iraq’s unity and solidarity in Iraq. If the coalition forces do not want Turkey, then we will put our Plan B into force,” Erdogan said, without specifying what “Plan B” would consist of.
“If that also does not work, then our Plan C will go into force. The Turkish state is not a tribalistic state. Everyone should know this,” he continued.
Earlier in the week, Erdogan condemned Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi for “insulting” him and warned him to “know your limits.” “You are not my collocutor. Even you are not in my quality, my level,” he asserted, adding, “The Turkish military will enter Mosul.”
Abadi had previously said that Turkish troops “will not be allowed to participate in the liberation of Mosul under any circumstances.”
On Friday, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim Jaafari echoed this sentiment. “While our sovereignty is violated, our options are open, and no one can limit them,” Jaafari said. “We will take all the options. And if diplomacy fails, we will take international and legal ways.”
A report from earlier in the week quoted an unnamed Iraqi official stating that Shiite militias would attack the Turks if they attempted to aid in attacking the Islamic State.