A masked fighter of Iraq’s government-backed Hashed Al Shaabi militias near the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, on February 18, 2017. Iraqi forces have relied on informants in their campaign to retake the eastern half of Mosul from ISIL and are now preparing for an offensive on the western side. Ahmad Al Rubaye / AFP
A masked fighter of Iraq’s government-backed Hashed Al Shaabi militias near the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, on February 18, 2017. Iraqi forces have relied on informants in their campaign to retakShow more

Informants play key role in recapture of Mosul from ISIL



MOSUL, Iraq // The Iraqi intelligence agent knew something was wrong. An ISIL member working for him as an informant in the city of Mosul had called him on his mobile, but did not identify himself by his code name.

The informant then started talking to him about selling his car. The agent played along.

Days later, the informant called back and explained: the militants had seen the number on his phone and, always on the hunt for spies, demanded he call it. So he did and pretended he was talking to the person who sold him his car.

Iraqi intelligence has about 300 people working as informants inside Mosul, part of an enormous information-gathering operation on the sidelines of the battle to retake the city from ISIL. The informants have pinpointed militants’ positions and movements, warned of car bombs or hidden explosives, and helped fill a list of names of ISIL supporters.

The work is extremely dangerous.

ISIL militants in Mosul are known to kill at the slightest suspicion of espionage. People caught speaking on mobile phones have been shot by snipers or killed and hung from lamp posts. And when Iraqi forces recapture a neighbourhood, informants face getting caught up in residents’ revenge attacks against the extremists.

Iraqi intelligence officials say trust in the security forces among Mosul’s residents has been key to their efforts. However, reports of long, arbitrary detentions of men and boys suspected of ISIL links risks undermining that trust.

During the Mosul operation, intelligence agencies have built a database of about 18,000 suspected extremist fighters. Male residents of retaken parts of the city are checked against the list, leading to the arrest of 900 people so far, the officials said.

The informants have a variety of motives. Some do it for money, since some agents pay for information. Others do it out of hatred of ISIL.

One operative was an Iraqi ISIL member who was beaten because he was caught smoking – a crime under the extremists’ rule.

“That was the first spark,” said a Baghdad-based intelligence official in contact with the man. As time went on, the man grew disillusioned. So he started feeding information to intelligence officials.

Another is a 70-year-old who escaped the militants’ suspicions because of his age, the official said. But after the man’s neighbourhood was retaken by Iraqi forces, neighbours blew up his house in anger at ISIL, unaware he was secretly betraying the group.

After months of fighting, troops have taken Mosul’s eastern half and are about to move into the west. The intelligence gathering effort has been crucial there since Iraqi forces were under pressure for precision to avoid casualties among the hundreds of thousands of civilians still in the city.

On a recent day on the outskirts of Mosul, an Iraqi major involved in planning the western assault scrolled through messaging apps on his phone. The screen was filled with short texts, dropped pins and links to satellite maps. The messages read simply: “sniper position”, “mortar team”, and “Daesh base”.

The major and intelligence officials say the information is vetted and cross-checked. Still, the process has been plagued with problems.

A colonel in the intelligence services said dozens of trusted informants had turned out to be double agents. He recounted one case of one who provided information for weeks about fighters and headquarters behind ISIL lines. Last month, he sent in a tip about a roadside bomb.

The colonel vetted the tip and sent one of his men in Mosul to investigate. The soldier and the source were not heard from again.

“We think the source handed him over to Daesh,” he said.

Another intelligence official said he knew of some half dozen informants discovered and killed by ISIL and still more who stopped sending information, their fate unknown.

Key to success has been the concerted effort by security forces to keep the support of Mosul’s Sunnis, who have resented domination by the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. They long complained of discrimination and of abuses by security forces, something that helped fuel the rise of ISIL. During the Mosul offensive, troops have gone out of their way to help residents and prevent sectarian tensions.

On a recent operation in eastern Mosul, Lt Col Muhanad Al Timimi and his men were greeted warmly by residents of the Andalus neighbourhood. They went door to door asking about ISIL militants.

One resident, Muhammed Ghanim, led the soldiers to a house with a pile of mortars in the garden. “This was where they had their base,” he said.

Another, Amar Baroudi, gave the soldiers tea – and names of more than 20 Iraqis fighting for ISIL.

“These people were ignorant and very cruel to us,” he said of the militants. “Now I’m proud to help the security forces find them and punish them.”

* Associated Press

EMIRATES'S REVISED A350 DEPLOYMENT SCHEDULE

Edinburgh: November 4 (unchanged)

Bahrain: November 15 (from September 15); second daily service from January 1

Kuwait: November 15 (from September 16)

Mumbai: January 1 (from October 27)

Ahmedabad: January 1 (from October 27)

Colombo: January 2 (from January 1)

Muscat: March 1 (from December 1)

Lyon: March 1 (from December 1)

Bologna: March 1 (from December 1)

Source: Emirates

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Brief scores:

Toss: Northern Warriors, elected to field first

Bengal Tigers 130-1 (10 ov)

Roy 60 not out, Rutherford 47 not out

Northern Warriors 94-7 (10 ov)

Simmons 44; Yamin 4-4

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 666hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 850Nm at 2,300-4,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
On sale: Q1 2023
Price: from Dh1.15 million (estimate)

The specs

Engine: 2.0-litre turbo 4-cyl

Transmission: eight-speed auto

Power: 190bhp

Torque: 300Nm

Price: Dh169,900

On sale: now

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

The specs: 2019 BMW X4

Price, base / as tested: Dh276,675 / Dh346,800

Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged in-line six-cylinder

Transmission: Eight-speed automatic

Power: 354hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque: 500Nm @ 1,550rpm

Fuel economy, combined: 9.0L / 100km

SPECS

Engine: Two-litre four-cylinder turbo
Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now

Profile

Name: Carzaty

Founders: Marwan Chaar and Hassan Jaffar

Launched: 2017

Employees: 22

Based: Dubai and Muscat

Sector: Automobile retail

Funding to date: $5.5 million

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Infobox

Western Region Asia Cup Qualifier, Al Amerat, Oman

The two finalists advance to the next stage of qualifying, in Malaysia in August

Results

UAE beat Iran by 10 wickets

Kuwait beat Saudi Arabia by eight wickets

Oman beat Bahrain by nine wickets

Qatar beat Maldives by 106 runs

Monday fixtures

UAE v Kuwait, Iran v Saudi Arabia, Oman v Qatar, Maldives v Bahrain

Hili 2: Unesco World Heritage site

The site is part of the Hili archaeological park in Al Ain. Excavations there have proved the existence of the earliest known agricultural communities in modern-day UAE. Some date to the Bronze Age but Hili 2 is an Iron Age site. The Iron Age witnessed the development of the falaj, a network of channels that funnelled water from natural springs in the area. Wells allowed settlements to be established, but falaj meant they could grow and thrive. Unesco, the UN's cultural body, awarded Al Ain's sites - including Hili 2 - world heritage status in 2011. Now the most recent dig at the site has revealed even more about the skilled people that lived and worked there.

Company profile

Company name: Suraasa

Started: 2018

Founders: Rishabh Khanna, Ankit Khanna and Sahil Makker

Based: India, UAE and the UK

Industry: EdTech

Initial investment: More than $200,000 in seed funding

The language of diplomacy in 1853

Treaty of Peace in Perpetuity Agreed Upon by the Chiefs of the Arabian Coast on Behalf of Themselves, Their Heirs and Successors Under the Mediation of the Resident of the Persian Gulf, 1853
(This treaty gave the region the name “Trucial States”.)


We, whose seals are hereunto affixed, Sheikh Sultan bin Suggar, Chief of Rassool-Kheimah, Sheikh Saeed bin Tahnoon, Chief of Aboo Dhebbee, Sheikh Saeed bin Buyte, Chief of Debay, Sheikh Hamid bin Rashed, Chief of Ejman, Sheikh Abdoola bin Rashed, Chief of Umm-ool-Keiweyn, having experienced for a series of years the benefits and advantages resulting from a maritime truce contracted amongst ourselves under the mediation of the Resident in the Persian Gulf and renewed from time to time up to the present period, and being fully impressed, therefore, with a sense of evil consequence formerly arising, from the prosecution of our feuds at sea, whereby our subjects and dependants were prevented from carrying on the pearl fishery in security, and were exposed to interruption and molestation when passing on their lawful occasions, accordingly, we, as aforesaid have determined, for ourselves, our heirs and successors, to conclude together a lasting and inviolable peace from this time forth in perpetuity.

Taken from Britain and Saudi Arabia, 1925-1939: the Imperial Oasis, by Clive Leatherdale

MATCH INFO

Northern Warriors 92-1 (10 ovs)

Russell 37 no, Billings 35 no

Team Abu Dhabi 93-4 (8.3 ovs)

Wright 48, Moeen 30, Green 2-22

Team Abu Dhabi win by six wickets

Inside Out 2

Director: Kelsey Mann

Starring: Amy Poehler, Maya Hawke, Ayo Edebiri

Rating: 4.5/5

SPEC SHEET: NOTHING PHONE (2)

Display: 6.7” LPTO Amoled, 2412 x 1080, 394ppi, HDR10+, Corning Gorilla Glass

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 2, octa-core; Adreno 730 GPU

Memory: 8/12GB

Capacity: 128/256/512GB

Platform: Android 13, Nothing OS 2

Main camera: Dual 50MP wide, f/1.9 + 50MP ultrawide, f/2.2; OIS, auto-focus

Main camera video: 4K @ 30/60fps, 1080p @ 30/60fps; live HDR, OIS

Front camera: 32MP wide, f/2.5, HDR

Front camera video: Full-HD @ 30fps

Battery: 4700mAh; full charge in 55m w/ 45w charger; Qi wireless, dual charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Google Pay)

Biometrics: Fingerprint, face unlock

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP54, limited protection

Cards: Dual-nano SIM

Colours: Dark grey, white

In the box: Nothing Phone (2), USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price (UAE): Dh2,499 (12GB/256GB) / Dh2,799 (12GB/512GB)

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Five expert hiking tips
  • Always check the weather forecast before setting off
  • Make sure you have plenty of water
  • Set off early to avoid sudden weather changes in the afternoon
  • Wear appropriate clothing and footwear
  • Take your litter home with you
COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2


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