The future is here, and it’s not pretty.
Today marks the beginning of a U.S.-backed offensive by the Iraqi government to drive the Islamic State from the city of Mosul. And, some of it has been streamed on Facebook.
Thousands of Iraqi forces advanced in a last-ditch effort to drive ISIS militants from their main stronghold in the country. This offensive is a collective effort from people who have previously been rivals in the region including police officers, Sunni tribal fighters, Shiite militias, elite counterterrorism units and peshmerga (autonomous Kurdish militia).
Mosul, a city of 1.5 million people, was seized by jihadists over two years ago.
According to The Washington Post, this effort is the “most ambitious offensive launched by Iraq’s security forces since they were created after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.”
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter made a statement early this morning saying, “This is a decisive moment in the campaign to deliver ISIL a lasting defeat.”
More incredibly yet, the offensive is has been live-streamed on Facebook by Al Jazeera and Channel 4, with thousands watching and commenting. This is a first for wartime media coverage and many doubt it will be the last.