Buck Brief: 50K Refugees Flee Mosul, Turn to Peshmerga and US Forces for Protection

Michael Pregent, adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute and a senior Middle East analyst, joined The Glenn Beck Program on Tuesday with an update on the situation in Mosul. Pregent is also a former military intelligence officer.

"The effort to take Mosul back from the Islamic State is now many weeks underway. What is the latest in this battle against ISIS on the ground in northern Iraq?" Buck Sexton asked, filling in for Glenn on radio.

Pregent had both good and bad news to relay. Among his concerns were the 50,000 refugees that have fled the area.

"They're preferring to go to places where the Peshmerga are in control of territory, because the Peshmerga have a heavier U.S. presence. And they believe that the U.S. can actually act as a guarantor, but they don't feel necessarily the same way about moving towards predominantly Shia forces," Pregent said.

With food supplies running low, Pregent calls it an "overwhelming" situation.

Listen to this segment from The Glenn Beck Program:

Below is a rush transcript of this segment, it might contain errors:

VOICE: You are entering TheBlaze threat ops center. This is a secure space. All outside coms are down. Prepare to receive the Buck Brief.

BUCK: Michael Pregent joins us now. He's an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute where he's a senior Middle East analyst. And he's also a former military intelligence officer. Great to have you, Michael. Thanks for calling in.

MICHAEL: Hey, thanks, Buck. Thanks for having me.

BUCK: All right. The effort to take Mosul back from the Islamic State is now many weeks underway. What is the latest in this battle against ISIS on the ground in northern Iraq?

MICHAEL: Well, it's slowed down to a crawl. As the Iraqi security forces are starting to enter from the east, they're encountering a lot of resistance, but they're not getting the US air support or artillery support that they had counted on. And that's because the United States is not going to provide artillery and air support to a predominantly Shia force, as they enter a predominantly Sunni town, where there's still a population of almost a million people still there. So that's why it's slowed down to a crawl.

BUCK: And the -- so far, the humanitarian issues that have been concerns leading up to this, about refugees fleeing the area, the numbers are surging. Are they able -- are the proper authorities and resources in place to try to handle the outflow of refugees, or are they becoming overwhelmed?

MICHAEL: Well, they're already becoming overwhelmed. I think there's 50,000 refugees that have left Mosul so far, and they are running out of food supplies at some of these organizations. But what's more telling is the direction in which the refugee flow is going. The refugees aren't going to the west, where the Shia militias are. They're not going to the south, where the Iraqi military is. They're preferring to go to places where the Peshmerga are in control of territory, because the Peshmerga have a heavier US presence. And they believe that the US can actually act as a guarantor. But they don't feel necessarily the same way about moving towards predominantly Shia forces.

One of the things we're seeing is when CNN, Fox, BBC report on this, they're saying that the Iraqi military are separating the women and children from the men. Now, that is the normal process. A process that is more comfortable when the US is doing the along with Peshmerga to make sure that any military-aged male, who is actually affiliated with ISIS, is screened out.

The problem is when the Iraqi security forces do this, or when the Shia militias do this, they basically say that any Sunni military-aged male is likely collaborated with ISIS. And we've seen people who have disappeared off the battlefield in Fallujah, Ramadi, and Tekrit, when the Shia militias and the predominantly Shia Iraqi military are left in charge of this process.

BUCK: Now, as US support directed to the Peshmerga is limited because we don't want to be -- well, we don't want to be, one, taking any casualties, but also we don't, two, want to be close to some of the battle. They want it to be an Iraqi-led force, and they want the tip of the spear to be Iraqi as much as possible.

The Shia militias, it seems, are going to be more heavily utilized in this process, which could bring about some serious sectarian tension.

MICHAEL: What I'm looking at now is, you look at the forces that are participating in the Mosul operation. It's a counterterrorism service. A lot of these guys are already bandaged from previous battles. They're going in with wounds that they sustained fighting in Tikrit or Ramadi and Fallujah. They're taxed. These guys are tired. They're effective. But they're just overstressed. The 15th Iraqi army -- or 15th Iraqi Army Division is out of Baghdad -- so these are all Shia soldiers, a lot of them affiliated with Jay Salmedi. The 9th Iraqi Army Division is all Shia.

Now, notice I just talked about the Iraqi Army here. They're already heavily infiltrated with militias, except they wear uniforms. They're still flying sectarian flags. Now, the Shia militias in the West, as they move to HEP Talaffer, they're going in, and they're starting to cause some problems there.

What I'm looking at now is, where do these Shia militias put their artillery and their rockets? Because the United States and the coalition is not going to blow up civilian neighborhoods like the Iraqi military and the militias did in Fallujah and Ramadi. So if you keep track of these Shia militias, where they put artillery and rockets, that will be very telling, because as they move into range of Mosul, they will start hitting these neighborhoods where these population centers are still in play.

BUCK: Is there any sense that you've picked up from your contacts on the ground, that the Sunni Arabs who live in Mosul, a city in which no one really knows how many people live there now, but in the past, it's about about a million people. Do you get any sense from those who are in contact with Sunni airbags there, that they feel like it's a good thing obviously that the Islamic State is hopefully going to lose control of Mosul within weeks, maybe months. But it's certainly taken a very long time for the Iraqi government to get to this point. It feels like an unacceptable delay, despite the fact that we should be -- it's a positive development that this is happening. It took, what, two years?

MICHAEL: Well, I would argue that we never really defeated or controlled Mosul when the US was there. We developed networks. We developed relationships to travel leaders. We built a Sunni intelligence network. And we slowly used an intelligence-backed strategy to decimate the leadership, which led to their demise, using the sons of Iraq and the awakening. I think this is a great opportunity to do that, put that back into play now. Obviously, you're not going to be able to take Mosul and the US is unable to provide air support and artery. Now is the time to slow it down, start to develop the Sunni sources, have them provide intelligence, because they've been doing that. They've given intelligence to the Peshmerga and some of the Iraqi security forces that have pinpointed ISIS locations, that have allowed US airstrikes to come in. I think right now, if I was able to advise something on it, let's slow it down. Let's make an intelligence operation that empowers the Sunni operation in Mosul with manpower and Intel to go after ISIS. And then create that political space for them to start building trust with Baghdad again. But that requires huge leverage on our part with Baghdad, to increase that leverage, to pull those levers to make sure that we make Baghdad a government that the Sunni population in Iraq can trust again. And that's going to be the hardest challenge.

BUCK: And this clearing operation will last months, at this point?

MICHAEL: Well, there will be a -- there could be a PR victory. We've replaced the flag in the center of Mosul. And that's exactly what happened.

But if you look at any of those three cities today, you'll still see that there are ISIS networks active, and that they're still able to conduct high profile attacks in Bagdad so there can be a victory that the media celebrates, that ISIS has been defeated in Mosul. And I will argue that that isn't going to happen until the Sunni population in Iraq trusts Baghdad. So I see this going on for a while.

Like I said, we were there from '03 to '11. And there were still pocket of resistance symbols. They just chose not to attack us.

BUCK: Michael, switching gears with one more question for you. You're former US military. What do you think about the likely pick of General Mattis for Secretary of Defense?

MICHAEL: I love the pick. I hope he takes it because he balances everything that people are worried about with the Trump administration. He's hard on Russia. He's hard on Iran. He's pragmatic. He believes that the use of military force needs to be one where you only put the military in if you want to win and you empower them to win. I hope he takes the position. He'd be a great voice -- a great pragmatic voice, a well-respected voice. And I think he would -- he would stay the concerns of most Middle Eastern leaders on what the next administration looks like over the next four years.

BUCK: Michael Pregent is an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute. Mike, always great to have you. We'll talk to you soon. Thanks for calling in.

MICHAEL: Thanks, Buck. Thanks for having me.

Featured Image: A picture taken through the bullet-riddled windshield of an Iraqi Special Forces armoured vehicle shows residents walking on a street in the Aden district of Mosul after troops almost entirely retook the area from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists on November 22, 2016. The fighting inside the city so far has focused on eastern neighbourhoods, which elite counter-terrorism and army forces entered earlier this month. The Islamic State group has offered fierce resistance to defend its last remaining bastion in Iraq, the city where its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed a caliphate in June 2014. (Photo Credit: THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)

Barack Obama promised to radically transform the United States, and he did to an extent. But he dropped the radical posse and surrounded himself with people from within the system --- like the Clintons -- once he was elected.

But that's not what presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has in mind. He's no Swedish-style socialist. He's a radical, revolutionary communist who has surrounded himself and his campaign with people who openly advocate for Marxism and even support authoritarian governments.

On Wednesday's radio program, Glenn Beck broke down the biggest differences between former President Obama and highlighted just how dangerous Comrade Sanders' vision for America's future really is.

Watch the video below:



Don't miss Glenn Beck's special, "Bernie's Radicals: The Fires of Revolution," exposing the radicals who are running Bernie Sanders' campaign. From top to bottom, his campaign is staffed with hard-left extremists who are eager to burn down the system. The threat to our constitution is very real from Bernie's team, and it's unlike anything we've ever seen before in a U.S. election. Join Glenn on Wednesday, at 9 PM Eastern on BlazeTV's YouTube page, and on BlazeTV.com. And just in case you miss it live, the only way to catch all of Glenn's specials on-demand is by subscribing to Blaze TV.

Use code GLENN to save $10 off one year of BlazeTV.

The number of people serving life sentences now exceeds the entire prison population in 1970, according to newly-released data from the Sentencing Project. The continued growth of life sentences is largely the result of "tough on crime" policies pushed by legislators in the 1990s, including presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Biden has since apologized for backing those types of policies, but it seems he has yet to learn his lesson. Indeed, Biden is backing yet another criminal justice policy with disastrous consequences—mandatory drug treatment for all drug offenders.

Proponents of this policy argue that forced drug treatment will reduce drug usage and recidivism and save lives. But the evidence simply isn't on their side. Mandatory treatment isn't just patently unethical, it's also ineffective—and dangerous.

Many well-meaning people view mandatory treatment as a positive alternative to incarceration. But there's a reason that mandatory treatment is also known as "compulsory confinement." As author Maya Schenwar asks in The Guardian, "If shepherding live human bodies off to prison to isolate and manipulate them without their permission isn't ethical, why is shipping those bodies off to compulsory rehab an acceptable alternative?" Compulsory treatment isn't an alternative to incarceration. It is incarceration.

Compulsory treatment is also arguably a breach of international human rights agreements and ethical standards. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have made it clear that the standards of ethical treatment also apply to the treatment of drug dependence—standards that include the right to autonomy and self-determination. Indeed, according to UNODC, "people who use or are dependent on drugs do not automatically lack the capacity to consent to treatment...consent of the patient should be obtained before any treatment intervention." Forced treatment violates a person's right to be free from non-consensual medical treatment.

It's a useless endeavor, anyway, because studies have shown that it doesn't improve outcomes in reducing drug use and criminal recidivism. A review of nine studies, published in the International Journal of Drug Policy, failed to find sufficient evidence that compulsory drug treatment approaches are effective. The results didn't suggest improved outcomes in reducing drug use among drug-dependent individuals enrolled in compulsory treatment. However, some studies did suggest potential harm.

According to one study, 33% of compulsorily-treated participants were reincarcerated, compared to a mere 5% of the non-treatment sample population. Moreover, rates of post-release illicit drug use were higher among those who received compulsory treatment. Even worse, a 2016 report from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health found that people who received involuntary treatment were more than twice as likely to die of an opioid-related overdose than those with a history of only voluntary treatment.

These findings echo studies published in medical journals like Addiction and BMJ. A study in Addiction found that involuntary drug treatment was a risk factor for a non-fatal drug overdose. Similarly, a study in BMJ found that patients who successfully completed inpatient detoxification were more likely than other patients to die within a year. The high rate of overdose deaths by people previously involuntarily treated is likely because most people who are taken involuntarily aren't ready to stop using drugs, authors of the Addiction study reported. That makes sense. People who aren't ready to get clean will likely use again when they are released. For them, the only post-treatment difference will be lower tolerance, thanks to forced detoxification and abstinence. Indeed, a loss of tolerance, combined with the lack of a desire to stop using drugs, likely puts compulsorily-treated patients at a higher risk of overdose.

The UNODC agrees. In their words, compulsory treatment is "expensive, not cost-effective, and neither benefits the individual nor the community." So, then, why would we even try?

Biden is right to look for ways to combat addiction and drug crime outside of the criminal justice system. But forced drug treatment for all drug offenders is a flawed, unethical policy, with deadly consequences. If the goal is to help people and reduce harm, then there are plenty of ways to get there. Mandatory treatment isn't one of them.

Lindsay Marie is a policy analyst for the Lone Star Policy Institute, an independent think tank that promotes freedom and prosperity for all Texans. You can follow her on Twitter @LindsayMarieLP.

President Donald Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani joined Glenn Beck on Tuesday's radio program discuss the Senate's ongoing investigation into former vice president Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, and reveal new bombshell documents he's currently releasing.

Giuliani told Glenn he has evidence of "very, very serious crime at the highest levels of government," that the "corrupt media" is doing everything in their power to discredit.

He also dropped some major, previously unreported news: not only was Hunter Biden under investigation in 2016, when then-Vice President Biden "forced" the firing of Ukraine's prosecutor general Viktor Shokin, but so was the vice president himself.

"Shokin can prove he was investigating Biden and his son. And I now have the prosecutorial documents that show, all during that period of time, not only was Hunter Biden under investigation -- Joe Biden was under investigation," Giuliani explained. "It wasn't just Hunter."

Watch this clip to get a rundown of everything Giuliani has uncovered so far.

Use code GLENN to save $10 on one year of BlazeTV.

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For most Americans, the 1980s was marked by big hair, epic lightsaber battles, and school-skipping Ferris Bueller dancing his way into the hearts of millions.

But for Bernie Sanders — who, by the way, was at that time the oldest-looking 40-year-old in human history — the 1980s was a period of important personal milestones.

Prior to his successful 1980 campaign to become mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Sanders was mostly known around the Green Mountain State as a crazy, wildly idealistic socialist. (Think Karl Marx meets Don Quixote.) But everything started to change for Sanders when he became famous—or, in the eyes of many, notorious—for being "America's socialist mayor."

As mayor, Sanders' radical ideas were finally given the attention he had always craved but couldn't manage to capture. This makes this period of his career particularly interesting to study. Unlike today, the Bernie Sanders of the 1980s wasn't concerned with winning over an entire nation — just the wave of far-left New York City exiles that flooded Vermont in the 1960s and 1970s — and he was much more willing to openly align himself with local and national socialist and communist parties.


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Over the past few weeks, I have been reading news reports of Sanders recorded in the 1980s — because, you know, that's how guys like me spend their Saturday nights — and what I've found is pretty remarkable.

For starters, Sanders had (during the height of the Soviet Union) a very cozy relationship with people who openly advocated for Marxism and communism. He was an elector for the Socialist Workers Party and promoted the party's presidential candidates in 1980 and 1984.

To say the Socialist Workers Party was radical would be a tremendous understatement. It was widely known SWP was a communist organization mostly dedicated to the teachings of Marx and Leon Trotsky, one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution.

Among other radical things I've discovered in interviews Sanders conducted with the SWP's newspaper — appropriately named The Militant (seriously, you can't make this stuff up) — is a statement by Sanders published in June 1981 suggesting that some police departments "are dominated by fascists and Nazis," a comment that is just now being rediscovered for the first time in decades.

In 1980, Sanders lauded the Socialist Workers Party's "continued defense of the Cuban revolution." And later in the 1980s, Sanders reportedly endorsed a collection of speeches by the socialist Sandinistas in Nicaragua, even though there had been widespread media reports of the Sandinistas' many human rights violations prior to Sanders' endorsement, including "restrictions on free movement; torture; denial of due process; lack of freedom of thought, conscience and religion; denial of the right of association and of free labor unions."

Sanders also traveled to Nicaragua and met with socialist President Daniel Ortega. He later called the trip a "profoundly emotional experience."

Sanders also traveled to Nicaragua and met with socialist President Daniel Ortega. He later called the trip a "profoundly emotional experience."

Comrade Bernie's disturbing Marxist past, which is far more extensive than what can be covered in this short article, shouldn't be treated as a mere historical footnote. It clearly illustrates that Sanders' brand of "democratic socialism" is much more than a $15 minimum wage and calls for single-payer health care. It's full of Marxist philosophy, radical revolutionary thinking, anti-police rhetoric, and even support for authoritarian governments.

Millions of Americans have been tricked into thinking Sanders isn't the radical communist the historical record — and even Sanders' own words — clearly show that he is. But the deeper I have dug into Comrade Bernie's past, the more evident it has become that his thinking is much darker and more dangerous and twisted than many of his followers ever imagined.

Tomorrow night, don't miss Glenn Beck's special exposing the radicals who are running Bernie Sanders' campaign. From top to bottom, his campaign is staffed with hard-left extremists who are eager to burn down the system. The threat to our constitution is very real from Bernie's team, and it's unlike anything we've ever seen before in a U.S. election. Join Glenn on Wednesday, at 9 PM Eastern on BlazeTV's YouTube page, and on BlazeTV.com. And just in case you miss it live, the only way to catch all of Glenn's specials on-demand is by subscribing to Blaze TV.

Justin Haskins (Jhaskins@heartland.org) is editorial director of The Heartland Institute and editor-in-chief of StoppingSocialism.com.