VICE (2013) s05e29 Episode Script

After ISIS & Cubs of the Caliphate

1 SHANE SMITH: This week, on the season finale of Vice: the dramatic fall of ISIS in Iraq.
(GUNFIRE) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (MISSILE WHOOSHES) He just got shot through the shin, running across this this street.
SMITH: And then, the child soldiers ISIS left behind.
How many other boys were you with? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) All your age? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) ISOBEL YEUNG: Do you think that he'll ever be able to forget what he's been through? (THEME SONG PLAYING) YEUNG: Go, go, go! REFUGEE: We are not animals! Ever since ISIS first swept across Syria and Iraq three years ago, they have dominated the international news cycle.
And over the last ten months, they have faded from headlines, as they continue to lose physical territory in the region, including where they first declared the caliphate, Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul.
For the past year, Vice has been on the ground, reporting on what actually happens as the caliphate fails.
(INDISTINCT CHATTER) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (GUNSHOTS) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (MISSILE WHOOSHES) (RAPID GUNFIRE) (POPPING GUNFIRE) (MAN OVER RADIO) (EXPLOSION) So, we've been told that at least two soldiers were killed today and were just carried out, and dozens were injured.
BEN ANDERSON: The battle for Mosul lasted almost a year.
Its outcome will have global repercussions, defining the future of Iraq and ISIS.
It's the biggest city in their territory, and ISIS held it for three years.
Someone who knows this all too well is Dr.
David Kilcullen, the former senior advisor to General David Petraeus and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
DAVID KILCULLEN: The Battle of Mosul is the largest urban battle that we've seen anywhere on the planet since the Second World War.
And I think people will be studying what happens when you fight a modern war with satellites and drones and smart phones and IEDs, in an ancient city that still has 1.
2 million people living in it.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) What are the ISIS fighters saying to people who might want to flee? And they would do this in front of everybody, even in front of the children? ANDERSON: We rejoined the Iraqi security forces as they prepared for the final push against ISIS in Western Mosul.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) As they moved forwards, clearing one building at a time, terrified families fled, knowing they could be killed at any moment.
(EXPLOSION) (SHOUTING AND CRYING) (GUNSHOT) (WOMAN WAILING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (CHILDREN CRYING) (DISTANT EXPLOSION) It's just shells like that are just landing sometimes every few minutes.
This is what clearing an area looks like.
Not only is there not a building that's not pretty much destroyed, there's not even a window or a door that isn't completely destroyed.
So you can imagine what it's like for the something like 200,000 civilians who are living in the Old City over there.
(DISTANT GUNFIRE) So this is as far forward as they've been so far.
And it's not far from here to the Old City, which is probably where ISIS is gonna be forced to make their, their last stand.
So they're really trapped in a very, very small area now.
(INDISTINCT CHATTER) (GUNFIRE) (GUNFIRE CONTINUES) (ANDERSON SPEAKING) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (ANDERSON SPEAKING) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) The sniper, who pushed them back, is now getting shots into this building, which is their base.
This is where they sleep.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) So, they're now having to circle around the back of their own base to, um, avoid the sniper fire.
That's a seriously bad sign.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (RAPID GUNFIRE) (RAPID GUNFIRE) - (MISSILE WHISTLES, EXPLODES) - Oh! That was the airstrike they've been calling for for about the last hour.
I think it hit the school, where they think there were ten ISIS fighters who were the ones who were shooting very actively down the street.
They were saying that once the airstrike hit, they were gonna then storm the school.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (EXCHANGE OF GUNFIRE) (SOLDIER SPEAKING OVER RADIO) (GUNFIRE) (EXPLOSION) (CAR HORN HONKS) ANDERSON: Amidst the chaos, the Iraqi soldier who fired the rocket has killed three of his own men.
(CONTINUOUS GUNFIRE) (MAN SHOUTING) (EXPLOSION) (GUNFIRE) (CONTINUOUS GUNFIRE) ANDERSON: Every day was the same.
The fighting never stopped, and the soldiers barely slept.
(DISTANT EXPLOSIONS) (DISTANT EXPLOSIONS) (CHATTERING IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (GUNFIRE) MAN: Go, go, go, go, go, go! (DISTANT GUNFIRE) (EXPLOSIONS) (ANDERSON SPEAKING) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) The plan now is to clear all of these buildings up to the river.
And that would cut off the hospital from the Old City.
Take the hospital, and then all that's left of the Old City.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (EXPLOSION) (MISSILE WHOOSHES, EXPLODES) (HELICOPTER WHIRRING OVERHEAD) (GUNFIRE) (GUNFIRE CONTINUES) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (DISTANT MISSILES EXPLODE) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) But there was a church and a mosque side-by-side here? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) So this is the the Tigris River just here.
There's an Iraqi flag in front of us.
Another Iraqi flag here.
So, they've they've made it, they've pushed all the way to the river, and separated the hospital from the Old City, which means however many fighters are left in the hospital are now cut off and completely surrounded.
So it's taking much longer than everyone thought.
It's much harder than everyone thought, but very slowly, bit by bit, building by building, they're, uh, they're taking Mosul.
(DISTANT RUMBLING EXPLOSIONS) NEWSMAN: The prime minister came sounding triumphant.
In the heart of a free and liberated Mosul, he said: "We announce absolute victory.
" (CHANTING, CHEERING) What was the cost to Mosul, the city, and the civilian population of Mosul? There are still bodies under the rubble in some parts of the city.
There's, if you like, a societal level of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder of people there that lived through ISIS and then lived through the fighting, and now are going back and trying to rebuild their lives.
If, you know, key leaders are killed, and if key terrain is held by the Iraqi security forces, what do you think ISIS becomes? This is the point at which we need to be asking ourselves whether there's a better way, or a different way.
I mean, we've been fighting these guys for 15 years.
Hundreds of billions of dollars, if not trillions of dollars, into the fight.
We've lost 8,000 people just from the US military alone.
Probably half a million civilians have been killed in that time, and now we are dealing with not one, but two global terrorist organizations, each of which is as big as Al Qaeda was on 9/11.
Do you think we've made the situation, not just worse, but twice as bad? At least twice as bad.
We now have, groups that are operating in something like 70 countries.
We've got a really significant threat in Europe which didn't exist on 9/11.
I don't think we're gonna deal effectively with this in a matter of months or years.
This is a generational thing, and I know it's depressing to say that, but I think we're probably closer to the beginning than we are to the end.
ISIS has lost the physical battle in Mosul, but the hardest part may have just begun.
Because now, as ISIS and other extremist groups splinter and diffuse into international terrorist organizations, there is a growing concern that a larger problem is at hand, as people who were indoctrinated by the group, especially children, are now re-entering society.
Isobel Yeung went to report on this burgeoning story in the aftermath of the fall of ISIS in Iraq.
ISOBEL YEUNG: The city of Mosul has been liberated, but rebuilding remains an enormous task.
We sat down with Governor Hammadi, who's responsible for this entire province, and whose job it is to oversee the reconstruction efforts.
What is the situation in Mosul right now? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: Finding these ISIS sympathizers is a daunting task.
The fighting has caused mass displacement throughout the country, with the Battle of Mosul alone forcing almost one million Iraqis to flee their homes.
Thousands more continue to seek refuge.
These guys have just arrived in the camp from Tal Afar, which is an ISIS-controlled area nearby.
This is one of several IDP camps that have been set up in the last couple of months to deal with the huge influx of people arriving from ISIS-controlled areas all around here.
A lot of the children and a lot of their families have lived under ISIS control for several years.
Many of these children exhibit signs of PTSD after spending their formative years growing up under ISIS.
Like this 15-year-old, who agreed to speak with us under the condition that we hid his identity for fear of ISIS retaliation within the camp.
Do you remember what it was like when Daesh first got to your town? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) You watched that happening? How did you feel when you were watching those things? Did they ever try to convince you to go to their schools, or to go to their training camps? (MAN SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (BOY RESUMES SPEAKING) YEUNG: This is a crucial part of ISIS strategy.
They recruit so-called "Cubs of the Caliphate" to train and fight with them.
And most importantly, for the next generation to be ready to support and spread the ideology of the Islamic State.
We met Dr.
Anne Speckhard, a psychologist and director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, who has interviewed hundreds of terrorists around the world and in Iraq.
The government of Iraq says that there's half-a-million youth that lived in ISIS territories.
The half-million youth probably have been exposed to a lot of violence.
ISIS were the only people that continued to send their kids to school.
In the schools we had the ISIS ideology, we had kids learning how to behead.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) There were at least 5,000 Iraqi kids that were in the Cubs of the Caliphate, and if they went into the Cubs of the Caliphate, they were indoctrinated to be suicide bombers, to be so-called martyrs.
ISIS, more than any other group, was really good at cult indoctrination.
It is an overwhelming and daunting task, to address this entire generation that lived under ISIS.
YEUNG: Many of the so-called Cubs of the Caliphate are currently being detained.
YEUNG: Salaam.
We visited one of the prisons where suspected ISIS members are being held.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Access to these cells is highly restricted, so we filmed covertly to show the conditions inside.
YEUNG: Are you guys sleeping and living in here? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: Are there any kids in here? YEUNG: This final room we visited was so dark, it can't fully be seen here, but it contained more than a hundred people, who were so tightly packed that they had to stand or sit hugging their knees.
(INTERPRETER SPEAKING) YEUNG: What are you all here for? How long have you guys been in here for? We were permitted to film with a child soldier, who joined ISIS at 13, and who's been locked away here for the last two months.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Why were you arrested? How many other boys were you with? And they were all your age? Do you understand why so many of your fellow Iraqis would never want you to come back into Iraqi society? They're scared that you're a threat to the community.
YEUNG: We saw the scale of destruction firsthand when we visited what was the epicenter of ISIS' stronghold in Iraq.
We're just entering the Old City of Mosul with the civilian defense unit.
All these guys in the back of this van are searching for their family members, as they have been for the last few days.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: Wow.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: Oh, my gosh.
(SNIFFLES) Whoa.
What happened? Who Who shot him? Were there any Daesh people living in this neighborhood? YEUNG: You're not gonna move the bodies of Daesh? YEUNG: This poor kid is just desperately trying to make sense of this pile of rubble, searching for his father and his sister, that are somewhere amongst this.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: For the millions of people who lived under ISIS, they faced horrific suffering.
Now, many Iraqis are understandably hungry for revenge.
So, what was this like when ISIS was here? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) Did you lose any family members while ISIS was here? Do you know what happened to him? Are there many ISIS families living here? Sorry, one second.
Who is this guy? YEUNG: Fear and suspicion are rampant over who may or may not be an ISIS sympathizer, or even a sleeper cell.
Anyone who was involved with the group is now a potential target of retaliation.
At the age of 14, this boy says he attended an ISIS training camp for just over a month, and then spent the next several years hiding from them.
When his city was liberated, he told us that Iraqi authorities captured him, later releasing him from prison and clearing him of all charges.
But the stigma of being a Cub of the Caliphate is lasting.
He now continues to live in hiding.
What I don't understand is that you'd heard about Daesh before they got here.
You were scared of them.
They came here, they took over your town, they closed your schools.
And yet you still wanted to join them.
Can you explain that? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) You're now not welcome in your own hometown.
Do you feel angry at all about that situation, and about people not wanting you here? YEUNG: These fears are not unfounded.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) We met with the family of a village elder who was murdered just days earlier.
While we can't confirm that it was a revenge attack, we were told that his sons are imprisoned for alleged affiliations with ISIS, and he himself advocated that former ISIS families be reintegrated back into the community.
I heard that your husband was quite outspoken, because he was saying that Daesh families should be welcomed back.
Do you think that that is maybe why he was targeted? YEUNG: Some of these children are now returning to their families after years apart.
Hi, buddy.
We visited Tomas, an 11-year-old Yazidi boy who was rescued from ISIS three weeks earlier.
The Yazidis are an ethnic and religious minority despised by ISIS.
They executed thousands of them, took women and girls as sex slaves, and kidnapped young boys to fight for them, all of which the UN says amounts to a genocide.
Is this the first family meal since he got back? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) When Tomas was just eight years old, a group of ISIS fighters stopped his family's car.
(SHOUTS TRIUMPHANTLY) I win.
They kidnapped him, his sisters, and his cousins, and he spent the next three years being forced to fight.
How did you hurt yourself? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) That must have been really scary.
Were you scared? Do you think that he'll ever be able to forget what he's been through? Are you getting any support at all from the government? Or is Tomas getting any kind of psychosocial support? Any rehabilitation programs that are available to him? There's a lot of Iraqi people who don't feel very comfortable with children like Tomas, who has been living under ISIS and training under ISIS for the last three years, to be back in Iraqi society.
Is that a concern of yours at all? YEUNG: We now have an entire generation that's grown up knowing nothing but war.
The turmoil we witnessed is a painful legacy of the power vacuum created by the Iraq war.
When we look at Iraq, we have to remember that we have an entire society that's traumatized.
They've lived through war since 2003.
(EXPLOSION) Before that, they were living under Saddam.
If we treat the kids that could be rehabilitated, we'll see less likelihood of ISIS re-emerging.
This is a problem that you can't kill your way out of.
YEUNG: With ISIS now on the verge of defeat, a new void exists.
What do you think your future looks like? (IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE) YEUNG: Until desperately needed rehabilitation programs are established, exposure to radical ideologies and violence leave the youth of Iraq more vulnerable than ever before.
(IN FOREIGN LANGUAGE)