In an article published in the Independent on 17 January, the journalist Robert Fisk questions the delivery of care by medical aid groups embedded with the international coalition during the offensive on Mosul. He quotes one MSF member, Jonathan Whittall, who argued in a blog post in June, that the presence of for-profit organizations and military medical units was a threat to independent and humanitarian action. Echoing Whittall’s concerns, Fisk points out that humanitarian actors would be endangered by being perceived as aligned with other healthcare providers working in conjunction with the Coalition’s goal. We think that this analysis is a smokescreen which is evading the main challenges faced by humanitarian actors in Mosul.
On the battlefield
Certainly, the arrival of new aid groups on the frontlines, such as the ones described by Robert Fisk, did create multiple questions: who they were, how they operated, how they conducted the triage of their patients. But the primary issue at stake in Mosul was not the danger that these groups represented to a pure and principled humanitarianismIsabelle Defourny and Christine Jamet